Last ones

This is it. The last ones.

This afternoon, I headed into the roots cellar and grabbed the last of our yellow onions that we had hanging down there. These are the Norstar we grew from seed. We finished the ones we grew from sets a while ago.

And these are the last of the Red Karmen onions we grew. There’s one more, hidden from view.

All the onions we grew and harvested back in August have lasted us more than half way through January. Adjusting for the time then needed to cure, that’s about 5 1/2 months.

Not too bad, considering they didn’t get very big. We did try to be a bit frugal with them, though.

They also stored really well in the root cellar. We had the fewest shallots (what are not in the photos above), and they were gone in less than two months, so we never found out how well they stored. ;-D

We will be growing a lot more onions this year, all from seed. The goal is to not have to buy onions from a store at all, anymore.

I am just itching to start the onions indoors, but I have decided to wait until the middle of February to start them, at about 15 weeks before last frost. The only other thing we would start that early are the luffa gourds.

I’m actually sad that we’ll have to start buying onions again. The ones we grew were so much better! I don’t know what varieties the stores carry. They usually have labels like “yellow” or “medium cooking onion”. LOL They’re good, but the varieties we grew were tastier. That’s the main benefit, in my view, about growing onions from seed. Buying sets is easier, but there are a lot more varieties to choose from with seeds.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: first bulb onions

This morning, I decided to go through our onions and harvest the ones I was sure were done for the season. Here are the first ones I picked.

These are the yellow onions we planted from sets that I picked up at Canadian Tire, and planted in the same bed as the shallots. This is about a quarter, maybe a third, of what was in the bed. There were also a few that I pulled and left behind, as they had no roots and were starting to rot.

These ones are mostly pretty small, as they died off too early, I think.

There were enough of them that space on the drying screen was an issue, but they had enough stems left for braiding, so now they are hung up to cure under the canopy.

Then I went back to check the other onion bed.

Very few of these were ready to pick. On the left are the surviving yellow onions we grew from seed, and they are looking the best of all the onions. The ones on the right are the red onion sets we ordered from Veseys.

These have been left outside to dry for a while, but they will be for immediate use in the kitchen! 🙂

I’ve been looking up how to tell if onions are ready to pick and finding conflicting information. Some say they are ready after their tops have fallen over, which I think is way too early. Others says after the dry outer skin has developed. Still others say once the youngest leaves – the ones in the very middle of the stalks – are dry, they are ready to pick. That one seems too late!

So the ones I picked were ones that had died off the most, and I could be sure they would not be growing any bigger. I’m also on the lookout for those with roots that have died off, and pull up easily. Those tend to already be going soft, and often have what looks like mold growing in them. From what I’ve read, that’s a sign of fungal infection, so they need to be taken right out.

It should be interesting to see the differences in flavour. I probably won’t be able to tell the difference, and the medications my husband is on has changed his ability to taste things, but the girls should be able to taste differences. I’ll have to trust them to tell me which varieties are worth growing again! 😀

After the issues we had with cats destroying so many of the onions we started indoors, I’m just happy to have any onions at all right now! 😀

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