Tag Archives: onions

Sowing and planting this week

I have been a bit lazy in updating the blog with the latest sowing and planting. Over the last few weeks, sowing has been a bit neglected too, but there has been a lot to plant out. We did manage to sow another three lengths of gutter with peas, the reliable Hurst Greenshaft and the magnificent mangetout Carouby de Maussane, and more pots of broad bean Masterpiece Green Longpod. These are ready to plant out now, so will be one of the first tasks to attend to at the weekend. Continue reading

Sowing this week

With April just around the corner, it was time to sow some of the tender crops, to be planted outdoors in early to mid May or in the polytunnel or glasshouses as soon as large enough. First were the French beans, Meraviglia di Venezia, a yellow climbing bean, and Beurre de Rocquencourt, also yellow, but a dwarf sort. It is a little early to sow beans for outdoors, but these are destined for the polytunnel, where they should be fine planted out in a few weeks’ time. The dwarf beans should crop first, with the climbing beans to follow. Continue reading

Sowing this week

This week we got our main crop onions, garlic, and shallots planted. Usually, we would have an autumn sown crop running along the side beds of the polytunnel, where they produce well, especially the garlic. As we did little in the garden last year, we are missing out on this crop, but have planted two beds outdoors from spring sown sorts. March is a good time of year to do this and we have been waiting for the last couple of weeks for the weather to turn; the weekend weather was good so we got this task done. It is quite a big job as some three hundred or so sets needed to go in. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – rosolli

Rosolli is the classic salad accompaniment to the Finnish Christmas meal, going particularly well with the cured herrings. Some add herring to the rosolli, when it is then known as sillisalaatti – herring salad. This variant is particularly common in Sweden. We, though, prefer to serve the salad without adding herring, and serve several different side dishes of herring that one can pick from. Continue reading

Tomatillo mole

Tomatillo mole

Tomatillo mole

We are growing tomatillos and their close relatives, Cape gooseberries, this year for the first time. The latter we are just eating fresh – none have yet made it as far as the house – whilst we have been enjoying the tomatillos in a simple Mexican inspired mole. This is quick and easy to prepare and has a wonderful fresh flavour with some tartness from the tomatillos. Continue reading

Sowing this week

Regular sowing is necessary for regular cropping without gluts. We try to sow a few things every week or two throughout the growing season. This week we started with the cucurbits: summer and winter squash, melons, and cucumbers. I used a mixture of a free draining soil based seed compost with some organic peat free multipurpose, relieved of any large bits of woody material. Cucurbits are rather sensitive to excess moisture; the seeds will readily decay and the young plants collapse under damp conditions, which encourage rots and fungal problems. Whilst some moisture is obviously needed, the compost must be free draining and the pots should not sit in water. The seeds of squash, melons, and cucumbers, are somewhat flattened, and it is common practice to sow the seeds on their edge, supposedly so that moisture sheds from the seed more readily. Whether this really makes much difference or not I have not bothered to find out, but one might as well continue the tradition. The larger seeded squash are planted a good ¾” deep and the melons and cucumbers perhaps ½”. Continue reading

The weather finally allows the main crop onions to be planted

One of the first things we plant outdoors is the main crop onions, shallots, and garlic. We overwinter a crop in the polytunnel, which will be ready several weeks before the outdoor sowing. We found that those overwintered outdoors did not perform quite so well. Whilst they can stand the cold, the damp is problematic. Instead, we fill two of our 14 foot x 4 foot beds with our main crop in the spring. Though I would like to grow more from seed, sets are very convenient and several hundred can be planted out in just a couple of hours. At the moment we only grow a few special sorts from seed, mainly quick maturing ‘cipollini’. Sowing of the main onion crop is really at the mercy of the weather. Whilst it would be good to get them in early, there is no point whilst the soil is too wet and cold. Thanks to the heavy winter rains this year, the conditions have only just become suitable. We prepared the beds at the weekend and sowed today. Continue reading

Seed list 2014 – part 2 – alliums

This second article looking at the varieties we plan to sow in the coming year covers alliums: onions, shallots, garlic, and leeks. I make several sowings of onions, shallots and garlic. The first sowing, from sets, is at the end of the season, late autumn or early winter, to overwinter in the polytunnel. I have found the results to be far better than overwintering outdoors. I then make a spring sowing outdoors, again from sets, as soon as the soil has dried out sufficiently from the winter rains – something of a problem this year. Whilst fine for the onions and shallots, this puts the outdoor garlic a little later than ideal, as it benefits from a period of cold in order to develop good cloves, but seems to work better for us overall than sowing earlier and suffering the rigours of the winter weather. The damp is more of a problem than the cold, even with the generally good drainage provided by the somewhat sandy soil of our slightly raised beds. The undercover crop is larger and better, but the outdoor crop is usually still useful. I then sow various small onions from seed a little later; these do not need so long to develop and are culinary treats rather than main crop. Continue reading

Sowing overwintering crops

Polytunnel cleared of autumn crops and ready for overwintering

I am generally rather bad at sowing for the late winter, and keeping such things as winter saladings growing, and I really need to improve that if we are to get diverse produce all year round. The polytunnel certainly makes it easier at this time of year, when outdoors it is becoming rather cold and miserable; the polytunnel can still be very warm even on cloudy, windy, and rainy November days. Although I have not bothered too much about general winter crops – I am bogged down with some house renovations at the moment – there are some vegetables that are ideally sown in the autumn for late spring harvests: peas, broad beans, Japanese onions, shallots, and garlic. Continue reading

Green tomato chutney

My grandmother first introduced me to making preserves many years ago, when she taught me how to prepare pickled shallots and raspberry jam. I have since expanded the repertoire and now enjoy making a range of pickles, chutneys, jellies, and jams. As we were recently forced to harvest our tomatoes thanks to the onset of grey mould amongst the glasshouse and polytunnel crops, it seemed like a good time to make some more green tomato chutney. Continue reading