Friday 18 March 2011

Onions and Shallots; The Monty Don Way

When Gardeners World appears on our TV screens it is a sure sign that Spring has arrived and work should be taking place in the garden in earnest. I sat down to watch the first episode with a little bit of fear because we hadn't sown a single seed and I felt for sure I would come away from the show feeling I was well behind but Monty Don didn't seem to be too far ahead of us and I came away with a list of useful tips rather than a masssive 'Should Have Already Done' List. And the first tip I have put into action is to plant our onion and shallot sets into trays.

We have always planted these straight into their growing position outside but our onions and shallots have never been very successful so I was eager to try something new and perhaps getting a warmer start in the greenhouse is just the thing they need. So in Monday morning Garden Boy, Garden Lass and myself headed off to the Garden centre and bought some Onion Stuttgarter Giant and some Shallot Vigarmor. These are different varieties to ones we have tried before but both are apparently good growers and favoured varieties.

Then when Garden Girl was home from school we headed outside and gave Garden Lass her first lesson in sowing vegetables. While Garden Girl counted out twenty four onion sets, removing a couple of mouldy ones along the way, Garden Lass helped Garden Boy fill a seed tray with compost. She managed to get some of the compost into the tray but large handfuls were also going straight into her mouth. I remember Garden Boy enjoyed the taste of compost but not to quite this extent so in the end I had to distract her with her walker and she happily practiced her walking while Garden Boy finished the job. Then Garden Girl and Garden Boy then pushed the onions and shallots into the compost and I lifted them into the greenhouse where they now sit as a proud indication that we have made a start.

I even managed to pull up some weeds from our patio while our Little Garden Helpers were getting on with the onions and shallots so hopefully I have caught them early enough to prevent the usual forest from appearing out there and I have been left feeling very optimistic for the coming season.

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