This year I am going to concentrate on growing some Kelsae Onions upto the 1.5kg weight and hopefully if they are as good as last year I may even attempt to enter some into a National Show.
After last years attempt to grow a giant 10 pounder (above) and finally managing just over 9 pounds I'm not going to try this again but I am considering growing an enormous Red Onion if I can manage to get my hands on some good plants.
Dec 24th 2009
Well,I decided to get the first job out of the way and dig my Onion beds over.
Firstly just to rough dig them and then to break the soil down a little to a finer tilth.
So that's both beds done.
Now just to give them a good old blitzing with some disinfectant to kill of any lingering botyrtis spores and let them settle for a few months.
I'm going to re-plant the 3, 8lb+ onions you can see shortly to see if I can get some seed or pips from 'em
I decided to get on with the task of flooding the onion beds today.Hopefully this will flush out as much salt and excess fertilizers as possible which can become a problem under cover as it never gets the rain to do this for you.
All I do is just keep on adding can after can of water onto the whole bed and hope that it flushes away any excess salts etc.
I actually used around 500 litres of water on just one 4 sq yd bed which is around the equivalent of 6" of rain,It takes forever to do relying on water butt water,but it does help the beds.
I decided to replant the 3 biggest onions,all around 8lb and see if I can get any seed from them.
The biggest problem is that as I was stupid enough to leave them in the tunnel all over December when the temperature got down to -15 they seem to have gone soft on me.
Anyway I'll give 'em a try and see what happens.
Well unfortunately I've given up any hope of getting seed from last years onions as they have basically turned to liquid after being frozen solid all winter.
But as you can see with a minimum temp of -17.1c this winter It's hardly surprising.
So I've composted them as there were no shoots emerging nor any rooting taking place.
Anyway,in preparation for planting the onion plants out in early April I decided to fertilize the beds.
This is exactly what I used last year as advised by the guy who I bought my big onion plants from last year and It allowed me to grow my best ever smaller show onions too.
Be warned though, it does seem excessive,copy me at your peril.
After flooding my beds copiously over Winter to remove as much excess fertilizer and salt from last year as possible this is the formula.
To every sq yard of bed add the following and rake in :
3 oz Blood Fish & Bone 3 oz Superphosphate 3 oz Bonemeal 3 oz Sulphate of Potash 3 oz Chicken Pellets 3 oz Seaweed Meal
There you go,I told you It sounds a lot but I did it last year and grew my best Onions ever,so I'm doing it again.
Also I never add any more fertilizer whatsoever after planting the onions,so this is the lot.
I managed to get hold of some Giant Red Onion plants today.
They're a decent size and a good set of roots too.
I'm only going to grow them in 25 litres of compost in pots and see how big I can get one.
I planted one in John Innes no3 and the other 3 in Humax Multipurpose,both with a good handfull of slow release fertilizer pellets mixed in.
I managed a 6lber from a pot last year but I think 4 lb will be a good result this time.
My Kelsae Onion plants arrived today.
What a pile of crap they are !!! If these were sown on Christmas Day then I don't know what they've been doing in the mean time.
Most of them only had 2 leaves,the odd one had 3 and they were only 5" tall.
Last year they were about 9" with 4-5 leaves in early April.
Anyway I'm stuck with them so I planted them out 15" apart each way and hope they get a move on.
All I can say Is Bye Bye Harrogate NVS Show.
Well,what can I say,the big Red Onion plants are really growing well.
I wish now that I'd planted them in bigger pots instead of 30 litres 3/4 full......DOH !!!!
But if they look like monsters then I can sit these pots into bigger ones and the roots will grow through the drainage holes into the new pots,not ideal but it'll do.
Over on the Kelsae front though they seem to have gone backwards ??? 55 planted out and not much growth to speak of.
I need more patience.
Nil Desperandum !
Well finally !! the Onions seem to have perked up a bit after I sprinkled a few pounds of nutrimate around them and really gave them a good watering.
OK I know they're a good 3 weeks behind last year but we'll just have to wait and see.
The giant red onion plants are enormous,getting on for 3 ft tall.
I might just concentrate on a few more of these in future.
Well,over the last week the onions seem to have perked up a bit.
Although they seem about 2 weeks behind last year they may just be catching up.
I've set some metal rings about 18" above the plants in one bed to stop the leaves from flopping and in the main bed I made a string support for the leaves.
As far as the Giant Red Onions are concerned,they are going mad.
3ft tall leaves and starting to bulb up.It's gonna be interesting seeing how they go.
Well,after the slow start I think the Kelsae Onions might be picking up a bit.
Although still a bit behind last year they are now about 2ft tall with 7-8 leaves on.
So hopefully as I have 55 of the damn things growing I should get a few decent sets out of them eventually.
Over on the novelty giant red onion front they are starting to bulb up already and are doing better than I expected they would to be honest.
Well, a week on and plenty of sun and watering I think my Kelsae Onions might just be on the up.
They've got about 7-8 leaves on,are about 2ft 6" tall and are just starting to bulb up a bit.
Anything around the 2-3lb mark and I'll be happy.
It's amazing how things can pick up from a crap start.
The Kelsaes which were pathetic in April are now starting to bulb up and have around 10 leaves on.
I'm giving the bed the equivalent of about an inch of water a week in 2-3 day intervals,so this 4sq m bed is getting about 100 litres a week.
Over on the novelty giant red onion front they are really bulbing up.
I'm just giving them a watering can amongst the 3 twice a week.
No rocket science here,just planted them out in Humax Compost with a hand full of Miracle Grow slow release pellets mixed in and watered.
So far so good,must be a pound or so already.
Just a bit of an update on the old onion front.
The Kelsaes are starting to bulb up now.
Some are around the pound mark.
Not as good as last year but they've still got about 4 weeks to put some more weight on so we'll see.
I'm hoping to enter some into an NVS show for 5 onions between 1 and 1.5 kg so as long as they get to be over approx 2.5 lb that'll do for me.
The novelty big red 'uns are still growing too.
As it's 3 weeks until my 1st show I decided to lift a few to dry them out.
They were just over the 2.25 lb mark so I'm afraid my Harrogate venture will have to wait for another year as they're about a pound lite.
I've still got a good 50 growing at the same weight and I have another bigger show in a months time which I will be entering about 15 into so I'll lift these in the next few days too.
Anyway what I do now is to strip the skin back to the 1st unbroken skin then cut off the roots,wash,dry and then I put mine on an old douvet on their side and turn 90 degrees daily.
The novelty big red onions were pulled today as the tops were toppling over.
The biggest weighed 4lb 2 oz.So I'm happy with that considering it was just a laugh and they were only planted in 20 litres of compost with simply a handfull of slow release fertilizer added.
Well,I decided to dig up all the other onions tonight and strip them back and start the drying process.
I have a few show classes coming up from a pair of onions,3 onions and the Westmorland Onion Championship I won last year with 6 Onions,plus a few top trays etc which need 3 onions.
But I seem to have a few good sets of 3 and a set of about 8 for the Westmorland.
They're all over the 2lb up to about 2.5 lb mark but not quite big enough for the Harrogate class I was hoping to enter.
So It's just a matter of turning them daily and putting a desk fan on them during the day and hoping that they dry to a decent colour.
P.S my house stinks like a pickled onion factory.
The onions are drying out very slowly with the high humidity so the colour's not particularly good but the necks are drying well.
There aren't any monsters but they are a good shape and a good little 'un beats a crap big 'un.
I've done a short video of how I tie the necks of the onions for show,click to play.