Our 2022 garden: harvesting carrots and red onions and cleaning up

I took advantage of the lovely temperatures (and being in less pain) to do some more clean up in the garden. Earlier in the day, my daughter and I drove into town so she could get a new photo to renew her driver’s license, while I popped across the street to pick up a few things at the grocery store. I was thinking of making a cream of chicken soup and was about to buy some carrots, when I remembered…

We have carrots. They’re just still in the dirt.

So I went over to where the chocolate cherry tomatoes had been planted, and pulled up the Napoli (orange) and Kyoto Red (dark orange) carrots – and a single shallot! I also dug up the red onions from sets that were planted with the yellow pear tomatoes.

The new soil sifter came in handy! 😁

I’m actually surprised that we got so many decent sized carrots. The Kyoto Red were pretty small – there were two I left behind because they’re blooming, and I hope to collect some seeds. I used up the last of the Kyoto Red seeds, but I think I still have some Napoli pelleted seeds left. Those really did far better than I expected.

Then there’s that single, solitary shallot!

There were actually two more, but they also bloomed, and I’m waiting for the seed heads to dry before collection.

As for the red onions…

Most of them aren’t any bigger than the sets we planted in the first place. Given how spindly the greens were, I thought they might be rotted out, or at least soft, but nope: they are quite firm. They’re just really tiny. I think they were simply too shaded by how massive the yellow pear tomatoes got.

I was going to take them in and was trying to figure out where I could lay them out to dry a bit, until I thought to check the weather again.

We’ll be having at least a couple relatively warm nights, and no rain is expected. I just spread them out on the soil sifter and will leave them out overnight. Tomorrow, I should be able to brush the dirt off more easily, before bringing them inside.

With that in mind, I think I’ll soak some of those blue grey speckled tepary beans overnight, to include with some our garden’s carrots and onions in my soup!

Once these were gathered, I worked on taking down the hoops in the main garden area, as well as the mesh and supports over the spinach in the old kitchen garden. The spinach is a loss. They germinated, and then got mostly yellow and stopped growing.

With the mesh and netting, I laid them out as straight as I could on the ground, then rolled them up around whatever straight sticks I had that were long enough.

You wouldn’t believe how difficult that is with a yard full of kittens!

The twine I used got salvaged, too, and the shorter pieces came in very handy to tie off bundles of netting, mesh, supports and hoops.

We have a few more warmer days, and my priority right now is to get the empty bed in the main garden area prepped, and then plant our fall garlic. When we go into the city next for our stock-up shopping, I hope to pick up more hardneck garlic to plant. It’s a bit too late to order them like we have for the past couple of years.

Once that is done, I plan to work on building up some of the beds in the old kitchen garden. I have ideas for those that I hope will work. If I get at least one of those done over the next few days, that will give us a prepared bed to plant any garlic I pick up later on. There’s still the beets to harvest from that garden, but I suspect those will be going straight to compost.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest, curing onions, and a garden tour video

I did recordings for a garden tour video on Sept. 10 – the date for our average first frost – and meant to post the finished video yesterday. I ended up leaving my computer on all night while the video uploaded to YouTube, only for it to not process. Which meant I had to close it and start over.

It really irritates me that YouTube will let you upload something for hours, but if the processing fails, there’s nothing there. All that time, lost!

But it’s done, and here it is! Our September garden tour video – and it’s much shorter than my last one!

This morning, I got a small harvest.

It seemed strange to pick those tiny, misshapen Purple Beauty peppers, but they are ripe, so leaving them isn’t going to help anything.

I picked the largest G-star patty pan and could have picked more, but decided to let them get bigger. I’m so glad those are finally producing.

There was just one cucumber to pick and I didn’t even try to pick any pole beans. What little is left can be left to dry on the vine. I was able to pick a decent number of Cup of Moldova tomatoes, but the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes seem to have just stagnated. They’re not really ripening. I suppose when the time come, and we pick the remaining green ones to finish ripening indoors, they will still be fine.

The onions that had been left on the netting overnight are now set out to cure out of direct sunlight. We are supposed to get rain in a few days, so if they still need time to cure, they will be protected under the canopy tent. We’ll be able to braid the Red of Florence onions, but will have to use a mesh bag to store the yellow onions, and even the ones that still have greens on them, the greens aren’t strong enough to handle being braided.

The next big job in the garden is to harvest the Brigit potatoes. I’m not looking forward to it, after how difficult it was to harvest the small bed of Caribe potatoes, and how few potatoes there were. It’s going to be a lot of work for little return.

Not today, though. I’m rather sore from digging this morning. I seem to have pulled something in my neck while wresting with that rock, and it’s starting to hurt pretty bad. 😕

Time to pain killer up and work on something more sedentary for now.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: harvesting onions – with a helper!

In between helping my daughter when she needed an extra pair of hands while building the cats’ water bowl shelter, I harvested most of our onions.

These are the yellow onions from sets – there was no variety name that came with them. The netting was very handy to hold the onions for me!

I also had a helper.

This little beast was traipsing through the Black Nebula carrots, like he was on a jungle safari. Every now and then, when I tossed an onion on the netting, he would leap up from below to try and catch it! Then just hang there until I unhooked his claws and set him aside, only for him to run back into the carrots and hunt down the next onion!

The little bugger even tried it from under the mosquito netting while I dug up the Red of Florence onions. Those were split between two beds, and both are on the netting now.

We aren’t expecting rain for several days, so I’m actually going to leave them on the netting to cure for a while. Quite a few of the yellow onions no longer had their greens, but of those that do, they’ll get braided and hung up to finish curing indoors.

The Red of Florence onions, with their long shape, were a lot easier to harvest.

There are still the Tropena Lunga onions in the high raised bed, but they haven’t started to fall over yet, so I’m leaving them to grow some more.

We don’t have as many onions as I would have liked. The ones planted in the bed by the chain link fence might have one or two worth harvesting, but that’s it, and the red onions from sets planted with the yellow pear tomatoes are really small. I’m not sure if there will be much out of those.

Note for future reference. Plant a LOT more onions. These will only last us a few months, and certainly not the whole winter.

The yellow onions from sets were not any bigger than the ones we started from seed, though we don’t have other yellow onions to compare to, since they didn’t survive after transplanting. Nor did the shallots, both from seeds and from sets, planted in the same bed. At this point, we’re not seeing any advantage between starting from sets or from seed in the final product. Which means that next year, we will likely do both, again. We seriously need a better set up for starting seeds indoors. One that keeps the cats away! We’re actually looking at making a removable hardware cloth door between the living and dining rooms, as well as similar barrier over a shelf that is open on both sides. If we can keep the cats out of the living room, we can dedicate the room to starting seeds and not have to be constantly protect them from the cats. Having to keep the seedlings in the aquarium greenhouses, and under the plastic cover in the mini greenhouse, didn’t allow adequate air circulation, even with fans, and made it more difficult to provide adequate lighting.

We will have the winter to figure that out how to do that, though. 😊

For now, we at least have some onions to harvest!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: evening harvest – first potatoes

We were out of potatoes and I wanted some for supper, so I decided to see what I could get out of the garden.


I chose to dig under plants that I remember had come up the earliest, and were the farthest from the most flooding.

First, the good: the soil under the mulch and cardboard is SO much softer, instead of the usual rock hard. It was cool in the 27C/81F heat, and moist. There were lots of worms, though there were also lots of crab grass rhizomes. A single season under an “instant garden” made a HUGE difference in the soil.

Now, the not so good:

There were almost no potatoes. I dug up three of each type of potato, and that’s all there was.

I didn’t pull out the plants completely, leaving the remains of the seed potato and the soil around the base, digging them down a bit deeper than they started, returned the mulch and watered them well. Who knows. They might survive and still produce more potatoes. Unlikely, but it’s worth a try.

With the condition of the plants, I didn’t really expect much, but I still thought I’d find more than one or two potatoes per plant!

I then thinned out some of the Uzbek golden carrots, checked out the Black Nebula (there’s one in there, hidden by the yellow carrots), and they’re still really skinny but getting bigger. I also picked some of the smaller onions. Over the next while, if we want fresh onions, we’ll dig up the little ones, leaving the bigger ones to get even bigger for winter storage.

For supper, I used these, plus some of the beans I picked this morning, and the turnips I’d picked before, along with some thinly sliced pork to make a sort of Hodge Podge.

I love being able to cook with food almost entirely out of the garden.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: outdoor planting – eventually. Also, we have flowers!

Today was the day to start planting our onions. I wanted to get the transplants out, to make room for the squash in the sun room, and get the onion sets in.

The plan was to have onions on either side of the kale that has already been direst sown, in the bed on one side, then plant the rest of the onions in the bed at the opposite end, with kohlrabi in the middle (those don’t get planted for another week). Deer don’t like onions, so we’re hoping that between those, and the flashy windmills, they will stay away from the things they do like, such as the spinach.

This is one of the beds we made last year, that we simply topped up with new garden soil. I realized that the soil was starting to wash away on the sides, so I brought over more logs to act as walls.

Thankfully, these logs have been sitting out for 2 years, so they’re quite dry and light.

I didn’t have any short enough to use as end caps, though. We’ll have to take care of that later.

Once the logs were in place, I brought over more soil to fill in the sides, so I’d have room to plant into, without anything collapsing down into the logs.

My younger daughter joined me when I was just finishing up the first bed, so she continued to bring soil to add to the sides of all the beds, while I brought more logs to shore up the other bed from last year, that didn’t have any yet.

We’d used up the smaller logs when we first starting building the new beds, so the more logs I brought over, the bigger they were getting! Which is good, I suppose, since these are deeper beds than the new ones.

My daughter continued adding soil to the beds while I started transplanting the Nostar onions we started from seeds. There were three very different sizes! The ones that were in peat pellets ended up being the largest ones, while the ones in the K-cups had started out larger, but did not retain moisture as well, until I moved them onto their own tray, where they could be watered thoroughly without drowning the onions in the pellets. Then there were the ones that were started some weeks later. There are still some seedlings in the cups they were sown in; I only took the biggest ones to finish off the row.

On the other side of the kale, my daughter and I planted a three row grid of the Red Karmen onion sets that arrived in the mail yesterday.

By this time, we were done for the day!!

This bed is where the rest of the onions and the shallots will be planted, with the kohlrabi to go in the middle. The bed to the left is the one that’s half-planted with carrots. A second variety will go in the other half as soon as possible.

Oh, I almost forgot. When I was doing my rounds this morning, I took another look at some of the old corrals and other things around the barn and outer yard, hoping to find something we could salvage and build raised beds out of. There was nothing! Everything out there is just too rotted out. There’s possibly usable material that was stacked in an old shed, but the shed has collapsed on top of it, so we’d have to remove an awful lot of stuff, just to see one way or the other. It’s such a mess, just getting into there to move stuff has a high risk of injury. It’s unfortunate, but there’s pretty much nothing to salvage at all, never mind to build accessible raised beds with. Ah, well. It was worth a look!

After putting things away, my daughter stayed out to tend other things while I transferred the squash to the sun room and set up the lights as best I could. They are long aquarium lights, so I can only set them up vertically along the shelf. It will be good when we can invest in some grow lights, that we can hand over each shelf. At least the sun room does get a lot of natural light through much of the day.

While I was working on that, my daughter made an exciting discovery.

The crocuses have started to bloom!

They are so tiny!!!

I wasn’t able to get a photo of the third type, which are purple and white.

I will have to make sure to check these tomorrow morning, so see how much they open!

My daughters are just thrilled to see them. I don’t think either of them expected them to survive February’s Polar Vortex, having been planted just this past fall. So they are really excited right now!

An excellent note to end the day on. 🙂

The Re-Farmer