It’s time to string onions and check spuds, says Terry Walton
And the autumn tidy-up on the allotment has begun in earnest
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!