Weeding onions and garlic patches is something I tend to put off during the winter months.
When I grow onions or garlic over the winter months, I usually plant the bulbs around October/November and I usually forget about them until the weather starts to pick up in the spring. I then complain about how small my onions and garlic are when it comes to harvesting them. I know the reason why I complain – it’s because I couldn’t be bothered to weed my patches early on in their growth.
I’ve read that onions generally don’t like too much competition from other plants, so keeping the patches relatively weed free should help the bulbs access water, space and nutrients a lot easier. It also helps give the onions and garlic a head start when other weeds do start to grow.
So, a couple of weekends ago now – I said to myself that this year of growing winter onions and garlic is going to be different and that I’m going to make the effort to try and keep everything as weed free as possible.
The temperature was low but the sun was shining, and it wasn’t raining so for the first time in 2018 I got on my hands and knees and meticulously weeded through my onion garlic patches, which hadn’t had any TLC since I planted them. They’re gone through torrential downpours, frosts and dried out by prevailed winds – so I was glad that I could actually get there and carry out the first weed of 2018.
It’s really important to keep your patches weed free, but it’s a job that you either love or hate. I would say that I’m somewhere in the middle when it comes to weeding. I haven’t made up my mind on whether it’s something I enjoy doing or not. Weeding is a job that is really quite boring but needs to be done – but on the other hand you really do get a great sense of gratification and hard work when it’s been done.
It took me around two sessions at the allotment to do both patches, which felt like quite a long time. That said, I’ve paved the way now for the rest of their growing life in the fact that I can probably get away with hoeing in between the plants every so often to minimise future weed growth.
I’m also doubly happy that I weeded the onion and garlic when I did because the Beast from the East is currently covering the UK and other parts of Europe in a blanket of snow. I’m not too worried about snow covering my onion and garlic sets. Snow can act as insulator to hardy plants for hardy onions and garlic. I’d be more worried of thick frosts wiping out the green tops!
Do you enjoy weeding at this time of year? Please do let me know!