Monday, August 25, 2008

Knowing your onions

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to brag a bit.

You see, I've been spending this week digging up the onion crop up at the allotment - the tops had gone over so it was clearly time they were out of the ground.

What you have to understand is that I've never - and I mean never, in about 8 years of veg-growing, had any luck with onions. They always turn out mingy little buttons, better for pickling than for eating. I've tried everything - different varieties, different spacings - but no joy.

Until now. Just look at these whoppers. The largest ones are around 6" across. They look like proper onions - you know, the ones you buy in the shops. The above picture shows just half the harvest - there was another 11ft-long bed full to go (you see, I overcompensate for the shallot-size onions by planting loads of them). My entire greenhouse is now stuffed to the gunwhales with drying onions and I've run out of racks. I'm even thinking of entering some for the village autumn horticultural show, I'm that chuffed.

Mind you, I have to confess to a sneaking suspicion that this is not actually anything to do with me. It's been a wierd year all round - early summer crops (peas, broad beans, French beans) which I'm normally dead good at have failed utterly this year. And cabbages, which I fail with quite as spectacularly as onions as a rule, have turned into kings - my 8-year-old picked one of my red cabbages up the other day and disappeared behind it.

If this is climate change, we're going to be eating a lot of cabbage from here on in...

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