Tag Archives: Onions

Running out of Space

I’m typically much better in the planning department garden wise. I have a map and a schedule and while I don’t always follow it 100% I am pretty good about getting just about everything in and out if not on schedule pretty close to the plan. This year is totally different. No plan, barely a map and the garden is full well before I am ready to quit planting. Part of the problem was the many rows of garlic I planted last fall. Nobody needs that much garlic but like an addict needing a fix I just kept planting. Fortunately the kale isn’t long for being pulled. I picked one plant clean this weekend and will get to the other three as soon as we can eat what we have.

The leeks are about 5″ tall and went into the ground today. I planted about 30 for us and had barely made a dent in what had come up. I gave the extras to Anita, the owner of Rock Farm.

I accidentally demolished one of the rows of beets I planted last month. Large feet and not paying attention. Today I planted a 2 more rows of the cylindrical beets where the Roquette was. I noticed a few beets survived the winter as tiny seedlings and are sending up some seed pots. They are next to the ow kale and will come out as soon as I can get the kale picked and pulled.

I also scattered some dill in an 18″ circle. Last year I planted the dill with the nigella. Not a great idea as they look too much alike.

It looks like the birds have made off with the bulk of my peas. 3 seedlings have emerged and there are holes where the others should be. I replanted into some 4″ pots that I’ll keep on the deck till they get big enough to be able to fend for themselves.

The kale, chard and zinnias I started under lights were large enough to go into 4″ pots. The basil is suffering. Not sure what the problem is but it isn’t happy. The green onions were a bust too. I picked up some variegated nasturtiums and started 6 pods of them under lights.

Dirty Knees and a New Toy

Today was my first REAL day in the garden. The rain had finally stopped long enough to dry things out enough to get down to business. I planted some “Palco Spinach” next to the overwintered Kale. Some ‘Cut and Come Again Lettuces aka Renee’s Baby Leaf Blend” went in between a couple of rows of garlic. I opted for two types of beans this year. Today I planted a single 5’ row of the long cylindrical beet and two rows of “Red Baron Dutch Beets”. I don’t know what makes them Dutch beets or if that really means anything. I picked these two varieties because they were among the offerings at the local garden shop and their days to maturity were 10 days apart.

On the ‘because one can’t have too many greens’ front I planted a mild mesclun blend. It is in Territorial Seeds ‘Groumet Greens’ group. We shall see. The greens I planted last fall were a bust. Too late I suppose. My goal was to cover them and tend them through the fall. Life had other plans and they were left on their own. Perhaps this year.

The mystery greens I discovered in late Jan are going to town and have been identified. I looked back through my photos and notes to discover that I planted Roquette in that spot in early October. Looks like they are probably going to go to seed. If the arugula that went to seed last year has its way I’ll have enough of that in a while to furnish all of Kitsap County.

2' Grow light In the name of getting the starts I really want when I want them I purchased a small 2′ grow light. Living in a condo I don’t have NEARLY the room I had in my last place. There I had a double 4′ light in the basement where I could start to my heart’s content. Now I have to find a corner (on the office floor) to place a small light that will allow me to start some hard to find (and not so hard to find) goodies for the coming season. I eneded up choosing this unit. I ended up getting two 1′ square flats with the little peat pods rather than a 1’x2′ flat. This way the shorter starts can be lifted a bit to raise them to the same height as the taller ones if need be. My first seeding was a row of each “Litt’l Bites Windowbox Cherry Toms”, “Persian Carpet Butterfly Zinnias”, “Bandit? Bunching Onions”, “Italian Pesto Basil”, “Bright Lights Rainbow Chard” and some more “Russian Red Kale”.

Another Year Begins

Last year I missed the leeks at the garden center so I decided to seed some leeks rather than try to buy some starts. I used one of those plastic salad containers that you get greens in. They have a lid and are about 6″x8″ and about 4-6″ deep. I’ll kept them in front of the sliding glass door where they will get bright but indirect light for the most part until they sprout.

January has been a dark, cold and wet month. Today was my first trip to the garden this year. No real work today, still recovering from surgery in late Dec., this was an ‘OMG I have to get out of the house lets go to the garden’ trip.

The garlic is up about 4-6 inches and looks good considering. I ended up losing all but a couple of the green onions and half of the shallots which was disappointing. The Egyptian Walkers seem to have made it though.

There are 4 or 5 Russian kale plants from last fall that seem to be doing well. We found clubroot not far from where they are planted so how they will do remains to be seen. A couple of the curly leaved variety are laying over and not looking very well. I’ll probably end up removing them during my first real work trip.

I seeded some greens last fall that didn’t end up making a showing but are up now. I’ll have to look back at what they were.

I ended up pulling the overwintered carrots. Very chewed up with root maggot I suppose. I think carrots are one of those ‘more trouble than they are worth’ here. I suppose I could cover them but it never seems to happen.

The horseradish I planted in the sunken clay pot is poking up. Darn, I had hoped to get it dug before it started growing again. I pulled the pot to take it home to deal with later.

All in all it was a great trip. If nothing else a learning experience. It was nice to get in the fresh air and get my hands dirty if only for a little bit.

Garlic Again

My day started up with a meeting at Bay Hay & Feed after church to collect a head of Inchelium I had acquired through a FB garden group. It was a fairly small head but I think this variety does tend to be on the small side. Inchelium is a soft neck local (to WA state) variety that is said to be mild enough to be eaten raw. We shall see about that. It was one I had been looking for to add to the mix this year.

Garlic occupies much time in the garden. It was only a few months ago I was harvesting and here I am planting again. I may regret all of the space I am giving to this one veggie (or is it an herb?) next year but for now I am feeling good about it. I ended up forgetting the head of Music the fellow gardener shared with me. I’ll end up putting that one in early next month. For now I have two short (4-5′) rows each of Turkish Giant (hard neck, beautifully purple striped huge heads), Inchelium (softneck mild a long keeper), Lorz Italian (an artichoke type of hard neck garlic), Silver White (softneck, another long keeper with huge heads). I also planted 9 of the largest potato onions from the recent harvest.

As for greens, I planted a mixed salad greens packet (Gourmet Blend) from Ed Hume, a packet of Roquette and some Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach.

Cleanup

Today saw the bulk of the cleanup for this year. The zucchini and cucumbers came out as did one of the two half rows of carrots and the hybrid kale+whoknowswhat I planted this Spring. That was a disappointment. The leaves were a bit too thick for my taste and the flavor wasn’t great.

I ended up leaving a a few kale as this will be the last year I’ll be able to grow them. I also left the Helda beans as they have slowed dramatically but are still putting out beans. I stopped by the farmer’s market to pickup another head of garlic. Was hoping for Inchelium but found a huge head of Lorz Italian I’ll try this year. The green onions are doing great. I had started another batch about a month ago and those are very small but doing well too. They may end up going under cover later.

During cleanup I found a lone little lettuce seedling with about four leaves. I transplanted him to an empty spot where I had buried some refuse a few weeks back.

I didn’t take a pic of the garden after cleanup as it isn’t quite done. Instead I’ll add a sunrise pic I took on the morning commute.

Lessons Learned: 1. Just because a seed pack says great for containers doesn’t mean it won’t get large. Not sure the size of container they had in mind for those cukes. 2. Planting 3 zucchini plants in a hill for 2 people is too much. Go with 2 next time. 3. Carrots should probably be grown under cover here.

Keeping it Cool

Bag-o-beans

The temps are still pretty warm in the garden. Even riding out every evening to water finds the young beets wilted by the time I get there. The soil just gets to warm and dries out too quickly. Remembering how well the kale branches worked to keep the soil cool for the carrots I planted last month, I headed to the lumber yard. My plan was to go through their scrap bin looking for just the right boards to protect the young beets. At some point this Summer I had tried to start another row of beets. Between the heat and the drought, only a few remain. Today I seeded some Crosby’s Egyptian beets and Scarlet Bandit bunching onions in addition to the Bull’s Blood (great name) Beet starts I picked up at the Bainbridge Gardens. I ended up finding some scrap boards but not enough for what i needed. I purchased and extra 1x4x12 and had it cut in 2′ lengths. I placed a board on either side of the seedlings and crossed my fingers.

Fred - the Volunteer Pumpkin

The Heldas are coming on strong. I ended up roasting some of the last batch, tossing in olive oil and sprinkling some Herb’N All seasoning. They were wonderful but hardly made a dent in what was in the fridge. No room left for this bag of beans so I think I’ll end up sharing these.

Sweet Corn - 2 Phil High

The blueberry patch is next to my garden plot. A volunteer pumpkin took up residence there and has spread to cover quite a large area. Only one large pumpkin is attached to the monstrosity. I’ve named him Fred. Fred is larger than than my foot and shows no sign of slowing down his growth. Hope he doesn’t shade the blueberries.

This isn’t my corn but I did plant it during one of my help sessions. It is a sweet corn whose name I cannot remember. Phil isn’t a short man, I’m guessing at least 6′ tall. This corn is about 2 Phils high.

The spinach I planted last month is going strong. Hoping it doesn’t end up bolting with these temps.
Lessons Learned: Boards and small branches do make a good cover to keep the soil cool and moist during hot and dry times.

Overloaded

Garlic Braid - Silver White Garlic The garlic spent about a week in the garden after harvest. When it looked like it was going to rain I brought it home and laid it out on newspaper on the balcony. We have a rather large overhang and it worked well to keep the bulbs dry, allowing them to finish curing. I ended up with about 7 or 8 bulbs of hardnecked Turkish Giant. I didn’t realize it when I planted these but only the hard necked varieites of garlic have the flower tops. They are great cooked and purred in a milk based soup. A soft garliky flavor not to strong but very hearty.

Onion Harvest

I decided to pull the onions. They didn’t seem to be getting any larger and the leaves were starting to die back just a bit. I started out with 6, a pretty good haul. I’ll save the largest of these to plant this Fall.

On the 20th I planted two types of spinach Oriental Giant Japanese Spinach and Palco Hybrid. It is probably too early to plant fall spinach but, not knowing what the weather will do I decided to give it a shot. If we get an early cool fall it will be great. If the heat continues I’ll have a lot of bolted spinach.

Spider vs Bee

Last year and this year a nasturtium has volunteered in my plot. The leaves can get as large as saucers though they seem a bit smaller this year. Perhaps it is early or perhaps they are in need of some fertlizer. When I was taking this photo I didn’t have my glasses on. I saw the bee but didn’t see the spider till I looked at the photo later. Looking at later photos the bee seems to have made her escape unscathed.

Helda Pole Beans

The first harvest of the Helda Pole bean. I am amazed at how tender they are even when they are long. I tried one raw and I am not nearly as fond of it as I am the topcrops. They do cook up nicely though. They are advertized as only requiring 60 days to mature. Fairly quick for pole beans. I haven’t done the match so I don’t know how accurate that is in my garden. I do like the convenience of the pole bean and the little bit of real estate the vines occupy. Harvest is easy, the long beans are easy to see.

Blix Vika+

Today was all about harvest. There were several zucchini, enough beets for a couple of meals, all of the yellow potato (aka multiplier) onions, lettuce and two types of beans (topcrop bush beans and of course the helda pole beans). While I was filling my containers it had slipped my mind that my mode of transportation was my new electric bike. It wasn’t till I was overloaded that it hit me. I was afraid I was going to have to make a second trip to get everything home but I was able, with some creating packing, to get it all home in one load. Leaves flapping in the wind.

9 for 1

Last Fall I planted some garlic and onions.  The onions are known as multiplier onions or what we used to call them in Kentucky – ‘potato onions’.  They are a smallish yellow onion that is planted whole in the Fall.  They overwinter and emerge in the Spring.  As they grow they split and divide, the larger the onion you plant generally makes  more onions than the smaller ones.  I planted 6 and the largest one of those is giving me 9 in return.    All in all I’ll end up with about 45 from those original 6.

Lilies One of the things I love about Rock Farm is all of the flowers. There is a long row of lavendar along the outside of half of the long side, a trellised area with chairs and a table and several beautiful beds of color. So much beauty I get to enjoy without having to have the land to hold it all. There are a couple of different lilies at the other end of the row next to mine. I can smell them from my spot if the wind is blowing in that direction. There are these beautiful white lilies and the orange tiger lilies too.

Clematis Anita planted several of these beautiful clematis this Spring. They will fill one side of the garden fence. Absolutely beautiful.

One of the early lettuce harvests. Don’t remember the exact variety but this one has great flavor.

Lettuce - May 7, 2015

Pea Trellis & Plans Gone Awry

The garden isn’t called Rock farm for no reason.  The beds are raised and bed rock is about a foot down, less in some spots.  This can make putting up posts for a pea or bean trellis somewhat of a challenge.  I left the posts in place from last year’s early peas but I’m still harvesting last years fall broccoli that is growing between them now.  They will hold the netting for pole beans later on.  The short row of peas needed its own posts.  I picked up a couple of small t-posts for that and hooked a 3/8″ green landscape bar across the top to hold the netting.  Pretty sure I got them in the ground far enough to hold.  The trickiest part was getting the netting on the top bar and attached to the side.  Tricky but I did prevail.

I had to pull all of the cauliflower and the single perennial kale today.  Something had gotten to the roots (root maggots?) so that meant digging out the soil in the area surrounding each plant for disposal.   My guess is that since they were planted so early, before anyone else had anything in the ground, the adults that were out looking for a good place to start a family all ended up there.   I put some Lisbon White Bunching green onion starts I picked up at Bainbridge Gardens .  I also put 8 Aspabroc “Baby Broccoli” in the Pak Choy bed.  This was sold as a ‘natural broccoli/asparagus’ hybrid aka broccolini.  We shall see.

I also found an ‘Egyptian Walking Onion’ at BG.  I used to grow those back in KY so I picked one up and tucked it in a corner of the garden.

I laid a perimeter of sluggo. and will probably go back tonight to plant a couple of short rows bush beans.  The plan calls for zucchini but I am not sure it has warmed up enough for that.  I’m thinking I’ll swap the two on the plan.  I haven’t been adhering to the garden plan 100%.  Still learning and adapting as I go along.

April’s Lessons Learned: Do not start brassica from seed too early. They may bolt.  Being the first to plant means the bugs will be in your bed first.

Overwintering

Seed haul from Bainbridge Gardens
Seed haul from Bainbridge Gardens

I hadn’t been to the garden since right before Christmas so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was getting the ‘bug’ to get some seeds and plan out this year’s garden so I decided to stop by Bainbridge Gardens to see what they had available. I was also hoping they might have a small Desert King fig tree. Those are supposed to do well here. I did bring some cuttings with me and 3 have rooted but am not sure if those are Brown Turkey or Petite Nigra. Unfortuantely BG only had a couple of beautiful 6 footers. The smaller ones won’t be in for another month or so. I’m hoping to keep mine in a pot so the 6 footer would be overkill.

Perennial onions aka 'potato' onions, garlic in the background.
Perennial onions aka ‘potato’ onions, garlic in the background.

I did end up picking up some seed. I decided to try some flowers this time. I picked up a packet of Persian Violet Nigella and Persian Carpet Butterfly Zinnias. I also picked up some ‘Cut and Come Again’ baby mesclun lettuce, baby pak choi, edible pod peas, bush zucchini along with some Japanese Spinach, green onions, garlic chives (for a pot on the deck) and Litt’l Bites Cherry Windowbox Tomatoes (also for the deck). The trick in all of this will be to figure out how I am going to start the tomatoes.

Purple sprouting type of broccoli?
Purple sprouting type of broccoli?

Last fall, some time in October, I planted some Silverwhite garlic I picked up at the farmer’s market along with some Turkish Giant garlic and yellow multiplier onions (we used to call these ‘potato’ onions) from a Territorial Seed order. As I drove to the garden this morning, I wondered if the garlic and onions were up and was quite pleased with what I found. The garlic are about 3 inches tall and the onions are up about 5 or 6 inches. I didn’t expect them not to make it through but it is still nice to see them starting their journey.

One of the broccoli plants didn't make it through the Winter.
Winter fatality.

Last July or August I picked up some purple sprouting type broccoli and possibly another variety from Bainbridge Gardens, a local garden center. The end of the garden I planted these in became shady too early and I didn’t get any harvest from this planting last year. I decided to leave them in the ground to see if they could make it through the Winter and possibly reward me with something this Spring. It looks like all but one has made it through the coldest part of the year and is looking lanky but healthy. I may cut one or two back and see how they fare. Probably something I should have done last year but what he heck.

Overwintered Russian Kale
Overwintered Russian Kale

At the same time I planted the purple broccoli I put in some kale. The idea was to have it ready for this Spring. I had seen that other gardeners here had done this last year and I wanted to give it a shot. Tho the plants were fairly small, most overwintered fine.

Overwintered beets
Overwintered beets

Early last Spring I planted beets. There are probably half a dozen or so still in the ground. One or two are little piles of mush, the one on the left of this pic looks like a mouse or slug may have had a small meal.

I am amazed at how quickly moss can cover anything standing still long enough. This stone was fairly clean last Fall.

Moss

by: kerry