Onion Sets in Module Trays

onion sets planted early

I usually plant my onion sets straight into the ground in spring, covering with a mesh frame to keep the birds off until they’ve sprouted and developed a good root system to anchor them in. I harvest a decent crop but I do get a number of smallish bulbs despite my soil being well nourished.

onions drying

Red onions drying

Today I planted half my onion sets in module trays filled with compost (‘Red Baron’ and ‘Stuttgarter Giant’), growing them on in my unheated greenhouse. The other half will be planted out into the ground, in the usual way. The idea is to give half the sets a bit of a head start, an experiment really.

onion sets planted in module trays

onion sets in module trays

I’m curious to see if this makes any difference to the overall size of bulbs come harvest time, compared to the sets planted straight into the ground a month or so later.

onions

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Our Very Own Orchard

apple tree

Chilly evenings and dewy mornings, my favourite time of year is fast approaching. The mature fruit trees in our garden were planted many years ago in rows, giving the appearance of an orchard. We’ve always wanted our very own orchard and that’s how we refer to our wonderful old trees.

Bramley apples
Bramley apples

Victoria plum tree

Dripping with fruit in shades of green, purple, red and yellow, the garden has never looked so colourful since moving here late January. Greengage and early plums are finishing now, tipsy wasps litter the lawn, feasting on fallen fermented plums alongside occasional Red Admiral butterflies.

fallen apples

Early plums
Early plums
One of the pear trees
Wasps gorging on fruit
Wasps gorging on fruit

The garden is very wide and therefore open in most places, fruit trees are a great way to provide cover to free-ranging chickens from aerial predators. We have a few more fruit trees to plant this autumn; Scrumptious apple will replace a small ornamental cherry that isn’t doing very well, Cox’s Orange Pippin and a Bramley apple. It’s almost time to release them from their temporary containers where they’ve lived happily since moving here.

Apple tree, possibly a Cox?
Apple tree, possibly a Cox?
Another apple, not sure of this one
Another pear tree
Another pear tree
Bramley apple tree
Bramley apple tree
Again, not sure of this variety of apple

I’m jam making again with gorgeous Victoria plums, it’s unbelievable the amount of fruit the Victoria tree has produced.

Victoria Plum
Victoria plums
Our lovely Victoria plum tree

A pretty Comma butterfly seemed to watch me from one of the pear trees, it stayed quite still while I snapped away with the camera.

comma butterfly on a pear tree

underside of a comma butterfly

There are two pear varieties and three apple varieties in the orchard that we need help with identifying, along with an early plum (mid July fruiting). If you recognise a variety from the photos please do leave a comment.