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Spring onions or as sometimes people call them "salad onions,' which I cannot see why, have been grown here for centuries. The first recorded commercial growing began in the last years of the 1700s.
I think the British peoples love for them came from our wild garlic and Leeks, which are a passion in some parts of Britain, these of course being the same family.
Plus when onions were sown from seed, they were thinned out, the thinnings were then used as spring onions, in cooking!
We sow our spring onions between March and July, depending on the weather in the earlier part of the year. I always plant some on Good Friday at Easter along with the potatoes!
This is a gardeners tale, but seems to work. I never grow spring onions from sets, as I find it expensive and wasteful.
You always know when to harvest spring onions as the bulbs are 1\2 to 1 inch across, and are ready from June to October. However if you sow at 2 week intervals, you stagger the crop.
They can be sown, as I do at the beginning of August and just into September, this will give another crop in March to May.
Also if you have a bit of space plant some carrots and French marigolds, plus some leeks! This symbiotic companion planting, deters carrot fly, onion fly and many other pests.
The odours given of by each plant are said to mix and confuse the dreaded flies!
Spring onions are often used with fish, and then sprinkled with some fresh Chervil. They are used in two Irish potato dishes called colcannon and scamp, which are truly delicious.
You cannot usually find a Ham dish without some mention of them either.
There are two varieties I use; White Lisbon and Ishikura, both are good, although Ishikura does not have a bulb, they are pencil shaped, therefore are ideal in oriental cooking!
As for Asparagus, our season is very short and our Asparagus world renowned. There are only two things you put with Asparagus and that is; more Asparagus and some butter!
This is only based on our weather in the south of England, so may be a lot different to yours.
Regards for England.
Neil, I think Marigolds keep away alot of different pests, don't they?...Aren't Spring onions called 'Salad onions' because they are so tender and mild?---they have a nice flavor without any cooking, just right for salads! ...You know, Asparagus is currently now a big leader in the 'health news', with supposedly lots of healthy benefits---people either love it or detest it; I've always liked it, if it is cooked right.
Thanks for adding to the article. Its always nice to have more cultural experience than what I've read. Good Friday planting would concur with the lunar planting theory somewhat? Many here say St Patricks Day March 15th.
Marigolds are also 'supposed' to keep bunnies away.
I have tried Asparagus too. When it's not thriving, I at least snap a few stalks and eat them right in the garden. I am plagued by spotted asparagus beetles.
Dear Connie, yes both French and African marigolds do keep away pests, and I would rather lose a few marigolds to a pest than some vegetables. marigolds are dead east to grow and a seeds they cost next to nothing. If you save the seeds from last years ones they cost even less, like nothing!
I find it strange that people do not plant Herbs near or with their vegetables,I know some people do, but we like Herbs insectspests apart from bees do not.
For Herbs have a volatile oil, that is nice to us, but is a warning in most cases for pests to stay well away. Pyrethrum is a wonderful plant and is available in a Golden form, it is easy to grow and quoting from Wikipedia they say this: Because of the natural insecticidal properties of the pyrethrums, they are used as companion plants, to repel pest insects from nearby crops. One might, for instance, plant them among broccoli plants in order to protect them from any of several insect pests. They are thought to repel aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, harlequin bugs, ticks, pickleworms and imported cabbage worms, among others that are in gardening (end of quote).
The actual natural chemical is used in everything from fly sprays to organic gardening, I plant them everywhere, the golden variety also looks nice as well.
As you know the organic movement which started in the 70s shocked the supermarketsstores, now they do not tell us what we must eat, we tell them, if you go to such horrible places!
If you like any of the cabbage family (Cruciferae), we simply plant some Nasturtiums a small distance from them, as the dreaded cabbage white Burrefly prefers them as they are soft to hard cabbages and other members of the family!
Asparagus is very healthy for you; but in this country we tend to eat seasonal vegetables, and if it is flown in from some obscure place by air, we do not want to know!
For the things i do not grow as I have limited space and have to buy, if it does not come within 30 miles of my house I don't want it, and this includes meat as well.
Any restaurant that cannot state where their food comes from, would go out of buisness, overnight!
Dear sallyg, asparagus beetles in a small area can be controlled thus: In small patches handpicking can control asparagus beetles. A method for larval control in small gardens is to brush the plants with a broom. This has the effect of knocking the larvae to the ground. The larvae have difficulty reclaiming the plant and will often expire on the ground.
Also when you cut them cut them below the ground, this prevents any eggs that are still attched from becoming active, as they cannot live below ground.
Spotted asparagus beetles attach their eggs to the side of the stem, where asparagus beetles tend to live on the ferns more.
I find my 12 bore keeps bunnies under control as they are a pest here, and they also taste nice, plus for your information St. Patrick's Day is on the 17th of March, which is two days after the full moon!
Just thought I would let you know.
Keep the bugs at bay.
They do prefer an organic, and stone free soil. just like carrots do, I suppose it depends on your weather, and the rain. For onions do not like to be over watered, especially at an early stage.
I have found that out to my cost, for they are a lot harder than you may think! Of course they must be watered but not tons of it.
As I get Horse manure free from the local stables in the autumn\ fall, I put lots of that on, and crop rotate them as well, as I find that to be important.
Neil---Thanks for the info. Around here, there aren't alot of food places to shop, except for the 'supermarket'. There is a health food store, Sun Harvest, but it isn't All healthy, as you would assume; we started to get some fish one day, and we asked if it was from our bay, and they told us it was shipped from overseas, like from Taiwan or somewhere!...we said, 'Never mind!!' Ha~ We do have fish markets with local fish and shrimp, but Expensive...
Dear Connie, that sounds very sad, that you cannot get what you want at a good quality and price. We are lucky as we have lots of farmers markets, farm shops, Asian market and if we want fish in most places in the UK the coast is never far away. So you can get fish fresh from the coast at a reasonable price. Plus we also have plenty of trout and salmon, in fact salmon is a quarter the price of cod!
We also have an old law that is still used, in that it is the duty of every local Council to provide Allotments for people, usually people without gardens of their own. These are blocks of land, split into patches (quite big), of lots of areas, that people rent out very cheaply so they can grow fresh vegetables. They are normally run by a society and cost about £1.00 or $1.60 per month, some are cheaper. They all have water and most have secure sheds to keep your tools in. As you can imagine they are very popular, for not only do you get a piece of land, to grow your own vegetables, fruit etc, on, but there is a lot of very experienced gardeners that help beginners out and swap seeds and plants. Most are prganic and are very strict about no chemicals. They also let you grow flowers for home use as well. The only real rule is you are not allowed to sell your produce. You can give it to friends or family swap it for another vegetable you want, use it yourself of course, but if you get caught selling it, then you are in trouble! The Council fences the whole area, and you get your own key to get in.
I know people will say they don't get time to do this, but as a lot of elderly people have allotments, they spend all day down there. Once they know you, they will gladly water in the week for you, and keep an eye on things. My sister in law has a nice big one, as a district nurse she is very busy, and would not get the time in the week. So the elderly person in the next allotment looks after hers for her, and she takes my nieces and nephew over on a weekend, to weed and harvest things etc.
So it is a great way of teaching children about vegetables, and strangely enough if they grow them, they eat them! Plus it is the first time my sister in law has ever had a garden of any sort, so it is gret for her as well.
Connie I grow my own Asparagus just outside the kitchen door. There is nothing like getting a pan of boiling water ready, then cutting your Asparagus and putting it staright in the water, after you have washed it of course. The taste is incredible, and spring onions etc.