Fingering onions

We’ve had a great haul from the plot this week, and the Grow and Tell workshoppers got to take home some broad beans, peas and overwintered onions. One of the things we looked at this week was a bit of folklore that actually works. It’s about fingering your onins.

Obscene as that sounds, it’s a really good idea. Onions shouldn’t be planted too deeply as they don’t expand and are more prone to white rot. There’s also a weird relationship between loosening the roots and the size of the onions you get to harvest – having experimented with this over a couple of years, we’ve discovered that if you finger overwintered onions about ten days before you harvest them, they get to be up to a third larger in that short period of time.

So how do you finger an onion? Well, if you have sandy soil you can use your hands, but if your soil is heavy, like ours, a dibber or two pronged weeder is a better idea. Working close to the roots, but not actually in them, you loosen the soil by wiggling your implement to and fro about half an inch to an inch into the soil. It’s really difficult to see the difference, although the weight usually makes clear the good effect of fingering, but the two pictures show the expansion in girth of our bed of red onions which were fingered on 13 June, and then photographed again on 24 June.

And thanks to everybody who shared their wood wasp expertise - it's nice to know that the scary monster is neither scary nor a monster!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, June 25, 2012


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