In Rainbows (or The Calm Before the Storm)


We are promised severe gales, heavy rain and flooding over the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, showers ran through the area creating the above rainbow.

And, I finally got down to planting.

Despite the damp conditions, I was determined to do two things before returning to work tomorrow.


I had to plant out the garlic. Better still if I could start the white onion sets. In a dry window this morning, I pushed an overladen wheelbarrow up the hill to the allotment.

After puzzling with measurements and soil conditions, I dug a small trench about 2 metres long and about 30 centimetres wide. Next, I threw in enough compost to fill the trench and allow for planting two rows of garlic.

With mixed feelings, I peeled apart the first bulb to find several cloves already sprouting: not a good sign. Carefully I placed each clove 10 or so centimetres apart. The first bulb nearly filled the composted patch, so I dug another and repeated the filling. Once completed the cloves were just covered with compost. I watered them and set to with my anti-vermin cover.

There are, I’m told (and I’m told a lot of things, only half of which I believe), mice on the allotment just waiting to have a nibble at seeds and small shooting things. If that were the case, then nobody would be able to grow anything. Clearly that is not true.

We will see if the covering works. This is the first attempt at garlic so it could be a complete disaster.

I pondered long and hard about the arrangements for the onions. In the end, I decided to just plant a row just slightly less than the length of my plastic cloche.

Same routine as for the garlic: trench, compost, set out, plant, cover. Only, I left the tips slightly showing as per instructions. That left me with over half of the onions. Hmm. So, I decided to plant a few out in the raised bed at home.

To say we had little success with onions last year is an understatement. I amaze everyone I talk to with my story of slugs eating the onion shoots. Honest. They did.

As a result, although we didn’t lose any bulbs, those we did get were on the small side. Some of the red onions hardly grew at all.

So, you might understand my trepidation in planting out some more in the raised bed. But, I guessed that putting them on the sunny side and covering them from day one might give us a better crop.

This afternoon, I again managed to dodge the showers and get in a final two hours of digging. The potato bed is now laid out though it could do with a couple more dig overs to remove – you guessed it – more weed roots. Barry offered me a couple of bags of well rotted horse manure which will go down a treat. The soil is horridly claggy, not very nutritious.

That’s the end of a week’s burst of digging and a little planting.

Back to work tomorrow. Unless the gale cuts us off.

3 Responses to In Rainbows (or The Calm Before the Storm)

  1. RAYMOND says:

    hi us up here in the north we like to plant out the garlic in the winter not in the spring has garlic like,s to have a cold snap on them

  2. allotment5andahalf says:

    thanks. yes, my bro in hampshire plants his late in the year.

    if i’d had the allotment earlier in the year i would have planted in january.

    i checked the plot this evening and the garlic has had a burst.

  3. John says:

    Planted mine out in November I think it was. I was worried that the leaf tips were ging brown but a fellow plotter suggests it’s just windburn.

    Nice blog!

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