Browsing Tag

overwintering onions

Vegetable Garden

Gadzooks! Giant onions!

July 19, 2011

Just posting a quick update on the onions that I planted back in October. They were the first overwintering varieties grown in the Greenside Up garden (we usually plant sets out in the early springtime) and they have, without doubt, been a major success.

The only care they’ve needed was for the bed to be weeded regularly and that’s it. They survived the snow, ice, wind and rain and just kept growing and growing.

To give you an idea of their size my index finger is just over 7cm long (just over 3½”). Only three bolted (went to seed and tried to flower) and their stems were removed as soon as they were spotted.

I lifted them today as their tops were brown and falling over. The next step is to move them inside to dry out fully before stringing them up as it’s not dry enough to leave them out. We used to do this process in the shed but last year the polytunnel proved even more useful and they dried out very quickly draped over a wire rack. The trick is to keep them as far apart as possible so the bulbs aren’t touching.

We’ve eaten a few fresh ones already and they taste good.

So will I be recommending anyone plants overwintering onions, and will we be doing it this year? Absolutely!


Bimbling and harvesting in the vegetable garden – early June

June 12, 2011

Just in case anyone’s under the illusion that we have the perfect garden, this is a picture of the wild area in our veg patch.

One day it may turn into a pond but for now it’s the place where all the wildlife hides, the insects buzz and the children’s balls get lost.

I love it as much as the rest of the garden, particularly when all the creeping buttercups flower.

No washing drying today… up in the clouds

Today was a peaceful bimbling day – tidying up, not too much weeding, a bit of sowing, listening to mellow tunes in my own head space.

I transplanted some cauliflowers a week or so ago and already the slugs have found them. Looks like the night time patrol will be starting up again very soon.

The bed above is waiting for the winter cabbages to grow bigger before they’re planted out.

The bulbs on the onions that were planted to overwinter are swelling nicely too.

I love the leaf shape and colour of this Bordeaux Spinach, but we’ve yet to taste it… maybe this evening it will grace our plates.

All the action’s happening inside the polytunnel at the moment. Here we’re harvesting lots of peas, perpetual spinach, scallions, beetroot, french beans, courgettes and herbs.

I love working in here as the scent from the herbs is so delicious.

The rosemary brushes against the leg as it’s passed and the perfume from the dill, tarragon, chives and thyme fill the air when a soft breeze blows in.

The dwarf French beans have struggled but are producing pods now.

I took a gamble and sowed them early, and they’ve had a tough time of it… they took a real munching from the slugs and haven’t grown very big, but good to see some flowers now and I’ve sown extra to replace the eaten ones.

One bed in the tunnel is taken up with squashes.. a couple of courgette plants, a couple of cucumbers and this year an unknown variety of something.

We dried and saved the seeds from a chestnutty flavoured squash purchased from an organic farm shop last autumn. Am thinking it’s a Blue Ballet but will have to wait and see… it’s looking very healthy though so fingers crossed.

A row of phacelia has been sown in front to attract pollinating insects inside.

To finish off my pottering, as a reward (as if I needed one after my peaceful day) some ripe strawberries were picked and shared. The runners from the outside patch were dug up and planted in the tunnel during the early spring producing the most exquisite flavoured fruit.


Cambridge Variety Strawberries
Still a few jobs to do, but feeling good for a catch up.
Food & Drink, Vegetable Garden

10 Reasons to Grow Your Own Onions

October 13, 2010

10 reasons to grow your own onionsThese are in no particular order but the first three reasons we started growing our own vegetables several years ago are the top three:

1.  Cost

There’s no getting away from it but if you have a little bit of space you can save yourself cash.  Although there are several options, today’s price for loose onions at Tesco online is 25c each (or €1.19 kg).

We estimate that we use about 1kg of onions a week. So on that basis we would be spending €61.88 per year on onions alone.   I have just planted 100 onion sets (tiny onions) for overwintering.  The total cost was €3.58, which, if this year’s crop is anything to go by, 2.5 onion bulbs = 1 kg.

So my grow it yourself onions will work out at 0.04c each or 11c per kg (or €5.72 per year).

Overwintering ‘Radar’ Onion Sets

2.  Chemical Free.

We know what’s gone into our soil and can guarantee that the crop hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.

3.  Children can see where their food comes from.

Okay so an onion doesn’t change dramatically from the tiny set you plant, to the (hopefully) large bulb you harvest, but it’s fascinating to see how crops develop, grow and where they come from.

4.  Using vegetables in season.

The onions are at the peak of their flavour when freshly picked, and then carefully stored.


‘Settons’ – dried and stored

5.  Convenience.

We can pick an onion or take one from storage whenever we need one.  We don’t have to remember to buy them.

6.  Using up spare ground.

Whether you’re lucky enough to have a bit of space in your garden, an allotment or someone else’s garden, you’re using space that might otherwise have had grass, weeds or brambles growing over it.  You’re using the soil productively.

7.  Instant Soup!

You’re never without a meal. You can have a delicious bowl of home-grown soup in front of you in less than half an hour.  Here’s a lovely recipe for french onion soup if you’re looking for one.

8.  Tradition

Onions were first recorded over 5000 BC so we can be happy that we’re keeping a very old tradition of growing and eating them alive!

9.  Health

The sulphides contained in onions (the compounds that are released when you cut them that make you cry) have been shown to lower blood lipid levels and reduce blood pressure.  Consumption is also said to reduce the chances of colon cancer.

10.  Feel Good Glow.

The ‘feel good factor’ of having watched your own food growing and then cooking with it cannot be underestimated!

So go on, if you haven’t already done so, try growing your own onions and see for yourself how rewarding it can be.