I am unapologetically declaring myself the 2012 Onion Queen of Westpoint, Indiana. My onions are big, beautiful, delicious, and plentiful. I have been harvesting over a month now and still have the majority to pull. I have potato onions, 4 kinds of storage onions, 3 kinds of bunching onions, 5 kinds of garlic, and Egyptian walking onions. Perhaps I got a bit carried away….Good thing I can send the surplus to the restaurant.
The first year I did a BIG garden, I bought onion sets at the local hardware store–the ones that look like little pearl onions. After months in the soil, they maybe doubled in size. That’s it. They weren’t even worth the trouble of peeling them. The next year I decided onions weren’t worth the real estate in my garden.
This year, remembering that the teacher from my Master Gardener’s classes who covered vegetable gardening started hers from seed, I was determined to do the same. When Mother Earth News ran a mid-winter article about growing onions, I knew it was fate. So, I got seeds. I seeded them individually into cells and fairly quickly I had tiny little seedlings. Well, that was easy, I thought. At this point, the seedlings were under high quality grow lights indoors. They grew slowly, but did not get very robust looking. They stayed like this growing nearly imperceptibly.
Once the hooophouse was done, I moved some of them out there. However, they were so sad-looking that I held out little hope. I eagerly purchased starts from my neighbor’s greenhouse. Those were planted outdoors in early April and are flourishing. Now, the ones I planted tin the hoophouse are growing just as well. So, I did do it! I also have learned that instead of growing each little seedling in its own cell both onions and shalots can be seeded in a larger container as a clump and then separated at planting time.
Now, we are starting to enjoy the bunching onions (spring onions) I planted. Some of these were transplants from seeds I started indoors and others were direct seeded in the hoophouse. I am growing Evergreen and Crimson bunching onions. Delicious! Will seed more this week to stagger the harvest.
Nearly two weeks of bronchitis/asthma and a very busy time at the restaurant coupled with tax time have me really short on time. BUT I wanted to post a brief update. I have lots of stuff started in the indoor greenhouse.
Indoor crops: lettuces, tuscan kale, and micro-greens (all nearing harvest)
Phase One: Starts to be moved out into small hoophouses (yet to be built!)—kale, romanesco broccoli, waltham broccoli, mixed japanese greens, evergreen bunching onions, mache, romaine, chard, strawberry spinach, broccoli raab. New territory to me to try to get such a jump on the season and I am excited about it. Hubby and I will be using pvc to make removable hoophouse tops in three of the raised beds. Greenhouse plastic is one the way as well as some wax paper “hot caps” for added protection. We’ll see how it goes.
Phase Two: 2/15/10 started crimson bunching onions, newburg onions, siskiyou sweet onions, and white lisbon bunching onions as well as Grumolo Biondo Golden chicory.
Here are a few pictures taken on 2/13/10. We had two spectacular early morning shows of snow and glittering frost on the trees. Truly amazing. I have spent my drive time this winter marveling at the beautiful silouhettes of winter trees–often standing alone in a field. Easily as lovely as they are in summer, if not more.