Four Things You Will Learn About Onions

The onions are safely stored for later in the autumn. We can look forward to stews, shepherd’s pies and roast mixed vegetables (not all together) during October until Christmas. Yum, yum.

August 3rd: Growing away grand

Starting back in mid-April, I sowed a bag of sets (approx 100) on the raised vegetable bed nearest the shed. The summer was kind to them and so was I. Being raised helped me greatly to keep them weed-free, and I tended them according to the instructions together with some experience. Watering and feeding were kept up regularly. In fact, the area had been well-fertilised last winter and that helped greatly too.

August 30th: Lifted and ready for drying in glasshouse

I watched and waited patiently towards the latter half of August, and whipped them out at just the right time. I laid them to dry on newspaper (the Examiner) in the glasshouse, and when I checked today it was clear that the stems (are they stems?) had dried sufficiently to direct me to the final step. I plaited them in bunches, tied with string, and hung them in the cool darker section of the shed.

September 13th: Tied and ready to be stored

It has been my first year doing onions for quite a while, perhaps ten years ago. Job done now, and done well. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Variety: Unknown
Planted: April
Lifted: August 30th
Stored: September 13th
Quality: Very good

Now for my personal slant on onions:

Felt the urge (I did, yes) to go looking for some funny onion stuff on the web, followed by some deep onion stuff: Here are four important things to know about onions, together with a picture here and there to keep me entertained:

Finally, to get some balance, here’s two thoughts of a different slant:

  • (2) If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. (Cicero) I took some time to get a picture of that into my head…
Cicero was right
  • (3) Bit by bit, Dr. Driscoll helped me to peel away the layers of protection I had built up over the years. The process was not that unlike the peeling of an onion, which also makes us cry. It has been a painful journey, and I don’t now when it will end, when I can say, “OK, it’s over.” Maybe never. Maybe sooner than I know. I recently told Dr. Driscoll that I feel the beginnings of feeling OK, that this is the right path. ― Charles L. Bailey Jr.In the Shadow of the Cross (At the tender age of ten, Bailey became a victim of continuous sexual abuse by his family’s Roman Catholic priest.) Amazon link
Note for next year:

  • Use bed 1
  • Plant three packets, as opposed  to one this year. I had bought two, but did not have enough room & wasn’t organised to plant the second
  • Have a look around to see if there’s any onion that could be sown in late summer / autumn to be ready for early summer?

Pádraig, 13th September 2016.

Fuchsias

I have a few new fuchsias to add to the collection.

1. Fuchsia Mrs. Popple, (x2) probably one of the most popular. I planted them temporarily on one of the vegetable beds, to be planted in position during the autumn.
Mrs Popple’ is a vigorous upright shrub with small, dark green leaves. Flowers single, with bright red sepals and tube and violet-purple petals, as described on the RHS website. Here’s the link.

2. Fuchsia “Genii”. Again, I planted this temporarily on one of the vegetable beds, to be planted in position during the autumn.

Description on the RHS site: Genii’ is an erect medium-sized deciduous shrub with yellow-green foliage. Flowers single, small, with narrow, up-curved cerise sepals, slender cerise tube and reddish-purple petals. Here’s the link.
I took cuttings from an established Mrs. Popple recently, and will likely repeat in a few weeks, together with “Genii”
Pádraig, 3rd September 2016.

A Little Heavy Rain

It’s been a good summer. Warm and dry, mostly. Today is different, though. We got 15mm of rain overnight, so I’ll not need to be watering for a while. That said, even in the heavy rain, I planted 3 recently purchased fuchsias in a temporary spot before final position later in autumn.
And with that, I returned to the dry shed to potter about, listen to the radio, and write this blog, all the while catching up with messages & texts. Might mention multitasking male, methinks. Multitasking seems best undertaken while seated.

Multitasking male

Pádraig, 3rd September, 2016.

Marigolds

Starting off with one of my favourite photos, from 2007!

marigold pdeb
I love growing marigolds. My mam grew them in our garden, as did many others down the years (but not in our garden). They are easy to grow, and provide long-lasting summer colour, even into late autumn. Below is is an article available on The Flower Expert website.
Marigolds are hardy, annual plants and are great plants for cheering up any garden. Broadly, there are two genuses which are referred to by the common name, Marigolds viz. Tagetes and Celandula. Tagetes includes African Marigolds and French Marigolds. Celandula includes Pot Marigolds.
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tagetes, Calendula
Marigolds come in different colors, yellow and orange being the most common. Most of the marigolds have strong, pungent odor and have great value in cosmetic treatment. There are many varieties of Marigolds available today.Some of the major Marigold varieties are listed below:
  • African or American Marigolds (Tagetes erecta): These marigolds are tall, erect-growing plants up to three feet in height. The flowers are globe-shaped and large. Flowers may measure up to 5 inches across. African Marigolds are very good bedding plants. These flowers are yellow to orange and do not include red colored Marigolds. The Africans take longer to reach flowering stage than the French type.
  • French Marigolds (Tagetes patula): Marigold cultivars in this group grow 5 inches to 18 inches high. Flower colors are red, orange and yellow. Red and orange bicolor patterns are also found. Flowers are smaller (2 inches across). French Marigolds are ideal for edging flowerbeds and in mass plantings. They also do well in containers and window boxes.
  • Signet Marigolds (T. signata ‘pumila’): The signet Marigolds produce compact plants with finely divided, lacy foliage and clusters of small, single flowers. They have yellow to orange colored, edible flowers. The flowers of signet marigolds have a spicy tarragon flavor. The foliage has a pleasant lemon fragrance. Signet Marigolds are excellent plants for edging beds and in window boxes.
  • Mule Marigolds: These marigolds are the sterile hybrids of tall African and dwarf French marigolds, hence known as mule Marigolds. Most triploid cultivars grow from 12 to 18 inches high. Though they have the combined qualities of their parents, their rate of germination is low.

Facts About Marigolds

  • Marigold (Calendula) is an extremely effective herb for the treatment of skin problems and can be used wherever there is inflammation of the skin, whether due to infection or physical damage; for example, crural ulceration, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, mastitis, sebaceous cysts, impetigo or other inflamed cutaneous lesions.
  • As an ointment, Marigold (Calendula) is an excellent cosmetic remedy for repairing minor damage to the skin such as sub dermal broken capillaries or sunburn. The sap from the stem is reputed to remove warts, corns and calluses.
  • In the 12th century Macer wrote that merely looking at the Marigold plant would improve the eyesight and lighten the mood.
  • In South Asia, bright yellow and orange Marigold flowers are used in their thousands and placed in garlands and to decorate religious statues and buildings. They are also used as offerings and decoration at funerals, weddings and other ceremonies.
  • Pigments in Marigolds are sometimes extracted and used as a food coloring for humans and livestock.

Propagating and Growing Marigolds

Marigolds can be propagated by seeds. The plants need about 45 days to flower after seeding. Marigold seeds should be sown 2 cm apart. Cover seeds with 1/4 inch of potting soil. Water sufficiently. Plants will appear within a few days. When true leaves have formed, transplant into individual containers or outdoors.
Marigolds are robust, non-fussy plants that bring a lot of sunshine in your garden. Marigolds can be grown easily.
  • Plant your seeds in half-sunny or sunny locations.
  • The soil must be well-drained, moist and fertile.
  • Add potash fertilizers to prolong the flowering period.
  • Pinch off the first flowers before they open. This will lead to a larger number of flowers.

Care for Marigolds

Marigolds have a pungent odor which keeps insects at bay, but they can be bothered by slugs. Also, tall American and Triploid Marigold varieties need staking to protect them from strong winds and heavy rainfall. Learn more on growing and taking care of Marigolds.
Pádraig, 29th August 2016.