Onions are now romp­ing away!

But what im­pact has the cold spring had?

Garden News (UK) - - What To Do - MEDWYN WIL­LIAMS

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!

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