Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Onion bed  (Read 5998 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Onion bed
« on: November 26, 2011, 12:25:58 pm »
I am not a great fan of raised beds, because I think that the horticultural suppliers have jumped on a huge bandwagon/gravy train and sell very expensive versions whilst giving the impression to new growers that raised beds are the only place to grow veg, whereas we all know that veg plots on the flat give excellent crops.

However, I am thinking about eating my own words for next year, by trying a raised onion bed.  In most years I have grown good crops of onions, shallots and garlic but for the past two years conditions here in Scotland, and my plot in particular, have been too wet to get good results.  Even when the crop has grown, there are many small bulbs and none stores well at all.

We have some hefty railway sleepers to make the sides, and plenty of molehill soil ( ::) ), well-rotted FYM and wood ash to fill them with.

Any more tips for fertility, planting distances, slug control etc?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Blonde

  • Joined Mar 2011
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 01:17:48 pm »
I am not a great fan of raised beds, because I think that the horticultural suppliers have jumped on a huge bandwagon/gravy train and sell very expensive versions whilst giving the impression to new growers that raised beds are the only place to grow veg, whereas we all know that veg plots on the flat give excellent crops.

However, I am thinking about eating my own words for next year, by trying a raised onion bed.  In most years I have grown good crops of onions, shallots and garlic but for the past two years conditions here in Scotland, and my plot in particular, have been too wet to get good results.  Even when the crop has grown, there are many small bulbs and none stores well at all.

We have some hefty railway sleepers to make the sides, and plenty of molehill soil ( ::) ), well-rotted FYM and wood ash to fill them with.

Any more tips for fertility, planting distances, slug control etc?
Use straw, grass clippings, manure, lime, to build the level up and add some soil as well.  Higher beds means less bending over.... Know of a lady that is 88 this  year and she still gardens and has her beds raised nearly a metre high.  She has a ramp that leads up to the top of the bed and she walks up here to pick some of the vegies that grow on a trellis.  Other  vegies she can pick at ground level standing.  She has a little plot  and grows a huge variety.   She has had hers made  from railway sleepers, and gets her son-in-law to do all the digging for her.

 Slug control.    a bottle with some strong beer ...slugs crawl in for a drink and dont crawl out, snails the same but the opening has to acommodate the shell, so has to be a bit bigger.   I alsog row aniseed in my garden and have plants space randomly around the garden.  They also self seed which is what I like.  If I dont want it there I just dig it out.   Seems to keep the bugs away.  There are other herbs that help in the garden such as Marigolds and it might be a good idea to look up herbs on the net and see what does keep things away, and it depends on where in the world you are. 

deepinthewoods

  • Guest
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 01:40:02 pm »
my onions are in a raised bed this year, ive added loads of homemade compost and as recommended by lawrence d hills, added soot and wood ashes. ive spaced them at 6 inches each way.
the sets had sprouted nicely, until the chickens got in, so im fencing them off today to give them a chance.

Hermit

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2011, 02:31:43 pm »
Hi, as you know I live in Shetland I do not grow onions in raised beds but on ridges. I raise small ridges and plant the onion setts into the top and I grow  a seed trays distance apart but I like big onions and have plenty of room for them.  I keep the ridges hoed up which also keeps the weeds down. I was recomended this way by my feed merchant and it has never failed .

Sylvia

  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2011, 03:41:57 pm »
The distance between your onions depends on how big you want them. If you are feeding a family then 8-10inches. If, like us, there is only one or two of you then 4inches will give a smaller, use-all-at-once size bulb.

Plantoid

  • Joined May 2011
  • Yorkshireman on a hill in wet South Wales
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 09:10:05 pm »
This  depends on how much weed free ground you want to grow things in and how deep you want the beds and at what height you require them .

Look up " all new squarefoot gardening " website or get hold of the book 2005 updated version.
 You might be best looking for a bed fill mix of 1/3 peat , 1/3 vermiculite , large insulation chips from a builder merchant or insulation installer place. and 1/3 home sourced well composted things  from five different sources ..
 they use a system of one out , put a new one in  ....having dug in  a trowel of genuine home made compost in where you do the take out , put one in  sowing/ planting regime . Crop rotation does apply but not quite the way you might imagine ..you just don't grow the same thing in the same hole area.

 Don't scream too loud at the use of virgin peat in the beds for it is weed free and a once only buy , used to bulk out the beds till you get your own composting system going strong .
Beware of mixtures of peat and other manures or soils , it's not the same and crop results will suffer .
Steer clear of the local authority ammenity tip produced compost garden enhancer . it s full of chemicals , plastic bits weed seeds and all manner of fine metals and other things ..you'll for be forever weeding no matter how  much weed killer you try and use to knock the weeds on the head  ( personal experience. )  . those weeds steal food from your crops as well as water .

 The one third of compost  perhaps be an equal parts  mix of :-
 
 Pig muck and straw , horse muck  straw , chicken muck and straw , goat muck and straw , fish trimmings , seaweed , worm casts , composted veg  but no soil & definately no perennial weeds especially any with seeds  or their roots  ( burn them instead ) , composted hops or  composted spent barely from a brewery or distillery etc so long as it is organic non soil or meat or cooked food . Turn the pile  frequently water it and cover it up to keep the heat in .

Be careful using paper and carboard due to heavy metal inks & fire resistance stuff used on it .
Some people are using composted coir but as it is slightly woody it appears to take nitrogen out the soil and in my mind should be avoided if at all possible..

Be careful of using  Mushroom compost for it is already a mix of various straws and manures and has had lime or gypsum added to get it decomposing and hot enough to bring on the mushrooms ..it should have also been treated with a sterilant to kill off mushroom spores and things like mushroom diseases before it leaves the mushroom farm.


Also
From what my father used to do years ago from April till the first winter frost when he emptied and up turned the barrel...it's now back in fashion and regarded as the best thing since sliced bread.

Make up a " Tea " mixture for a liquid feed  by hanging on a lath a woven poly or jute sack of horse , goat ,sheep , pig etc muck in a de lidded 45 gallon barrel to which you have added a 3 kg solution of dissolved sugar & a knob of baking yeast in it the cooling syrup being warm enough so it is activates the yeast  and not so hot it is killing it  .  Now fill the barrel with water .

This sugar and yeast addition helps feed those nice bacteria that will then break down the straw and dung into a high grade liquid feed .. agitate the barrel and sack weekly and keep the barrel topped up . it's good for three  months once the water turns green

Don't keep the barrel near the house, it can pong a bit , flies and mozzies love it . Don't cover the barrel with anything , it needs day light as well as temperature for the bacteria and growing algae to work .

Use a watering can to give the feed  to the plant at ground level  , as spraying will get the leaves and possibly give you a bad gut  if it's used on salad crops that are washed but not cooked.

 this feed is fantastic on toms once the first truss has set.

 If you do join the aboves site be aware that the vast majority of Yanks don't feature British humour  in their psyche nor do they tolerate any unpolitically correct remarks however innocent they are.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 09:35:05 pm by Plantoid »
International playboy & liar .
Man of the world not a country

Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 09:16:18 pm »
I like raised beds particularly in clay soil as I can't do heavy digging and raised beds assist in drainage.  I make them from untreated wood which won't last as long as tannalised but I know that I'm not allowing arsnic or anything else to leach into the soil, then fill them as I muck out the goats during the late autumn early winter.  Let the worms do their bit through the next few months.  In the spring I scoop out holes, fill with compost and plant into that.  The manure has cooled enough so that, by the time the roots have reached it, the pant is strong enough to cope.

Red

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 09:16:33 pm »
I plant my garlic and onions in rased beds and they do really well! also much easier to control slugs and a lot less weeding! would strongly recomment ... however having tried my greens in the beds I'm going back to soil beds as I found that even though my beds were quite deep they just did not seem to root as well

Red

Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2011, 09:57:13 pm »
I have brassicas growing in raised beds.  Had some huge cabbages this year.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2012, 05:43:35 pm »
One thing we can't grow is Onions. We've got good soil and plenty of sunlight on the area but the last owner introduced Onion White Root Rot somehow. We have kept the area free of onion or leek cultivation for 9 years as recommended. Planted onions for the first time and they all died long before maturing, if anything it is worse than it was the first year we tried. Leeks fare better but not much.

Hermit

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2012, 07:14:37 pm »
Chrismahon, I know you would not be able to grow many but why dont you try isolated troughs / baths whatever with imported soil and grow some shallots.

deepinthewoods

  • Guest
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2012, 07:29:13 pm »
yup, you can grow onions in pots too, one per 6'' pot of compost, lots of show onions are grown like that.

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2012, 06:32:40 pm »
One thing we can't grow is Onions. We've got good soil and plenty of sunlight on the area but the last owner introduced Onion White Root Rot somehow. We have kept the area free of onion or leek cultivation for 9 years as recommended. Planted onions for the first time and they all died long before maturing, if anything it is worse than it was the first year we tried. Leeks fare better but not much.

Yes - I got white onion rot after buying infected sets from Countrywide.  Its been a nightmare since then, and seems to get worse each year.  I have read 20 years before it is clear.

I am using fresh beds this year (growing strawberries in them since before I bought the wretched Countrywide sets)  and will make sure I don't use homemade compost or the stuff from the council - I put wood ash on the droppings board under my chickens so I am hoping that will be a good risk free fertilizer for them

I also read (and shall try sometime) that you can make a tea from garlic (same family) water it on and the virus thinks there is a host, starts up, and with nothing to eat dies.  Worth a try anyway - I miss good onions.  :(

To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Onion bed
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 08:01:51 pm »
Thanks Hermit and Deepinthewoods. We've tried growing stuff away from the affected area. But our compost and even our tools are infected and its just not worth the bother of another set of tools and all the contamination precautions. We tried that with a garlic bed and in three years the root rot had somehow transfered -presumably on the tools. We just buy our onions -expensive though they are. When we move I am going to flame or chemically sterilise everything we take from the Orchard to avoid spreading it.

 

Odd onion

Started by suziequeue (8.23)

Replies: 11
Views: 3444
Last post July 03, 2011, 08:47:42 pm
by little blue
Prize onion

Started by suziequeue (8.14)

Replies: 1
Views: 1613
Last post August 14, 2010, 10:23:40 pm
by Fleecewife
pickling onion

Started by County Dangler (8.14)

Replies: 3
Views: 1816
Last post September 18, 2013, 12:03:12 am
by darkbrowneggs
Onion failure

Started by Wannabeesmallholder (8.14)

Replies: 11
Views: 1346
Last post April 28, 2022, 09:51:01 pm
by Wannabeesmallholder
onion sets blolting

Started by pgkevet (8.05)

Replies: 24
Views: 7546
Last post June 27, 2014, 09:30:56 pm
by cloddopper

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2022. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS