Monday, 7 February 2011

Onions, Garlic and Leeks.

  Last weekend saw my plans for the crop rotation on the garden starting to take shape. I have decided to slowly divide the garden up into five sections, and then to operate a five year rotation plan on it (probably way too complicated for me to get right, but i'm going to try). The Allium bed is the first of those sections to come together, and it is going to have all of my Onions, Shallots, Garlic, Leeks and spring onions in it. :) Each section will be around eighty square meters give or take the odd awkward corner or shaded area, and they will be divided up by the path down the middle and then some permanent plantings dividing each side up.

 I am surprised on close inspection of the bed, how well my overwintering onions and garlic have done to be honest, out of nearly 300 sets which I put in last autumn, I can only count 3 or 4 which have not grown despite the cold weather. Saturday and sunday gave me a bit of time to tidy up the autumn plantings, get the rest of my sets in, and finish digging the bed up to the first permanent planting section (starts by the wooden stake in the foreground of the photo). You can just see some of our new "Star" row markers in use in the Onion bed too:) 

 Weeding was first... onions hate the weeds!!!! Then followed by a quick scan round to push any loose ones back in. I was really happy to see my elephant garlic and my Jermor shallots are coming up really well as they are my own saved sets from last year!! :)
(Elephant garlic in the photo)

 As for varieties, I have no doubt gone over the top with the amount, but there are worse things to get carried away with :) 
Onions... Radar, Red electric, Senshyu yellow, Stuttgarter giant and Ramata (seed).
Garlic... Vayo, Solent wight, Albigensian wight, Elephant and Tochliavri.
Shallots... Jermor, Yellow moon, Pesandor and Echalote grise.
Leeks... Bleu de solaise, Musselburgh and Jaune de poitou.
Spring onions... Paris silverskin, White lisbon, Cipollini yellow, Ishikura and Lilia.

 With the garlic and shallots, I intend to keep my own sets every year like I did with some last year. I am also going to leave a couple of leek plants in this spring to allow them to flower and save some seeds off them. I figure if I only allow one variety to flower, then I won't have to worry about cross pollination :)
 Most of the Leek seeds are in modules now, I have some spring onions in pots, and my Ramata onions are growing away nicely in modules too... the only thing that needs sowing is the rest of the spring onions, but most of those will now go directly into the bed when it's a bit warmer.  I can now just sit back and start to dream of all the strings of onions and garlic Sarah and I will have hanging in the shed come autumn time!! :)

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