Onions and Garlic
Cool temperatures are required in the early stages of growth for onions so I find mid- October is the best time to plant sets but you can get ahead and order them in now. Keep the bulbs in a cool dry place and discard any that are soft or damaged. Plant too early and there’s a risk they’ll bolt in the spring and form fat necks that prevent them growing into decent sizes.
Garlic can be sown mid-October too and does best in an open sunny position in light soil with very low levels of nitrogen. Best to avoid the beds that beans were growing in since their roots have nitrogen forming nodules and avoid the bed that grew tomatoes because of high nitrogen feeds.
This year my onions were medium-sized but a good enough crop to take me up to Christmas. If you have an abundance of onions or garlic then you could follow the instructions below and plait them to store.
A crop of Borlotti beans Lingua di Fuoco have turned from a dramatic mottled cream and pink to a crisp papery brown shell and are ready to make into a favourite River Cafe recipe ‘Fresh borlotti with rocket’.
Place 200g podded beans in cold water with 2 crushed garlic cloves and 4 sage leaves. Bring to the boil and cooked until soft about 20 minutes. After draining cover the beans with a French dressing and toss together with a handful of rocket leaves.
A small vase of Japanese anemone the pink hybrid A x hybrida ‘Max Vogel’ and the white A ‘Honorine Jobert’. Both are good late summer plants happy at the back of borders where they may need support to keep them upright.