A day of lifting red and brown onions: heat up the olive oil.
The effort is definitely worth it: all the digging, the weeding, sowing of seeds, transplanting, back-breaking work in all weathers.
It comes together in the growing season.
A first batch of onions, planted out in the cool days of October. Now, ready for the kitchen. A further station on the supermarket route detoured until the New Year.
Another small cache of strawberries – this year’s pleasant and tasty surprise.
Just to prove that the overgrown garden can produce beauty and pleasure, from labour and love.
Technically it’s still winter. Blue sky, temperature nudging the teens and hardly a breathe of wind: more like mid-spring.
Great weather for both planting out and putting in a few hours of digging. In fact, right now is perfect for digging. There has been hardly any rain over the last three weeks so the ground is soft but not claggy.
My replacement broad beans went in yesterday. Unfortunately, some little critter(s) had a nibble of the beans when they were hardening off in the greenhouse. With any luck they will recover and start to flourish in their nicely raked bed.
Today, I finished planting a second set of brown onion sets – Sturon variety. Back in the Autumn I planted out Swift sets. Most of these have sprouted though the hard frosts, snows and other critters have taken a toll on numbers and progress.
As you can see, the sets have been covered to keep the birds off. I’ll leave them a few weeks to get a start before exposing fully to the elements.
The nice weather brought a few other allotment buddies. Everyone else seems to planted broad beans this weekend. Let’s see who harvests first.
Today was the first chance after the December snows and frosts to check the allotment for progress and damage.
Broad beans: last year, my beans survived the snows thaks to plastic cloches. This winter I neglected to cover what were twelve healthy plants. They’ve taken a bit of beating though some should survive if we can avoid further snow. Just in case, I planted another twelve seeds – an impulse buy, but just 79p.
Onions: the brown onions – Sprint variety – have weathered well. Some of them we’re sitting under a netted cloche. They look better than the rest. Onions and other aliums will shut down in cold weather, but thanks to early planting (early October) they had a good start before the frosts set in.
I’ve got some Red Baron planted too though these are last year’s failures. I wasn’t expecting much. Some have kicked on a bit, but the local mouse has dug up most of them. Yet again, not having much success with red onions.
Garlic: like the onions, these had a couple of months growth in mild autumn conditions before Jack Frost made an appearance. One or two bulbs have attracted mice, but nothing fatal.
Cabbage: I’ve still got half a dozen healthy cabbages under netting. They have formed their hearts so I’ll keep them protected from the birds until they get a bit bigger.
Elsewhere, there’s a hundred and one jobs to be done. Digging being numbers one to 99.
Back home, I bagged up some homemade compost. I’ve also got a small bag of wood ash from the fire which I’ll use on the potato bed.
Great to get a fine day in January to tick off a few outdoor jobs.
Planting interrupted a good session of village gossip.
I’m sure you don’t care about the three types of garlic* that I put in this morning or the afternoon session planting out two rows of onion sets (the autumn favourite Radar).
What you’d really like to hear is the latest buzz around the allotments. Of more interest than my weeding the cabbages is who has put up the latest allotment structure and which villager has penned a vitriolic letter.
Not that I’m one to gossip.
* – Thermidrome, Therador and Sprint.
Shenshyu onions make a great bol-less, bolognese. My garlic, basil and oregano give it an extra kick.
Meanwhile, I lifted a few desiree potatoes. A few worm and slug eaten, otherwise looking fine. I can leave them for a week or so, assuming the current clement weather stays.
And, all the red onions are up. Thanks to slug leaf damage, many of the bulbs stopped growing a few weeks back. But, a better crop than last year; there’ll be a better crop next year.
As ever, weeding required. There’s some right nasty stuff to dig up.