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Author Topic: Preparing soil for autumn onions  (Read 6628 times)

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Preparing soil for autumn onions
« on: October 04, 2010, 05:58:07 pm »
I plan to plant onion sets now under weed supressing fabric.

Does anybody have any tips about how I should prepare the soil?

I have a 4' x 4' "square foot garden" box with last year's compost in it which was a third potting compost, a third peat and a third vermiculite. I wold like to use this again as the onions did very well in it.

I have also got:

*    four sacks of neighbour's well rotted stinky cow manure/slurry
*    two spent tomato gro-bags
*    about half a dalek's worth of well rotted kitchen compost that I started last July
*    the lower tray of my wormery (at a pinch)

Questions are:

Can I use any of this for the onions?
If so - what?
What else should I get from the garden centre?

Susanna
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2010, 06:16:30 pm »
As well as well rotted FYM I always add seaweed meal (which has the added benefit of smelling of the seaside when it gets wet) and wood ash from the wood burner. The Organic Gardening Catalogue sells seaweed meal and you might find that if you don't have a wood burning stove, friends might - make sure they don't burn coal as those ashes can't go on the soil.
"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.

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 07:18:41 pm »
We have a wood burning stove :-)

I will look for the seaweed meal. I think I saw some at our local gardening store.

I am concerned that the manure/slurry is very moist (and stinky STINKY!!!). Should I mix it with something?

Susanna
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 09:41:04 pm »
Doesn't sound as if it's ready - FYM shouldn't smell.  Maybe you could mix it with straw or shredded newspaper or cardboard and let it rot down for another 6 months in a covered heap, turning it once or twice. Then buy some bagged manure from the garden centre for this bed, this time - any left over is great for adding to potting mixture for heavy feeders like tomatoes, just to get them through until they can be planted out. 
I always worry with slurry that the cattle have been wormed with Ivermectin which kills off 'good' worms in the compost which in turn delays decomposition of the compost heap.  If you put it directly onto the soil it will also kill off the earthworms which are essential for the good health of the soil. Once it has been composted for a while the Ivermectin de-natures and you can use the compost safely.
Wood ash is great for dust baths for chickens too, if you have them  :)
"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.

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2010, 08:02:38 am »
Thanks Fleecewife.

I will put the slurry on the "big" compost heap which is going to go for another year. I will ask our neighbours about Ivermectin and buy some bagged compost this time...... oooohh - another excuse to go to the garden centre.

Gosh - dustbaths - I hadn't thought of that. Brilliant. We've just run out of diatomaceous earth so this will be great. Last year I didn't really know what to do with all the ash we produced. I just sprinkled it onto the soil where we are planning to put our veg patch.

Mmmmm - full of good ideas now.

Do you think I should put the well rotted kitchen compost into the onion beds aswell?

Susanna
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2010, 12:19:48 pm »
<< Do you think I should put the well rotted kitchen compost into the onion beds aswell?>>

The more the merrier  :D  Kitchen compost will not overfeed the onions but will provide gentle feeding and bulk. Maybe you don't really need FYM in addition to compost, as plants grow slowly over the winter anyway.  Sounds like these are going to be the most pampered onions in TAS - post photos in the summer.
You are very organised - I'm still looking in horror at all the weeds that sneaked into the veggie patch when I turned my back.  I know I need to get rid of them now, but on the other hand I know it will be easier when we have had a good hard frost to kill off the top growth - too much procrastination (I like that for 'word of the week'  ::) )

Wood ash is good around the root run of fruit trees too - the kind with stones, like plums.  Also on pasture.
"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.

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2010, 08:52:07 pm »
Well - got some FYM and the wood ash from the fire.

Couldn't get the seaweed meal. Hubby says that the local shop can't get it any more..... some regulation or other......

 
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2010, 08:53:04 pm »
Then put on weed suppressing fabric and sprayed on spots where I wanted to plant the onions:
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 08:54:17 pm »
..... then cut holes in the fabric and planted an onion set in each one.

Easy!!

Put some netting over the top just for completeness.

God - I'm obsessional!!
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 09:07:46 pm by suziequeue »
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2010, 09:14:19 pm »
Yes dear, you are....

Signed,

Your Husband
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2010, 09:23:33 pm »
But I bet he will not refuse to eat the lovely onions you get from this bed  ::)   I find the weeds still find a way to appear right next to the growing onions, but not enough to compete.  The bed looks great. 

It is worth getting seaweed meal for the rest of your garden.  If you use it each year you will find that the fertility and general health of your crops will increase.  The Organic Gardening Cat sells it, and with bigger orders you can get it at a lower price.  Last year I bought a 25kg bag - it will last me a few years (fortunately, at that price  :o )
"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.

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2010, 09:32:46 pm »
OK - I see 25kg of Proctors calcified seaweed meal garden fertiliser on eBay.

Is that the stuff?

Susanna
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

knightquest

  • Joined May 2010
  • Birmingham
    • Knight Pet Supplies
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2010, 10:10:54 pm »
Gosh, that's a well organised bed. Might have to dig all mine up and plant 'em properly............. ;D

You've done a good job there Susanna.  :)

Ian
Ian (me), Diane (my wife) and 4 dogs. Ollie (Lab mix) , Quest (Malamute), Gazer and Boris (Leonbergers)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2010, 11:56:21 pm »
No, calcified seaweed is different - sorry !  It is for use instead of chalk or limestone on brassica beds (I think it must be a sort of coral).  Seaweed meal is green and made from kelp or similar. It smells lovely - I said that before didn't I - must be because I now live so far from the sea  :(

OK - I see 25kg of Proctors calcified seaweed meal garden fertiliser on eBay.

Is that the stuff?

Susanna
"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.

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Preparing soil for autumn onions
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2010, 09:18:55 pm »
Thankyou knightquest :-)

All based on fleecewife's advice (plus my obsessional character trait!!).

I will search again for the seaweed meal.

S
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

 

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