Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Knowing your onions

Don't tell anyone, but I'm not all that good at growing onions. Not yet, anyway. I love them, and we eat loads of them, so I keep trying and I'm getting better at it every year - but the results always seem to be disappointing.

The first year I tried Sturon, which are supposed to be nice and round and store really well. Unfortunately I didn't realise that year that you're supposed to keep onions religiously weeded - they can't stand competition. So I got a tiny crop of very little onions (they were nice and round, anyway....) Tried again, same variety, in the second year, kept them a little better weeded but still they were quite small.

Last year I decided the variety was the problem and tried a whopper, Stuttgarter Giant, which are meant to be show onion sized. They have flat bulbs, which I wasn't too keen on - I find them annoying to chop when you're cooking - but I figured if they were big enough it wouldn't matter.

Well... they looked very nice, golden brown and really not a bad size. But exhibition-worthy they were not. I even kept them beautifully weeded, all summer. It might have been the very wet, sun-free summer we had last year: or it might have been that the soil up at the lottie just isn't quite good enough for them yet.

So, on to this year. I'm steering away from the posh flat onion types and gone back to bog-standard, with a variety called Setton. It's actually closely related to Sturon, so has the same uniformly round bulbs, but apparently the yield is heavier. I shall still keep it well weeded, but will try feeding and mulching this year too and see if that works.

I will crack this one day, if it takes me another ten years in the trying!

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