Saturday, March 12

Autumn planted v spring planted

It was very topsy-turvy last season as far as our onions were concerned with the autumn planted sets not only out performing those planted in the spring but also keeping better.
Autumn set are planted straight into the ground. As with much of our planting we plant through weed control fabric. Channels are cut into the fabric and the onion sets are planted along them and either a well rotted manure or wood chipping mulch (whichever is available is applied). I always found weeding between onions to be a problem. It was difficult to avoid bending their leaves or uprooting bulbs in the process. The weed control fabric makes this easier and also avoids weeds out-competing the onions. 
At the beginning of July we started pulling the autumn onions as we needed them and in mid August we lifted all those remaining.
Autumn onions are not supposed to store well but these onions kept well and we were still using them after we had pulled the spring planted ones.


To give the spring planted onions and shallots a head start we plant as many as we can find room for in modules left in the garden greenhouse.


Last year we started planting in February so we are a little late this year but the sets start shooting quite quickly. You may notice - the top right photo - that we plant some sets in clusters. This way we end up with several sizes of onions. We don't always need a large one for cooking.

These are planted out before they become pot-bound as this can halt growth and sometimes the plants don't recover well from the set back.


The sets that were left over are planted directly into the ground. The ends of the rows in the photo above are planted up with sets. The shallots are planted down each edge of the bed.

At the end of the bed the remaining sets are planted very close together and produce onions a suitable size for pickling.


The onions were lifted before the rain set in but had to be taken into the shed and greenhouse to dry as the weather turned wet.


The damp atmosphere over winter lead to many of the onions rotting in storage. They were kept in the dry shed and summerhouse but the general dampness still managed to affect them.

Strangely though the shallots didn't seem to suffer in the same way.

I think the mild winter and dry period during which the autumn onions were in the ground helped them grow well which isn't always the case. I wonder how they will fare this year.

Autumn onions already planted are, Senshyu and some just called red onions. 

We will grow the same varieties of spring planted onions and shallots as last year.

22 comments:

  1. I suspect we are in for another 'interesting' year with plants either early or late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every year is interesting in its own way, Jayne.

      Delete
  2. I agree with Jayne--I believe the years are getting odder and odder, and it's going to get more challenging (and interesting!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We gardeners always rise to challenges don't we, Sue?
      .

      Delete
  3. I also agree. I am looking at my garden and trying to fathom out what might work best with all the bizarre weather we are getting year 'round.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our challenge is soggy soil, Deborah.

      Delete
  4. Have just bought shallots this week Sue and will be starting them off in modules too. Have been at the allotment this morning and the soil is cold and most claggy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have planted the first lot of onions and shallots in modules today,mAnna.

      Delete
  5. My onions didn't come to anything last year, I cut down on them greatly but those I did plant ended up rotting in the ground. You've just reminded me though that I sowed some spring onions in autumn which I've overwintered in the greenhouse so I'll have those to look forward to soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We still don't seem to,be able to crack spring onions, Jo.

      Delete
  6. Onions we plant in the spring, but I have always planted our shallots (those grown from a bulb) in the fall, just like the garlic. They have always done well even when during our 2014/15 winter when it got down to -40C! And I find that shallots are the BEST keepers - I've been able to keep them for well over a year and they are still firm and not at all dried out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've never planted shallots in autumn, Margaret, maybe we should try.

      Delete
  7. I only grow shallots. I always planted them in spring but reading Margaret's comment above,I will also plant some in the fall. I tried various varieties over the years but they never did much. Last year I planted some I bought in an East Indian grocery shop and they did beautifully. I hope they still carry the same shallot in the shop this year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Were they the round ones or long thin ones, Alain.

      Delete
  8. Your onions look great.

    I grew good ones the first year I had the allotment. I wasn't going to bother as I got it too late, but some one gave me some pare, slightly shrivelled sets and I bunged them in. Since then they've never been so good. Maybe I should try very late planting again?

    I agree with you about wanting different sized ones in the kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I often use small ones to pickle too, Patsy.

      Delete
  9. In days gone by gardeners always used to plant / sow on the same days every year, but I think these days gardeners have to be more flexible, and adapt to the very variable weather conditions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the mild winter encouraged the autumn sown setts and the poor summer did the opposite for the spring planted one, Mark. I think to plants effectively you need to read into the future.

      Delete
  10. Of all the crops you successfully grow, I have to say I'm most envious of your onions! The little blighters simply refuse to grow for me, no matter what I do! This shall be my last attempt at growing them, having said that I seem to have some growing in the veggie patch.....not planted by me that's for sure, maybe the squirrels have been playing again, something put them there!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we lacked space I think onions would be the first crop to drop, Dina. Maybe some onion seeds drifted in at some time.

      Delete
  11. Ah, I'm not sure if I just deleted the comment I was writing but it was something like.....
    Your onions looked really good last year....do you have problems with onion pests? I have to cover mine with enviromesh to keep off the leek moth. I used to grow autumn onions but they never do as well for me as the main ones planted out in spring so I just stick to them now. I've planted out most of my Sturon but am waiting for the red onion sets to come in the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The onion pests haven't made it to us yet, Lou but I guess it is just a matter if time. I read that the autumn onions are often best to grow if pests damage to onions and much of the growing is done prior to pest activty.

      Delete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It isnot published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.