It’s time to string onions and check spuds, says Terry Wal­ton

And the au­tumn tidy-up on the al­lot­ment has be­gun in earnest

Garden News (UK) - - Contents -

This sum­mer has seen some tri­umphant crops grown on this high hill­side, and it was largely down to the good spring and sum­mer. I’ve been har­vest­ing some ex­cel­lent squashes and my sweet­corn has been a tasty de­light. Tak­ing packed cobs home and cook­ing them and rolling in a knob of but­ter one hour after har­vest­ing is some­thing spe­cial and knocks the socks off shop-bought ones!

But the big­gest suc­cess of all goes to one of our newer al­lot­menteers who’s har­vest­ing some of the finest aubergines I’ve seen grown. To me they’re a dif­fi­cult veg­etable to mas­ter and I take my hat off to him.

The in­ter­ludes of glo­ri­ous weather must be used wisely and the clean up on the plot con­tin­ues. I’ve re­moved all those peren­nial weeds and dis­posed of them well away from the plot – no com­post heap for them!

The an­nual weeds, on the other hand, are on pay­back time and can be dug into the soil where they’ll de­com­pose and give rich­ness back to the soil. So at last they’re put to good use!

I’m pick­ing up all the empty pots and trays that are ly­ing around the plot. These are the ideal win­ter home for snails and they’ll soon gather to­gether in these safe lit­tle havens if left around. Don’t make life easy for them.

Trays of onions grown from sets have been har­vested a while ago and put into plas­tic trays. These trays have been in and out of my shed many times when the sun has been shin­ing to get them thor­oughly dried. Be­fore stor­ing onions it’s es­sen­tial that all the sur­plus mois­ture is dried off or they’ll get fun­gal dis­eases while in stor­age. Also, any mois­ture on the out­side of the onion will al­low the root to re­grow and new leaves ap­pear from the neck, mak­ing them use­less. Ex­am­ine any that show signs of dam­age and use these first rather than try­ing to store them. The fo­liage should now be crispy dry and any loose leaves re­moved. Cut a piece of stout string to about 60cm (2ft) long and make two large knots in the open end. Tie a large onion to the knot­ted end, then hang­ing the string from a nail, weave the fo­liage around the string. Take the next onion and weave its fo­liage around the string, then pull it tight against the tied onion to se­cure it. Con­tinue weav­ing un­til a de­cent string is formed, then hang in a cool, airy shed for win­ter use.

The sec­ond early pota­toes were dried and bagged in pa­per sacks weeks ago and need check­ing over for any ‘bad’ ones. I tip them out into trays and check the tu­bers, re­mov­ing any that look sus­pect. I re­place the good ones back into the sack and keep them cool and dry.

Strung onions will give me a good win­ter sup­ply

I’m check­ing for any ‘bad’ spuds!

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