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Friday, 11 September 2009

Grow Onions and Shallots in winter

The kitchen garden can start to look a bit bare this time of the If like me, you get the urge to plant something, try overwintering onions or shallots. Every time you wander down the garden this winter, something will be happening! On a more practical note, you'll get a harvest earlier next year than with the normal spring planting.

Look in Garden Centres for "sets" which are actually small onion bulbs (or in the case of shallots, full sized bulbs) Check the packet to make sure the variety is suitable for winter use. Push then into soft soil about 6" (15cm) apart with the tops just poking out. Well before Christmas, green shoots emerge and by June, they're ready to harvest.

Some birds think it a fine game to pull them out of the soil so chuck on some netting for the first few months. The books suggest fertilising in March. Apart from that, there's not a lot to it. They are unlikely to dry out and they're out of the ground before most of the serious weeds get going in summer.

Sow and forget? I suppose so but that's not as much fun.

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