My raised beds are made with concrete blocks, which gives me extra planting holes around the edges.
Over time, I have learnt two* lessons with these planting holes – firstly, that they’re not good for perennials because the compost volume decreases and it isn’t easy to fill it up, and so they sink. Secondly, they’re not good for anything which you can’t reach past (either because it’s too tall or because it attracts so many bees you fear being stung).
Welsh onions (Allium fistulosum) are wrong on all counts, so this morning I attempted to dig some of them up and relocate them. It was not easy – grabbing hold of the tops and pulling leaves you with a handful of oniony slime. Persevering leaves you with a handful of stalks. Digging the bulbs themselves up from the narrow holes was … time consuming.
I managed to salvage some to eat as spring onions, and others to plant out in a pot (although they were very manhandled so they may decide they don’t want to – there are other plants still in the raised beds if not).
This gave me four empty holes into which I added more compost and replanted 4 chard (bright lights) plants which had overwintered in a window box. Chard is not supposed to resent transplanting, but it has to be said that the best plants I ever had were direct sown into these planting holes and the roots when I pulled them out were huge. Chard plants are tall, and I’ve planted 4 together so I may have caused myself a problem reaching past them, but if they get in the way I can chop them down and feed the leaves to the chickens, which is the point anyway.
There was one plant left over, so I gave it to the chickens, wedging the roots in the door to the run so they had something to peck against and didn’t simply trample on it.
Bright lights chard is the one which grows in several colours (red, pink, yellow and white) and is often recommended for growing in flower borders. I read a comment somewhere that the yellow plants are never as vigorous, and from my experience that’s true. If you want good colour then you may be better simply going for ruby chard. That being said, it’s great to watch the seedlings growing as they come into their colours very early. And when I was digging them up this morning I noticed that the colour extends right down into the roots. Isn’t nature fun? :o)
*Actually it’s three lessons – I’ve already discussed the problem with things which are way too vigorous.