All my onions are now harvested. I left the last ones out in the sun to begin to dry as today was such a lovely day.
I know my onions are ready when the stalks bend over, see picture below, however this year, as I discussed in my earlier post, my over wintering onions have just kept growing and growing. Normally I would have harvested them in June/early July and not August.
I brought some home the other day and placed them with the others in the greenhouse.
The far onions are the ones I placed there about a week ago now. As you can see below they are very nearly dried out and will soon be ready for binding together with string so they can be stored more easily. They will be ready when the stems are all yellow. You do need to be careful drying them in the greenhouse as the temperature can get quite high on sunny days. If possible on such days it is best to take the onions out and place them directly in the sunshine.
Now the onion beds are empty, before I plant anything else in them, I need to test the soil pH level as this can affect how well things grow. Not having had this allotment for more than a year I do not know what fertilising regime has been in place so it is important to test the soil and find out the pH level in a number of places as it will vary throughout the plot. If it is too acidic or alkaline the plants will not grow as well and may be more susceptible to disease. The best overall pH for growing vegetables is 6-7. I have found a few websites, below, that have tables that show the preferred pH for a number of vegetables.
Eeek!!! I left my onions far too long in the ground and they have grown HUGE!!! I must admit I did it as an experiment to see how large they would grow, however, it has meant I have lost a few due to rot. I have found the over-wintering varieties can rot from the base of the onion if they are left in the ground too long and I would normally harvest towards the end of June / early July depending on their size and whether the stalks have started to fall over.
This year the stalks have only recently started falling over, hence me leaving them in longer, but I think next year an early July harvest will be in order.
I have taken around 50% to deal with this week. I find if I take too many in one go it becomes a mammoth task to deal with them all. A little and often is a good motto as far as work on an allotment is concerned. Onions need drying out before my husband binds them into strings and hangs them for storage. I have placed mine in an old commercial bread basket – no idea where I got them from – raised on pots in the greenhouse.