Garlic rust: the early symptoms…

Onions and garlic

Onions have done well. This warm weather we’ve been having is making them grow super fast.

Unfortunately, the garlic (very kindly donated by Patrick at Bifurcated Carrots)  is showing early signs of garlic rust. See the yellowing leaf tips of the plants (on the right). Patrick’s a mine of information about rust, but he too says he’s seeing warning signs of the disease.

Can’t say it’s any great surprise – I get rust every year – but I never get used to the disappointment. Just once I’d love to raise a pure, clean crop of fat garlic bulbs untainted (and unstunted) by rust.


Posted on 31st May 2009
Under: Alliums, Peas and beans | 10 Comments »

Onion sets sending up shoots

Onion sets sproutingThe onion sets are sprouting nicely. Only three got pulled up by birds, which is a result; most years I can count on replanting 30% thanks to the magpies.

Less good news is that weeds are already rampant. I’ve decided that the World’s Worst Weed is definitely couch grass.

I know, I know: Marestail is ineradicable, but at least it’s fairly easy to control. Ditto brambles and nettles, which both hate determined cultivation.

Couch, on the other hand, is the Daddy of weeds. I hack it up, grub it up, pull it up and rip it out. I burn it, bury it, hoe it and bin it. Couch destruction figures in my dreams.

But there it always is, waiting for me every time I visit the allotment. On my plot, Couch is King.

What’s your most loathed weed?

Posted on 10th April 2009
Under: Alliums, Asparagus, Weeds | 11 Comments »

Planting onion sets for Spring!

How to plant onion sets

It’s here again: Spring. Official!

Well, not quite official… but March 8th is good enough for me.

Spring means planting onion sets and potatoes. So I made a start on the onions today by planting four rows. I bury them about 5″ apart, and deep enough so that only the very tip of the sets are just showing. Any shallower and the birds pull them up, meaning you have to do the whole wretched procedure all over again.

Still haven’t done anything about my new allotment extension. Neighbours report that the soil is seething with live bramble roots and is a bugger to dig. Which is comforting.

Posted on 8th March 2009
Under: Alliums, Spring | 13 Comments »