29 June 2013

Man Over Onion

We all have at least one plant that refuses to like us, no matter what we do for it. Like a spoiled child, the onions got more than their share of attention, and every year gave me back nothing. I wrote about my broken heart in a past post [2011.06.26], with a photo of my thankless children. It seems that root crops do not like me. Radishes, carrots, potatoes (darn potato beetles) and onions. I wasn't going to take it any more.

This year carrots are growing in the back yard vegetable garden. Onions were planted in the front cottage garden, like recent years. Unlike recent years, these are something I can be proud of. And there are more larger ones still growing. So what happened?

First, I went back to onion sets instead of seeds. Not because I wanted to, but because it was too late to plant seed. Second, I purchased both red and yellow onions by weight from a local garden center where one could pick them out of large bins; meanning pick the best ones. Third, I enriched the soil more than usual (the soil is pretty good in that bed already) with manure and humus. I read somewhere (in my quest to find an answer to my none-ions) that rich soil and plenty of water is what they want. That leads me to the last point.

Thank climate change. Our springs over that past five years have all been abnormal in one way or another. This year, cooler temperatures and plenty of rains helped me out. (I think last year was our desert highland spring, while this year was the Pacific northwest spring.) everything is growing like gangbusters -- even the weeds.

But, I like to think I triumphed over the onions. Now on to those carrots.

For The Record:
  • Rich, well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Humus and manure fertilizer at planting, slow release fertilizer during growth
  • No serious pests/disease

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: nicotiana, cleome, cosmos, lily, daylilies, rose,
    astilbe, hosta, rudbeckia, echinacea
  • Harvested: 2 onions

3 comments:

J Clark said...
Wish I knew the answer. My main curse is too much shade.
Cherry Lane said...
I have a terrible time with root crops, too. I've reluctantly given up on beets and carrots. Garlic is usually ok. Planted onion sets rather than seeds for the first time this year, and they seem to be doing well.
Janet QueenofSeaford said...
I never planted onions, so can't offer any insight.