What’s On The Show Today?
Preparing your plants for winter in “gardening in tight spaces” part 2 in the Backyard Biodynamic segment, something to make you cry in veggies, but why? in Vegetable Heroes, and plants that hide fences really well in Design Elements, plus best suited for a cold climate in Talking Flowers.
But what do we do with the cold to protect out plants especially if your space gets little sun?
Let’s find out.
I'm talking with Diane Watkin, Principle founder and member of Bioydnamics Sydney.
The same technique of keeping the sun off your pots is used to keep your plants warm.
You may have a glass cloche, but most likely you'll have to rig something up using sticks, twigs, shade-cloth, or other material.
If you have any questions either for me or Diane you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
Most of these have corms or bulbs or underground stems with long thin leaves and clusters of varying numbers of flowers. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Did you know that onions were grown as a crop and eaten since prehistoric times?
When to grow Onions?
In sub-tropical, cool temperate, warm temperate and arid climates you can plant them from April until August.
Onions are sensitive to the day length for formation of flowers, so it’s important to select the right variety (early – mid-season – late).
These varieties have different requirements in the length of daylight hours.
Early varieties are short day length onions, mid-season varieties are medium day length onions, and late varieties are long day length onions.
If planted out of season, onions may bolt to seed prematurely.
For example in temperate climates mid-season onions are sown in winter, growing through spring and harvested in summer. These include Sweet Red and Brown Spanish Onions.
So why Grow Onions?
- Onions are a good companion plant.
- Grown around the garden they repel pests.
- They contain sulphur which is a strong disinfectant.
- Did you know that onions were was used to heal gun shot wounds and during World War 1, sphagnum moss was soaked in the juice as a wound dressing.
How to Grow Onions with Success.
- Remember to always lime your soil well a week or two before planting onions.
- They love a sweet or alkaline soil.
- Don't forget avoid applying manures and blood and bone to the beds in which you're about to grow your onions because they prefer alkaline soil.
- You can use spent mushroom compost instead of cow manure.
Sowing seeds with Success
- Onion seeds can be sown into seed raising mix into punnets.
- Or if you want to sow them directly into the garden, make it easy for yourself, mix the seed with some river sand-say one packet of seed to one cup of sand and sow it that way. Bit like sowing carrots!
- They can be transplanted to garden beds when the seedlings are around 3 inches (8 cms) tall.
- According to the “Vegetable Patch” website, there is a secret to planting onion seedlings.
- Instead of planting them sticking straight up, lay them down in a trench and move the soil back over their roots.
- In about 10 days they're standing up and growing along strongly.
1. Hand weed around onions to avoid disturbing their roots and bulbs.
2. Keep away from nitrogen based liquid fertilisers when your onions are maturing. Otherwise their efforts will go into their leaves instead of their bulb.
3 Regularly water your onions. Lack of water can delay growth or split the bulb.
When Do you Pick Your Onions?
This usually takes 6 months, so if you plant seedlings today, yours will be ready in December.
Add a couple of weeks if you’re using seeds.
Pull the whole plant from the ground and leave it to dry in the sun.
Turn it every few days and avoid getting them wet (eg dew or rain).
Hang them in a cool dry place for around 3 weeks to cure.
If you store them in a cool dry place they should keep for a year.
This explains why you can buy onions all year round.
Eat the bulbs without a good dry skin first .
Why do we cry when we cut onions?
Onions contain complex sulphur compounds.
When you cut into an onion, two chemical reactions take place.
First, when a knife cuts through the cells of an onion, its enzymes release a strong odour.
Second, the onion releases allicin, a volatile sulfur gas that irritates the eyes and sends one rushing for a tissue.
Keeping Onions in the fridge can help with this problem.
To avoid a bitter flavour never, never buy onions that have begun to sprout greens from their stem portion.
This means they’re more than a year old.
If you see sprouts forming in your onions stored at home, simply snip them off and use the green part like chives, put the rest in the compost.
Why Are They Good For You?
Some health studies have shown raw onions to be effective in lowering overall cholesterol while raising HDLs, the good cholesterol.
Additionally, onions kill infectious bacteria, help to control blood sugar, aid in dissolving blood clots, and may help to prevent cancer.
AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT FOR TODAY!
Perhaps you’ve had the fence so long that you’ve gotten used to the idea of looking at it without realizing that it’s really an eyesore.
|Montanoa hibiscifolia: Mexican Tree Daisy|
You may remember that last week I said, no-one is saying “ my garden looks too big.”
Plus it’s not all about climbers, climbers climbers, to hide the fence.
Let’s find out.
Hiding the fence will make the garden look bigger.
So, Peter mentioned
Viburnum odoratissimum “Dense Fence” or Viburnum odoratissimum “ Quick Fence.” if you’re wanting a free standing shrub.
Mexican Tree Daisy or Montanoa hibsicifolia
For Cool Temp districts:
Prunus lusitanica - Portugese Laurel Prunus laurocerasus - Cherry Laurel
I'm talking with florist, Mercedes Sarmini of www.flowersbymercedes.com.au