Raised Beds and Overwintering Onions

Person Author: Helene Coleman Calender November 17, 2012 Posted Tags: , , , Comment No Comments

Today we finally filled the raised bed we put in a few weeks ago. After a fairly unsuccessful few months earlier in the year, where everything was eaten by slugs, wood pigeons or rabbits, we thought we’d just put in some raised beds and buy some custom built protective netting. We filled the beds with a mixture of our own soil from the plot (a sandy loam) and compost from the allotment communal heap. I have to say, we’re pretty pleased with how everything is growing so far (even though its late autumn and not much is really growing much at the moment!). It feels like being able to manage a contained space in the raised beds makes growing a lot easier!

We also tested our topsoil, as we’d seen in some of the gardening books that it was quite a useful thing to do. We tested our soil using the OPAL Soil and Earthworm Survey (which is available on the OPAL website). Using the pack, we found that our soil was pH 5.5 and a sandy loam. We’re not completely sure what this means and what we need to improve our soil, other than adding lots of organic matter so if anyone has any tips then it would be appreciated!

After filling the raised bed, we planted out a number of onion plugs that we had bought recently. We do usually prefer if possible, to grow everything from seed, but this time we were a) late in getting round to sowing over-wintering onions and b) wanted good results so we opted for some plugs. We bought some ‘Toughball’ and some ‘Japanese Bunching Onions’. Even though we bought them as plugs they looked so fragile when we were putting them in, we fear for their long-term health! This is one of our biggest new-to-gardening-anxieties, we just don’t know if a spindly looking green shoot is going to survive the winter and grow into something worthwhile! All the books, websites and blogs we read say now is the time of year to put them out, but there’s hardly anything to them! We’ll just have to wait and see what happens!


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