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When will my onions be ready to harvest!?

tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 179
Hi all
I planted my onions about July time. Theyre looking good, with tall green leave etc... But are they ok to leave in the ground? Its so cold outside. Will their leaves start to wilt and die so I can harvest them or do you think theyre just going to rot in the ground because its winter.
Thanks
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 74,860
    edited December 2020
    How big are the bulbs?
    Did you plant them
    as ‘sets’ or were they small plants grown from seed?
    Do you know the name of the variety? 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 179
    How big are the bulbs?
    I dont know without digging them out. Ill investigate later and take photos so you can see.

    Did you plant them as ‘sets’ or were they small plants grown from seed?
    I was given them. The bulbs were tiny and had tiny spindly green shoots. (so I presume they were 'sets'). I noticed them on a shed shelf at a friends. He was just going to let them die so I said Id have them.

    Do you know the name of the variety? 
    I dont unfortunately.

    Ill take a photo later.

    Thanks
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,492
    Hi John,  good to hear from you.  Cold on the Moor isn’t it 😀
    I would say that your onions are not much good , by the autumn the onions would be above the ground at least half of the onion showing so you could see how big they were, I would dig one up and have a look, maybe you could take a photo of it and show us? 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 179
    Hi Lyn!

    Is that Burrator reservoir in your profile pic?  I was up there yesterday - never seen it so busy!!

    Ive planted some of your spring cabbage seeds in trays to get a head-start on planting them outside.  o:)

    Heres some photos of my 'situation':

    The leaves stand about 30cm high:



    Most/all of them look to have 2 storks! Is this how they grow or have I planted them too close together!?



    I will dig one up later and see what Ive got. Worse case scenario is Ill be having spring onion for tea tonight! Theyre all looking healthy:



    This is my cabbage. It looks firm, but small. Is it going to grow much or shall I cut my losses and harvest it before the slugs finish it off? 



    Flea beetles have been a real pain. They get at all my leaves before theyre big enough to harvest. However the latest round of cavolo nero leaves look to be untouched, so I guess the flea beetles have 'gone to ground' during the winter months. Do you think these neros are going to produce much or shall I just harvest whats there and put the rest of the plants on the compost?


    I will dig up an onion later and post it here for you to inspect. Im sure you can barely contain your excitement!  :D
  • I think your "onion" plants look more like leeks? 
  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 179
    I think your "onion" plants look more like leeks? 
    No. Theyre definitely onions. I have leeks too which Ive been harvesting and have been pleased with them. (I cut sections of some old downpipe to blanche them).
  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 179
    Disaster has struck!! :



    They are no wider than the stalk! The bulbs have barely formed! To say Im utterly devastated would be an understatement.  :s

    Ill clean them up and see if I can do anything with them in the kitchen. Perhaps something in a salad.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,492
    Yes John that’s Burrator,  we ventured out in September and actually braved it to have an ice cream. 
    You can use your onions as leeks,  stews casseroles and stir fry.  They may be too hard, tough though, try chopping one up and see.

    I think you’ve planted them too close,  12” apart in all directions is about right.
    The veg boxes,  have the plants access to go right through to the ground, or have they got bottoms in them?  There’s not much soil if that’s the case.

    The cabbage seeds I gave you were Spring cabbage, sow in September harvest in the Spring,  is that what you did?   I would harvest the one you’ve got there, cabbage freezes very well and cooks up as good as fresh so if you have more you could cut the lot and freeze them.

    All in all I think you’ve done well for a first try,  veg growing isn’t as easy as some make it seem,  but you’ll learn as you go along.

    You can put carrots in the boxes next year,  they do best in older, unfertilised soil. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 179
    Yes John that’s Burrator,  we ventured out in September and actually braved it to have an ice cream. 
    Every carpark on dartmoor I passed was rammed with cars. People were parking on blind corners and even on the open moors! crazy.

    The veg boxes,  have the plants access to go right through to the ground, or have they got bottoms in them?  There’s not much soil if that’s the case.
    The ground is clay, so basically the soil in the beds are all they have! It explains why my leeks have a lot of girth, but not much length!

    The reason for the lack of soil in the beds is becuase I had very little top soil but lots of manure. So most of whats in those beds is manure, which quickly sank. So I will be buying some top soil for the beds so everything has more depth! 


    The cabbage seeds I gave you were Spring cabbage, sow in September harvest in the Spring,  is that what you did?
    I sowed them in trays late Sept/early Oct. I then potted them on. Once the frosts have gone I will plant them outside.


    All in all I think you’ve done well for a first try,  veg growing isn’t as easy as some make it seem,  but you’ll learn as you go along.
    Thankyou. I only started growing in mid summer, so all my plantings were late. 

    I am much more prepared for the next growing season. I have bought another veg bed and have done a plan of what Im planting where. (based on the square foot gardening method).

    I have plastic cloches Ive made out of bottles. Once the frosts have gone it will be all systems go, and my young plants will all go in the new beds and the mesh put on. I just hope I dont have so many flea beetles next year!
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,492
    I think that’s the mistake with the onions,  too much manure,  better in ground manured last year,  the cabbages,  sown September,  plant out when big enough,  around October /November harvest in the spring so I’m not sure about those.  Worth a try though.

    The boxes need topping up, right to the top with soil, can you buy some builders bags of top soil.  Then dig in the manure what’s already there to mix.

    Have you started  a compost bin or three?  That’s good for your clay soil 


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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