Talk Dirt to Me

Onion Update

This year I started my onions at about the same time as last year: in early March, but this spring has been cooler than last. Last year, I put onions in the ground right around the first of April, and harvested lots of big onions that kept us through the winter. Things haven’t gone as smoothly this time through. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had some trouble with an unreasonable feline who felt the need to trim onion tops leaving me with jagged little plants.

Nevertheless, they grew. To help them adjust to living outside, I schlepped them to the cold-frame each morning and back inside each evening. Then a week ago I started leaving them out overnight under my mini hoop-houses.

The seedlings looked OK, but not great. I like my transplants green and vibrant, not fruppy and yellow. I felt nervous. Now, it might not seem that way, but I have bigger things to worry about than my onion transplants. For instance: if I drink beer out of a pint glass, is it pretentious? Is PBR in a pint glass ironic or anachronistic for an old guy?

When I start to deviate from what has worked in the past, the nervousness builds. I wanted to put those onions in the ground even if they didn’t look good. I’ve done it every spring in early April and it usually works. Maybe that’s my problem; I need to relax and listen to the weather.

Pretty much anybody will tell you I need to relax, so there should be little surprise that I didn’t wait too long. Instead, on the first sparkling day I put my onions in the ground then tucked them into a hoop house. It’s not supposed to freeze for at least a week, so I think they’ll be OK. I think I may weaken and order some transplants just in case.

In the meantime I’m going to monitor the results of the little experiment I started. If you’ll remember, I seeded my onions in “jiffy” pots, standard black plastic six packs, and yes I even used some soil blocks. I’ve transplanted these into the bed in small groups. In the picture “A” refers to those that grew in a six pack, “B” to those that grew in jiffy pots, and “C” to those that grew in soil blocks. I’ll keep you updated, but this has not been an auspicious beginning.

On a more positive note, my brassicas love the soil blocks, and spinach, radishes and lettuce have all come up from my seizing Easter rite.

© 2014 The Valley Advocate