Slow allotment gardening in the life of a busy family
Monday, 20 September 2010
Drowning in onions - and comfrey
While the potatoes may be a write-off, we have almost more onions than we can store. A couple of weekends ago I set up an onion processing station in the sunny corner of the plot, shucking off the loosest outside skins and the excess stalk, and dividing the crop into immediate use and storage. I haven't got as far as the shallots yet, which are also plentiful. Thank goodness some things have just got on with it this year while we've been busy elsewhere. Some crops seem to know when they don't have your full attention, but not onions.
Garlic, however, is obviously one of the prima donnas of the allotment world. Or perhaps I didn't plant it deeply enough? Or the French variety I chose didn't like our coldest winter for however many years it was.
The bulbs hardly formed, or rotted away into nothing. It can't be that they didn't have a long enough period of cold weather for bulb formation. Since garlic adapts quickly to local conditions, I'm going to plant a Scottish-bred variety this year, plant 'em deep, and see what happens.
And the green leaves to the left of the onions below?
It's the return of the dreaded comfrey, which I thought we'd got rid of but has suddenly popped up all over the place. This little lot is in its way to the compost, and shortly, just as soon as we have a moment, it's going to be Operation Seek and Destroy. The biggest mistake I've made on the plot was to believe the description of Bocking 14 comfrey in the Organic Gardening Catalogue as 'non-invasive'. Hah! It had designs on my strawberry bed from the start, and has marched straight across the width of a neighbouring bed and now into the grass path. If humanity disappeared tomorrow (I've just finished reading 'The World Without Us', a recent birthday present which satisfied my post-apocalyptic leanings) the Earth wouldn't be taken over by some tree with waxy pods imported to the US from China and currently blotting out native species, but by my comfrey.