Spectacular Onions from Seed

For the first time, this year's onions from seed were spectacular -- uniformly big, beautiful and delicious.

We chose intermediate day varieties: Walla Walla (a large, sweet white) and Rossa di Milano (a large heart-shaped red), both from High Mowing Organic Seeds.

We started the seed indoors under lights on March 7th, then transplanted the seedlings into small six-packs three weeks later and planted them in the garden on May 2 (8 weeks after seeding).

The soil was well prepared with compost, manure and organic fertilizer, and the seedlings were planted on 6" centers. (We did not trim the seedlings, as recommended by High Mowing, to increase their size.)

The plants were kept well watered and weeded throughout the growing season, and side-dressed with sifted compost at least once during the summer.

Our first harvest was on July 25th (140 days after seeding, 112 days after planting). These onions have been providing a solid harvest for over a month.

We couldn't be more pleased!


2013 Alliums (end of season notes)

Garlic: planted fresh stock this fall, sprang up fast!
Leeks: our best yet – transplant into 6-packs with other seedlings & plant later next year
Onion sets: our best yet. Planted farther apart than usual in single row around tomato beds
Onion seeds: great progress – transplant into 6-packs with other seedlings, plant rows closer together
Scallions: first planting did well, lasted – try broadcast planting early and harvest through season?

Fresh-from-the-garden Chili

If you garden, you know the question: How do I make the most of the seasonal selection of vegetables from the garden tonight? In this case, it was finishing up several small Onions, five random Tomatoes in various states of ripeness, a few green Peppers, a half-dozen Tomatillos and some charming little Hot Peppers.

fresh from the garden chili

The answer was Chili. I chopped the Onions, Peppers (green & hot), Tomatillos and skinned Tomatoes, adding them sequentially to a sauté pot with a small amount of oil. When the veggies were all in, I added a standard can of rinsed beans (in this case, butter beans), whole cashews and some chili seasoning. The result was three very hearty servings of my best chili ever!

mid-June harvest and growth

A smaller crew this morning at the garden, but plenty of visitors (particularly very young ones, we hope they lay down some fundamental memories of their visit).

The harvest was still mostly thinnings (kale, onions, arugula that was bolting) plus the last of our seedling-origin lettuce, and with a foray into radish research. Pulling out a monstrously huge one both to give its neighbors half a chance and to see what was happening: it showed signs of insect invasion as well having odd and giant growth. Divvying the insides up for tasting revealed some radishy heat but not bad flavor.

We decided to let the radishes be for now rather than harvest. A few rain drops fell as we were leaving, but we watered the new grass leading from the street to our water spigot as well as in the garden.

Onions standing tall

It looks like the onions are winning the early race for the tallest seedlings.  I suppose this is because onions are generally planted not from seed, but from onion "sets", which look like little baby onions. This must give them a head start.  The greens certainly look good enough to eat already!

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