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  1. #1
    Beyoyock's Avatar
    Beyoyock is offline Germinator
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    Default Two quick questions

    Hello, I'm hoping someone will be able to give me some advice. This is our first year of having an allotment and we are learning a lot of stuff as we go along.

    My first question is about our onions. They are pickling onions that we grew from seed. The onions have more-or-less grown out of the soil now, but I'm not sure if this means they are ready. I heard somewhere that I have to wait until the leaves fall over? And then do I have to dry them out and how?

    Also, our pumpkins seem to be doing quite well, with lots of fruit growing. They are about the size of a galia melon. I read on another thread that I should pinch the growing tops out so the energy goes into making the fruit. Unfortunately I don't know which bit this is or how to do it. They have quite long side shoots coming out of some of them which don't seem to be doing much. Also, they have really spirally threads growing from the stems - what are these - can I break them off because they keep winding themselves around weeds etc? Are they vital to the plant? Some of the fruit have scratches on them, which I am asuming is from the spiky stems of the fruit. Does this matter? Finally, do I need to put straw around the plants to stop the fruit rotting?

    I'm really sorry, that was far more than two questions!! Any help would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Lesley Jay is offline Early Fruiter
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    The growing tip on the pumpkin plant is at the end of the main stem. It usually has a cluster of new leaves ready to burst out at the end. Pinch out about 3 inches and that will stop it growing any longer. The spirally bits are to help the plant cling on if it was to climb. You can take these off if you need to. As for scratches on the fruit. They should be okay but any with deep scratches will not store.
    [

  3. #3
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    Onions are ready to lift when the tops fall over, but exactly how many will drop depends on where you live. If you want to be precise:

    Cool, humid areas - wait until almost all the tops fall
    Cool, dry areas - lift when about half have fallen
    Warm areas - harvest when a quarter to a third have dropped

    I think this has something to do with the moisture content in the stems (and so how long they will store) but I don't know any more than that. Any onionologists out there?

    Dry them outdoors in the sun for at least a week (so try and predict a sunny spell before you dig 'em up). If it rains, bring them into a greenhouse or shed. Get them out again when you can - they like a bit of air around them.

    All that said, I pull mine up early if I want to cook one, so long as they're big enough!

  4. #4
    Beyoyock's Avatar
    Beyoyock is offline Germinator
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    Default

    Thank you both for your quick replies!

  5. #5
    JennieAtkinson's Avatar
    JennieAtkinson is offline Early Fruiter
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    I always plant a few onions at the end of the row and we eat them before they are really ready. Nice though!

    I like the dry in the sun for a week! Oh that would be wonderful!

  6. #6
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    Oh the joy of living in Essex, driest county in England, so I'm told. Has had it's down side lately, it must be said.

    You probably have better views than us though Jennie - I can see Jewson's timber yard from here.

  7. #7
    JennieAtkinson's Avatar
    JennieAtkinson is offline Early Fruiter
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    Actually I am originally from Colchester - born and educated there and left when I got married and came here shortly after.

  8. #8
    nick the grief's Avatar
    nick the grief is offline Gardening Guru
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    Good move Jennie! Is it true what they say about essex girls
    ntg
    Never be afraid to try something new.
    Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
    A large group of professionals built the Titanic


    ==================================================

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