ONIONS AND SHAL­LOTS

NZ Gardener - Garden Diary 2018 - - Crop Of The Month -

Onions and shal­lots are ready to har­vest when their fo­liage turns brown and starts to wither. Dry them in­doors. It’s im­por­tant onions and shal­lots aren’t al­lowed to get damp (even from dew) after har­vest, or they could re­sprout, soften or rot. Store them in­side, in a warm, well-ven­ti­lated room or shed or lay them out un­der a cov­ered ve­ran­dah. Once fully dry (rub the stalks; they should be brit­tle and pa­pery), you can store your al­li­ums in pa­per bags, hes­sian sacks or re­cy­cled onion bags.

Add cover crops

As sum­mer crops come out, fill any va­can­cies with cover crops. Sow broad beans, blue lupin, mus­tards or in­sect-friendly phacelia, or a blend. The Green Ma­nure Mix from King Seeds has peas, oats and lupins to fix ni­tro­gen and add fi­bre and car­bon. Mr Fothergill’s also has a Green Ma­nure Mix, which con­tains

lucerne, phacelia, oats, mus­tard, lupin and buck­wheat. Let your cover crops over­win­ter then hoe them into the soil be­fore they flower in spring (they have their best nutri­ents just be­fore flow­er­ing). When plant­ing, sow thickly – it cre­ates a great habi­tat for in­sects, sup­presses weeds and re­duces soil ero­sion and run-off over win­ter.

Last quar­ter Gar­den­ing by the moon Sow root crops and the seeds of flow­ers. With a new moon over­head, dig and cul­ti­vate to pre­pare for the com­ing pe­riod of pro­lific growth.

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