This year/end of last year was my first year attempting onions. I had a go at shallot last year planting the set in April for an August harvest and they did pretty well. My garlic, last year was a bit of a disaster, as the plot flooded along with all my garlic bulbs.
Anyhow....not one to be defeated, I thought I'd give some garlic and onions a try on nice dry plot 67. I planted the sets and cloves last October, along with my broad beans. They sat and looked sickly for quite a while. They were buffeted by the winds and rains and I had to replant quite a few one or twice. Then about two months ago...they suddenly started to look a lot better, with a marked improvement almost daily.
So last week was time to harvest them. Some of them had started collapsing and they are enormous. So they are currently drying out on the plot. At first lying on one of the empty beds, but one of my fellow allotment chums suggested using one of the unused harris panels as a drying wrack. So they've all been moved now. But here's a lovely shot of some of the harvest. .
I wasn't really anticipating having the garlic and onion beds vacant at this point. I thought they'd be free at the end of July/ beginning of August. In addition, my broad beans were struggling with black fly and were pretty much over. So I took them all out and harvested the remaining pods.
So suddenly I have lots of empty space and nothing to plant. I managed to fit all my beans on plot 67, in the various spaces. I had set aside two beds on plot 18 for beans. So this now leaves me with the four empty onion beds and two spare beds on plot 18. So I took a trip to the garden centre(s) and managed to get some chicory raddichio, swiss chard, some beetroot seedling and fennel. I also got some more climbing french beans, sugar snap peas and more mange tout.
Not everything is planted out yet...the beetroot and fennel seedlings are tiny are need careful transplanting. In any case, there's a lot of tidying up to do on both plots. Because of my operation last year and then this year, it was a very slow start to the year and at the last allotment inspection I got a pass, but it's still a bit of a shock that my plots wouldn't have passed otherwise. Plot 18 was a work in progress and apparently it's not cultivated to the 75%. Which surprised me, as it's a summer plot and I just hadn't finished getting everything in the beds. Plot 67 is, but would still have gotten me a "tidy up your plot" letter. I know they're not looking up to scratch, but I didn't realise they were that bad. It'd given me a bit of a shock. This autumn and winter, I will make a big effort to get everything easier to manage. Membrane and chipping down. The back of 67 needs a good sorting out and I've asked one of my site reps to let me know if one of the plots around 67 becomes available. I think if one comes up, I will move plot 18, as it's been too hard with having the plots at opposite ends of the site.