I wish I had placed a bet on my prediction that we were due to have a typical English summer! The apples and pears may not be doing that well due to the very late, cold, dull spring, but the soft fruit were very good. Although early growth on the allotment was poor and I lost first sowings of peas, beans and winter brassicas, we have no complaints now! Walking around the plots the other evening, I see we have runner bean structures groaning under a heavy crop and abundant crops all round. I am going to be very interested to see how my first attempts at growing carrots and parsnips has worked out; maybe you might see my efforts at the Autumn Show on the 21st. Don’t miss it!
I have been asked for help with harvesting onions so that they keep well over the winter. The important thing to remember is that onions must be properly ripened before storing. I turned the tops of mine over in early August, lifted them in late August, put them on a wire rack in the sun (covering them if it rains and turning them every week or so) so that they are very firm, have brown skins and the tops have dried out. Now is the time to plait them in a rope of even size or grade them with big ones at the bottom, getting smaller as you go up the rope. Don’t make too big a rope, about 18” is plenty otherwise they will be too heavy and could fall apart!
If you find that your rope looks very neat and tidy then why not put it in the Show? If you don’t fancy a rope then put them in a netting sack and hang them up in a dark, dry, frost free place. Make sure to check them weekly and remove any soft ones, and with good care you should still be using them at Easter!
Speaking of storing, September is looking good for a good crop of blackberries in our hedges. Please respect the hedge and only pick what you can reach without tearing holes and breaking branches! Please also remember to leave some for our wildlife; they need it more than we do!