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Onions - The Essential Ingredient In Any Garden

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Onions - The Essential Ingredient In Any Garden

Onions are a staple ingredient in my kitchen. My bean spectacular – as I like to call it, butotherwise known as Chilli Con Carne – lacks flavour and fullness without them. Can you tell I’ve been watching the cooking channel lately?

I know I’m not the only wannabe masterchef who needs an ever-ready stockin the pantry, so this month I’m going to teach you how to grow your own onions.

I’m a big fan of Awapuni Nurseries’ Pukekohe Longkeeper Onions. They’re the white fleshed onion with brown skin – famously developed in Pukekohe in the North Island. They’re easy to plant, extremely low maintenance, and great tasting.

So get down to your local supermarket, The Warehouse, or Bunnings today and grab a Traditional Value bundle of Pukekohe Longkeeper Onions. Alternatively, head online to www.awapuni.co.nz and get them delivered right to your door.

What’s a Traditional Value bundle I hear you ask? Traditional Value seedlings are grown with strong individual root systems. They’re perfect for the budget-conscious gardener because the seedlings are wrapped in recycled newspaper, so the value is in the plants and not the packaging.

So you’ve got your seedlings, next step is working out where to plant them. I like to plant my onions at the back of the garden where I can leave them with little to no attention required. Just as long as the soil is friable (goes crumbly when you touch it), you can plant them where you like.

Just dig the soil over, and add a little fertliser.

Make rows 20cm apart from each other. Then plant the onions 10cm apart from each other within the rows.

Onions take quite a long time to mature – about 20 to 24 weeks from planting seedlings (plant them around June). But it’s pretty easy to tell when they’re ready as they come right out of the ground. If they start to look a little bit horrible it means they're about to go to seed. Simply tie the top of the onion in a knot. This will stop them growing further and going to seed.

One thing to watch out for is aphids. Coming into winter you shouldn’t have any problems, but if you do spot the little pests – try this organic recipe. Grate the rind off two lemons. Bring one litre of water to the boil. Add the rind to the water and remove pan from the heat. Cover and let stand for 24 hours. Then strain into a clean spray container and apply to your onions.

Then it won’t be long and you’ll be wowing your family and friends with the ‘flavour and fullness’ of home-grown onions!

Tod Palenski
Awapuni Nurseries
www.awapuni.co.nz 

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