Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Sowing: Onions

Onion seeds sprouted and growing n the potager. Still green, although the ground is nearly frozen.

I'm not sure what it is all about, but my attempts at growing onions is a bit like thinking you can put your money in a savings account these days and have the interest grow your money into something worth talking about. My onions, like money in a savings account, result in onions little bigger than the onion sets with which I begin.

Always willing to try something new, I've decided to plant my onion seed in the fall, following the idea that I plant garlic cloves in the fall and that onions I fail to harvest seem fine in the spring.

Last January, I thought to plant the appropriate long day length onions starting them from seed under lights. I also started leeks. The generic sets available here are simply white, yellow, or red-- no stated day length. I thought starting my own sets might be the answer. The onions I choose were a flattish red onion and got to the appropriate size, which is to say about 1 1/2" in diameter. The leeks, I am told were harvested and eaten on a regular basis by my brother, although I didn't get any from the family garden.

So while I seem to plant quite a few, my harvest of onions seems less than I would expect. So I will dream of nice spring onions. I planted 3 rows each about 8 feet long.

I have also left some late beets and carrots in the ground with the same expectations, that I will have tender young things early in the spring for salads. My celery never amounted to much although I did dry some of the tops for additions to pizza and soups.

I've started thinking about getting some microgreens growing under lights. I have some basil cuttings I have in glasses of water that have rooted and should think about planting, too.

What herb talks about fresh more than basil?

UPDATE: Although we had an incredibly mild winter, the beets and onions were nowhere to be seen. That's a first for me with carrots; so I have to wonder if a vole, mole or some other creature didn't reap the benefits from my work. Also very few of the onions survived to the next spring. I did, however, miss one of the pitiful leeks I harvested in 2011 and harvested it at the perfect size in September 2012 to make a WONDERFUL leek, red potato, and sweet red pepper soup.

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