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Tuesday, 3 March 2020

garden Rakes and Spring Onions

TOOL TIME

Garden Rakes
Garden rakes have got to be one of the many of the must have tools in a garden shed.
But like the old successful tv ad about engine oils where they said, oils aint oils, the same applies to garden rakes.
There’s no one formula that suits all garden situations, but some are more flexible than others,
Let’s find out more. 
I'm talking with Tony Mattson of www.cutabovetools.com.au


  • Do you hate raking the leaves because your garden rake catches on everything or is heavy so the job is tiring?
  • Believe me when I say, that once you find the right garden rake, one that is light, adjustable, with tines that seem to scoop up leaves without too much effort, then happy days.
The rake with the adjustable fan width and handle height seems to be the most versatile of rakes and would be a great addition to the tools in the garden shed. 
Tony mention that out of the plastic rakes, Polyamide nylon and high impact nylon will last a lot longer but of course will cost a bit more. 
There is also specific rakes for dethatching lawn, or raking up gravel or spreading soil.
These are all different to the rakes that are for raking leaves. 
Why is it that gardens seem to have lots of leaves?
If you want to know more or if you have any questions about garden rakes, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

VEGETABLE HEROES

Spring Onions
Spring Onions or are they shallots?
Firstly spring onions are Allium fistulosum. are really like thick chives.
Did you know that all manner of onions were cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans?
There’s even a reference to spring onions in Chinese literature dating back over two thousand years.
Australians are often confused about what a shallot actually is, because we call them spring onions as well.
Allium fistulosum

Elsewhere in the world the word ‘shallot’ is only used to describe a small bulb, growing much the same way as a garlic bulb, with mild, delicate flavour.
  • ''True shallots (Allium cepa, aggregatum) are grown for their bulbs only. Unfortunately, spring onions are marketed as Shallots in NSW

Is it because shallots have a mild flavour that they've been confused with spring onions, which is what they’re supposed to be called?
To onion lovers and growers here's where there’s a difference.
A spring onion or bunching onion has is one that’s got a hint of a bulb when it matures; 
Spring Onions are a non-bulbing, perennial onion.
  • Did you know that in Australia we also call Spring Onions,.Green Onions? In fact, I’ve never seen the term Green Onion in the greengrocer or supermarket, have you?So now we know that Spring or Green onions have long, - up to 40cms long, hollow green, delicate stalks and small, very slender, white bulbs.
  • The bulb of a spring/green onion is really only slightly defined.

Spring or Green onions come out of the ground early in their lives... in fact you can sow them from very early spring until at least the end of march.
Usually you can pick them about 7 weeks later.
What’s good about spring onions is that they’re mild tasting because they haven’t been in the ground long enough to gain much pungency.
Spring onions can be used sliced or chopped raw in green salads or creamy salads like potato salad, pasta salads, or on top baked .

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Where do spring onions grow?
They’re a versatile plant with tube-like hollow leaves; that grows from cold regions right through to hot, tropical areas.
Spring onions prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil and are extremely hardy and pest resistant.
  • Grow them in full sun.

All onions need an open sunny site, fertile soil that is free draining.
Raised garden beds are the best if you have clay soil.
  • You can sow Spring Onions anytime really in Australia, because unlike other onions, day length doesn’t affect their growth. Plus, spring onions aren’t affected by frost.
  • Raising them in seed punnets or tray seems to work best, then transplant them when they’re several cms high or as half as thick as a pencil.
  • It’s normal to sow the seeds of spring onions closely, and because these onion seeds are planted densely they bunch together so that the bulbs have little chance of fully maturing and rounding completely out
  • When planting into the garden, dig lots of compost through the topsoil first and then use a dibbler to make holes 10cm apart.
  • Place a seedling in each hole and gently push the soil around the rootball. Water the seedlings very lightly but if they fall over, don’t worry as they will soon stand back up.
  • Keep your onions weed free.
  • Water them when dry weather is expected, otherwise ease back a bit.
  • In about 2 months, your spring onions should be ready to eat.
  • You can tell they’re ready because the leaves are standing tall, green and succulent.
  • If you want to harvest an entire bulb, use a fork to dig around the plant to keep from damaging it accidentally.
  • You can also just use scissors to cut the leaves and use them as a garnish in salads or casseroles for flavour.
  • Spring Onions belong to the class known as bunching onions and have a mild, sweet flavour; the green shaft plus a few cm of the green leaves are eaten.

Spring Onions must be harvested when the stalks are still green and you eat the whole plant, except the hairy roots
TIP:There is never any hint of a bulb in a Spring Onion so you can't leave the plants in the ground for the tops to dry off — they will, but you won't be able to save any bulbs.
  • If you forget to pick your spring onions, and they’ve started to flower.
  • Let them keep flower and save the seeds.The flowers are attractive to bees and other useful insects.
  • The seeds can also be sprouted.

You want to grow your own spring onions for freshness alone, because the ones you buy from the supermarket are only fresh for a handful of days.
For a dash of colour why not try Brilliant crimson spring onion red bulbs that are rich in antioxidants. www.diggers.com.au
This one will grow into bulbs that can be used like shallots if left in the ground.
TIP:
After you your spring onions from the ground, when preparing them in your kitchen, save the rooted bottoms and replant them.
Simply cut off the bottom inch (3 cm) of your green onions and plant them in damp soil, or keep them in a jar of water in a sunny spot.
You’ll a new lot of spring onions in a couple of weeks.
Why are the good for you? 
Spring Onion is:
Low in Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Cholesterol
High in Dietary Fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Manganese, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper. Whew!
If you have never tried growing onions before, why not give them a go this year? 
They are a very versatile, easy to grow vegetable that can be grown from seed most of the year.
Happy Spring Onion growing everyone!
AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT FOR TODAY!  

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