Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Do birds eat onions, if so which variety?

Hello out there in the land of the blog I hope you are all well and warm – it been an unsettling few days here in the isles, very low temperatures (although nowhere near as low as some of you) – I am not sure if it’s made it above freezing very much and our snow just keeps on coming. We have a number of extra mouths to feed at the moment - mainly of the beaked variety and I've been watching the bird table alot whilst working from home! Two delighted younglings (children) are off school, although the elder not pleased that the school had texted his H-maths work for the day via my phone – there’s a good use of technology for you! Oh, how I chuckled!
Air drying - more eco/purse friendly
Laundry as ever festooned all over the house (we don’t own a tumble drier – never have) and drying as and when it can be indoors or out – we’ve a pully in one room and a stand up hanger and also various warm places we put some laundry – whilst I keep reminding the children that this kind of air drying is more eco/frugal friendly – it also means that bringing it all down, all at once on the same day doesn’t really work. More training required me thinks, not sure if it’s me or them that require the training but I’m an equal opportunities parent – happy if we both could do with a tweak and retraining.

The garden is a white out – dog and chickens taken the best of the weather by hiding somewhere warm instead of looking for cake crumbs in the snow........ As it's so snowly out there I've also got no chance of doing anything at all, so I’ve moved all of my seeds into the one place and I think maybe I need a bit of a seed spring clean. As I opened the various boxes and bags to put them into my new seed keeper I appear to be feeding the whole of the island next year. Now, if I planted and grew EVEYTHING in the seed box I think I’d need a very, very very big space out there – the new raised bed isn’t going to be big enough. I know I have a bit of an obsessive nature when it comes to plants but the onions are really getting out of hand.................even by my standards.

Only a few of the onion seed packets.........lets not start on how many 'sets' and wee bulbs I've got my evil mitts on too...
I need to make a proper list and get on with learning to stop buying seeds before I’ve had a good look at the list. I’ve bought seeds whenever I see them, over the year, when we’re on holiday in France I’ve bought alot then too, European seeds seed to be so much more generous and also finding things when you are away on your travels (be it in person or on the internet) gives the chance to try things I’ve never seen before. Bit like these new varieties I had researched for the veggie class, a type of onion which bunches in the soil, they are curiously called - potato onions - I'm excited about these.............an onion with a habit like a potato................hmmm? Very odd, anyway I got a hold of a few bulbs to try next year.
Potato onion Allium cepa, var. aggregatum
I also need to start working out what I can use and either sell on some seed, swap it for interesting things from other people (anyone interesting in doing a bit of swapping please do get in touch maybe we can both try a new variety?) or I’ll have to plant the whole lot and sell the plants if I can. For example when even just thinking about one of the major vegetable plant families - Alliums (onion) family - I have as seeds or set of over 20 types of onions................deep breath, here goes:

Red onion (Electric),

Normal onion (stuttgarter),

Potato onion (new type I’ve not tried from Black Isle Herb Nursery excited about that I found out about it when teaching about onion family at work)

2 types of shallots (home grown, Jorrun),

Elephant garlic, normal garlic (local home grown),

Garlic chives (shop and home grown),

Chives (shop and home grown),

Tree onion (home grown),

Spring onion (white Lisbon, Deep purple),

Salad /pickling onion (Paris silverskin and I think a French version of the same ‘Hatif de Paris’,

Leeks (Oarsman, Delmas, Musselburgh),

Golden onion seed (Wellington, Ailsa craig, Paille des Vertus),

And, shallot seed (Ambition)

Phew. Now I love onions – and they are a great family staple – however, even I think that perhaps I need to stop buying seed/sets for next year. A bit of perspective is always needed when it comes to a gardener and her seeds. Therefore I propose to stop buying anything oniony to grow for a next year (oh what a rash statement) if anyone wants a bit of a swap for anything I have please get in touch or leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do. Otherwise I'll have to grow the lot and feed them to the starlings next year and see which ones they prefer!!! (only joking!)

Of course this means I’ll have to start to review the seeds of the other vegetable families I’m thinking of growing too – watch out for that! Can't decide if I'm happy or worried about that I've noticed right now that I've 5 different courgette packets, never mind the squashes..............to a non gardener this is maybe a bit obsessive - but to a gardener looking for a bit of variety its essential to grow a few different types - isn't it?


  1. Good grief Fay! I thought I was bad at buying seed, but that is quite a collection! Although come to think of it I counted over 15 different varieties of carrot seed in my collection when I did my clear-out, all bought when there was a half price sale and I thought we were staying on Anglesey for another year... I wish I had more growing space, I'd happily seed or plant swap with you, but as it is I will have trouble planting a fraction of what I have in tidy boxes behind me. Though if it is any comfort, I will almost certainly find myself buying yet more if I find a bargain and fancy the variety of tomato/chilli/bean...

    PS We festoon the spare room with airers to dry our clothes, and they tend to remain there long after they are dry, until we suddenly need something...

  2. I know its a terrible affliction :)if you spot anything you'd like a few of let me know. :) The point of blogging it was to make me think hard!!!

    I've a fair few carrots as well!! Rainbow, purple, yellow, short, round, fat, long, candle - I see your point!!!

    Yeah we have a similar system with the laundry.

  3. PS I'm going to be cheeky now. How about adding a "subscribe by email" link for your blog? I keep missing your posts because I don't check my google reader page often enough when I get busy, but I always check my email... And I bet I'm not alone in that... Check out these instructions

  4. Hi! And many thanks for stopping by - your blog is pretty spectacular!! I know someone who moved to Orkney. Do you know Tim Wootton? I think he is an artist up there now.

  5. Hi there Diane - lovely to see you!

    Janet I'm on the case with the email subscription - not managed it yet though......

  6. Hi Fay, if you think I might be able to help at all - I use feedburner myself - let me know and I'll give it a go...

  7. Diane - I have been into Tims gallery - wonderful artist!

    Janet I'll give it another go then probably ask for help!! (The flour is wrapped)

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