Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bumper sprouts!

This year it has been really good for the cabbage family and the frost has come but has not been persistent and this is another batch which I picked and froze. I have been picking off the old yellowing leaves very regularly this year which helps to keep air circulating and also takes away the rotting leaves so that the mould does not spread into the sprouts themselves. They have been strong plants all year with no caterpillar damage. In fact I only did a caterpillar pick one time and I found so few I did not bother again!! I know that many people had all sorts of trouble this year. I am not sure why we got away with it. Perhaps they were just really strong plants growing in really good soil with plenty of birds around to eat the caterpillars ..? I also planted some wheat next to them which the birds stripped. I am wondering if this also encouraged the birds in to eat the caterpillars. I will do the same next year and see what happens. Perhaps I will even do a control patch without wheat....if I remember!

The onion crop was a bit disappointing. It did not help that they were really swamped by weeds early on, but the picture above shows that we did get some! I grow my onions from seed as onion sets (immature bulbs) are just too expensive. The ones at the top of the picture are an old variety from Norway which did really well. I am going to save them all and plant them out for seed for future use. I also planted these a little later in the seed trays in the spring and then we had a very late spring so they were in the trays for less time than the others which I am sure helped them also.
The picture below shows the other end of the drying rack and you can see they are much smaller (I have been using them so I  have taken quite a few of the bigger ones!) Any really small ones I can plant as sets next year. They are not as reliable as the sets you buy from the shops as these have been heat treated to stop them bolting (going to seed) but this is quite a tricky process to do at home. I will persevere with the seeds. It is tricky to grow onions from seeds, I am determined to master it!!!!

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