What went wrong with my onions last year?
My colleague was very pleased with herself for getting the timing of her planting exactly right last year because she got a great crop of onions and shallots but not everyone was so lucky with these normally reliable vegetable - me included!
So we asked our onion specialist why some sets struggled badly last year while others thrived.
He says, "It was an unseasonably cold spring last year and sets quite simply failed to get away well due to the cold, the early set crops struggled badly because of the very cold spring and extremely low soil temperatures with some not achieving the desired bulb size at the end of their growing cycle."
Our expert also confirmed that it wasn't just home gardeners that suffered, he added, "Commercial yields were down over 30% because of the cold and really poor emergence and this came off the back of a very poor 2012 season due to the extreme wet!"
My colleagues' onion sets went in late last spring so it looks like that was a godsend!
So if your onions weren't good last year take heart from this advice from our expert, "Onion growers shouldn't despair or think that it was anything they did wrong last year, or that the sets weren't up to standard, it has just been two very unusual and polarized growing seasons - Don't give up! You don't get 3 poor growing years on the bounce!
All we can hope for is a better year for 2014 but with all the wet weather in most parts of the country this winter I won't be holding my breath!