Monday, April 24, 2017

spring garlic and onion sets

                          Introducing Spring Garlic and Onion Sets....
                                              A.K.A Allium Family
      Yes Gardeners, you will soon see these bulbs in stock if you haven't already. The Veseys sets of both onions and garlic have arrived and hopefully soon we will be able to get the ground ready to plant them.
     Other than both these vegetables forming a bulb they also have the equal amount of great flavour in common.  Garlic and Onions are used in so many dishes such as soups, salads, sandwiches and stirfrys to name a few. These flavour enhancers provide lots of health benefits too.  If you go back in history, you would read of how they were used for medicinal purposes before conventional medicine was discovered. Don't let their strong aromas deter you from consuming them as long as its not before a first date!

     Spring Garlic should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked.  This is so that bulbs can set out roots early to enable a successful harvest at the right time. Practicing crop rotation is especially important when growing garlic.  This will reduce any soilborne issues that could affect your bulbs.
     As you will see, each bulb consists of several cloves. These cloves are what forms the bulb all enclosed with an outer layer known as a tunic. These layers of skin protect the bulbs as they are growing. Break through the tunic layer and divide all the cloves.  These cloves are not to be consumed until they have been planted and allowed to grow a new bulb.  This same rule applies for fall garlic as well. 

     When breaking individual cloves apart from the bulb take care in making sure all cloves base remains attached. Plant the flat root end down, 3" apart, 2" deep with 12-18" row spacing. Garlic grows best in a sunny spot with a soil pH of 6.0-6.5. Prior to planting, apply some natural compost as this is the best type of fertilizer for garlic whether its spring or fall. If possible, work the compost in at least a few days to enable a build up of organic matter which makes for ideal growing conditions. Due to its tall and upright growth habit of garlic, weed competition can be a challenge.  After planting,it is beneficial to mulch between the rows, this will also help preserve moisture. Once mid season arrives, plants will benefit from a side dressing of nitrogen such as compost tea, bloodmeal or manure.
      Harvest in late summer or when 75% of the leaves have turned brown. It is recommended to lift bulbs during dry weather and cure for 10-14 days in a warm, dark and dry area. After curing clean roots, cut off dead foliage and then store them in a dry cool place for 6-8 months.

     Growing onion sets is generally the same procedure as growing spring garlic. They come in a variety of types of red, yellow and white. To plant onion sets, simply press sets into the soil about 2" apart. Fertilizer applications of compost prior to planting can also be made similar to what you would apply when growing garlic.  You don't need to mulch onions but they will benefit from water if necessary where seasons are hot and dry.  

     When onion tops begin to topple over, turn brown and wither or as we refer to them as "striking" it is time to harvest.  Tip the bulbs over to shake off some soil as this will help them dry quicker.  Pull onions up on a dry day and place in a warm, dry location out of direct sun for up to 3 weeks.  After this curing process store in a cool, dry location, the drier the better they will store.

     Onions make a great companion plant next to carrots.  The aroma from the onions deter the carrot fly that does damage to the carrot roots as they are forming. You can check out our Veseys website for more detailed growing instructions of both garlic and onions .The benefits these two veggies provide are endless!  Enjoy, experiment and have fun!

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