Today I finished digging the last of the alliums. Lately I’ve been working in the garden early in the morning to escape our brutal heat and humidity. It was already 80°F when I got started at 7am this morning, but that’s better than the 98°F it reached this afternoon! First off I dug the remaining 35 garlic plants, which were all silverskin types including Idaho Silver, Nootka Rose and Silver White. I had thought earlier the garlic bulbs were running a bit smaller than last year, but these silverskins actually seemed a bit bigger than last year’s crop. I’ll know for sure when I weigh them up after they are cured, but either way we will surely have plenty of garlic to eat for the next year or so. The plants were falling over much like onions do when they are ready to dig.
The silverskins are good keepers, and I always save them for using last after the other ones are done for. Nootka Rose is one of my favorites, and last year’s crop of it was still usable as of last week. All the newly harvest garlic went to the basement, where I hang them up to dry. It’s the best place we have, and with the dehumidifier running they should be fully cured in three or four weeks. At that point I trim the tops and roots and put them into shallow containers for storage.
I also pulled the shallots from the main garden this morning, and I was pleasantly surprised to see some had done better than I expected. All of the shallots were planted last fall from sets, and all bolted in mid to late spring, so I had low expectations. I planted Dutch Yellow and Conservor, and the Dutch Yellow actually went ahead and made some decent shallots. We typically don’t use a lot of shallots here, but that could change with homegrown ones available. The Dutch Yellow is supposed to be a good keeper, even if it isn’t as mild as some of the other shallots. My plan will be to use the bigger ones and save some of the smaller ones for replanting this fall.
The Conservor shallots didn’t do as well, making mostly small bulbs. The two in the below photo were the biggest of the lot. The sets I got were huge, and that might have contributed to the poor performance. If they keep, I’ll try replanting some of the small ones and see if they do better next year.
I also planted Yellow Potato Onions last fall, and I think they did quite well. They didn’t bolt like the shallots did, and matured and dried down like they are supposed to do. These are a multiplier onion I got from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and their heirloom strain dates back prior to 1790. I didn’t get any of the 4 inch bulbs mentioned in the listing, but I did get lots of nice 2 inch sized ones. I grew these in the kitchen garden area, and I think this fall I will replant them in the main garden area where soil fertility is a little better.
Earlier in the week I pulled all of the remaining onions from the kitchen garden bed. I grew Candy, Super Star and Red Torpedo Tropea this year, with plants from Dixondale Farms. They did better than last year, and while none of them were huge they were nice sized and will be useful in the kitchen. I plan to grow these in the main garden next year also, assuming I can find room for the onions and shallots.
Red Torpedo Tropea usually does well for me here, and is the best red I have grown here in our intermediate day latitude. They are a tasty onion, and I especially like them grilled. None of the onions I grew are storage types, but they should keep for several months and keep us well supplied.
I hope you have enjoyed this update on the 2017 alliums, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!