Onions are now romping away!
But what impact has the cold spring had?
Iplanted out my large exhibition onions on April 12, which was a rare calm and sunny day, with the polytunnel temperatures in the 20s. I was doubtful about planting them as the spring weather was so bitterly cold but I didn’t have a lot of other options. The plants were the best I‘ve had for a long time, but unfortunately they just didn’t take off as I would’ve liked, with some outer leaves yellowing right back to the stem.
So it was a relief that the early May bank holiday proved to be the turning point and they’re now growing away well. The only consolation I have, if any, is that most growers I’ve spoken to seem to have had the same problem with the incessant cold temperatures proving to be a real battle.
The weather has been such a problem this year, even with my plants growing in the polytunnel. Although the air temperature inside the tunnel may be very hot, the soil could well be cold. The onions certainly don’t like having their feet in the cold. My polytunnel has been positioned on top of a raised concrete block bed structure and this means the soil should warm up quicker than if it was straight on the soil.
My concern now is how will they react to the check that they had after planting? Will they throw up a seed head and bolt? Or will they split in two, which has happened in the past? When I planted the onions, I sunk a square plant pot to the depth of the roots between each plant and this is how I apply the water and Biosys, never around the plant itself. The tops around the onions appear to be very dry but on scraping the soil away carefully it was still moist an inch or so down. I believe that when the soil around the onions is too wet, that’s when your problems begin.
Why not follow me on Twitter throughout the season as I grow vegetables for my display at Malvern - @medwynsofangles.
The onions are now growing well – note the empty square pot beside each for watering
A max/min thermometer is a must-have for anyone growing for exhibition
Winner of 11 Chelsea golds and awarded an MBE!