Tag Archives: Planting

Now I know why they’re called spring onions


Scallions, otherwise known as spring onions were a tricky item in my veg growing schedule for a long time. I could never get them to grow. No matter what I tried or when I sowed, I either got nothing or I got little stragglers that faded away never to get past about an inch high.

Here’s my simple how-to guide.

I very nearly wrote them off but then my mother-in-law, Tina, showed me her ‘spring onion production line’ in her greenhouse. She had a big pot full of them and effortlessly sprinkled some new seeds in a fresh pot right in front of my eyes before uttering the words, “see, it’s easy”.


Not wanting to let ‘mother-in-law’ down, I tried again. This time it worked! I sowed the seeds straight into big pots and all last summer I had a production line going and I felt like I could carry on growing them all year round. I sowed my last batch around the end of September and then nothing happened. The little seedlings didn’t appear and I thought my luck had run out. So I cast the pots aside and made room in the greenhouse for my tender plants and bulbs that would live in there over the winter.

Then about 3 weeks ago I saw them. The most beautiful spring onions ever! They had grown over winter, outside in the freezing cold! I couldn’t believe it. They had over-wintered! What an amazing revelation! An accidental surprise, or to my mother-in-law, a perfect example of my veg growing ability ;)


Anyway, this is no miracle, this is what is supposed to happen when you sow spring onions at the end of summer. I’m over the moon though because it gets me even nearer to the challenge I set myself recently to source more local food and to have more of my own crops available all year round. If I can pull this off again it means I can have spring onions ‘in stock’ March to October.


So there it is, the easiest over-wintering I’ve ever done and this year I’ll be sowing more. Amazing how a couple of pots of spring onions have changed my whole outlook on growing veg over the winter!

Are you eating an over-wintered crop now? Have you got any spring onion tips?


Spring is nearly here – what’s growing on?


I’m so happy that spring is round the corner but in terms of it ‘feeling like spring’ I’m as confused as the weather! It’s snowing one minute and mild and sunny the next. Very random! On the milder days it’s been great getting outside into the garden. Adam’s been tidying the greenhouse and I’ve been doing the weeding and having a general potter around. The weeds have really started growing now and I enjoy trying to get rid of them as soon as possible.

weeds-3What is this plant? Is it a weed?

My soil is lovely and I wonder if the minimal digging we did in the autumn combined with a bit of mulching has helped it achieve a soft and crumbly texture. I really can’t remember what it was like this time last year – warmer and drier I think so I’m not going to be able to pin point exactly why my soil texture feels great but it’s very easy to spruce up and keep neat, which is good in my books!


A few weeks back I planted out my broad beans. I started them off indoors and then popped them into the greenhouse in big tubs until I felt the weather was a bit more stable. I’ve covered them with a net-box and sprinkled coffee grounds around them. One of my favourite local Cafes – The Cheerful Chili gives them away and they claim it works! So far, so good.


Inside the greenhouse I have pots and pots of tulips. When they come into flower I’ll take them outside and most of them will go by my front door. I also have my ornamental kale which has bolted a bit. I’ve never grown this plant before so I’ve got no idea what I’m doing with it to be honest!



Inside the house things are also growing and I’m starting to sow all my seeds for March.

My lettuces are still tiny but looking really healthy and I expect to be potting it on very soon and starting my next batch.


A couple of weeks ago I sowed my chilies in expandable coir pellets. I bought a kit with the propagator included for around £4.95, which is quite expensive compared to a big bag of seed sowing compost. I’ve never used these pellets before but they seem to be really popular. My chilies are still germinating (they take ages) so I have no real view yet on how good these modules are. They are extremely quick, easy and clean to use though, which is a bonus. I just hope the seeds grow well, I’m hoping they’ll pop through any day now.


My mammoth leeks are potted on and still look like little stalks. I’ve never grown this large variety before so I’m just keeping them in the light, well watered and I’m hoping for the best!


My irises have been lovely this year but some are already on their way out, which is quite sad. I have another variety to come up next and I can’t wait for my daffodils and tulips to flower. The lavender is looking very healthy and once spring is established I’ll be looking forward to that taking hold.

I spent the day at Harlow Carr on a photography course today. I discovered that I’ve pretty much been doing everything wrong! I’m looking forward to downloading the photos I took and I’ll post any good ones. I’m really looking forward to getting out in the garden tomorrow.

Have you started sowing anything yet? What have you been doing in your gardens and allotments?


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