On Wednesday and Thursday last week the weather felt a bit autumny. Slightly cooler mornings with dew and balmy sunshine by mid day. Today we have strong winds and rain. I am very thankful for the rain as the allotments are so dry and I have been watering every other day even though the heatwave is well and truly over.
The harvests continue, however, regardless of the weather. I pick every two or three days just because I don’t want to miss anything. Below is Friday’s harvest.
I am still finding it difficult to believe that these are the last of my blackberries. I do have canes that ripen in October but I have moved them this year so there will be no harvests from them until next autumn. I don’t know what type they are, they were given to me by a nearby allotmenteer, but they have long, stiff fairly upright canes and I had placed them where they caught all the prevailing winds. The second time they were all blown over I decided to move them to a more sheltered spot which I have done.
The fennel bulbs are now big enough to start to harvest and they are delicious. I sowed three different types: Montebianco, Doux de Florence and Di Firenze (I’m not sure whether the last two are the same plant just with French and Italian names). Whilst it has been a difficult year for fennel, the Montebianco has bolted very quickly with the Di Firenze producing good, round bulbs. I love roasted fennel where the edges go a little bit caramely or raw in a salad with grapefruit, avocado and Manchego cheese.
The cabbage is Dutchman and has done very well. It makes a very tasty slaw. I much prefer raw cabbage to cooked cabbage and so we eat a lot of this!
At the bottom of the basket are the onions I grew from seed. Let’s just say they are not enormous! The seed sown onions were sown a little late but were regularly watered and were grown on a sandy soil. The white onions are Aisla Craig, the red are Red Baron and the shallots are Figaro. As I look at the picture, the shallots definitely did better than the onions.
The set onions have not been watered by me once, just rainfall, and were grown on a clay soil. I don’t know the variety because these were the last lot of sets in the supermarket near the garden and they had lost their labels. The onions are flat bottomed making them very irritating to peel so I wonder if they are Stuttgart Giant. I have no idea about the shallots.
I tried seeds because I always found that the red onion sets bolted and I wondered if seeds were the way to go. Can you believe it? Neither seeds nor sets bolted this year. The conclusions from this very variable trial have not helped me decide one way or the other. I’ll run this trial again next year but try and get the onion seed started earlier.
One thing I will say about both groups of onions is that shop bought onions rarely induce tears but these make me cry copiously when cutting them. It must mean that they have more of the chemical compounds in them that do this and are therefore probably have more nutrients in general.
Do you use seed or sets when growing onions? How have they done this year?