Onions & Stuff

Onions.
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On Saturday the F.E.M.A. folks came and cut down a few trees that were already leaning or broken off from the tornado. So now there is an even larger pile of debris laying in the front yard. We were not able to get an accurate count of how many trees we lost but the number is at least 75+. When this place is cleared up it’ll look completely different. We really liked our trees but I guess we’ll get used to the open lawn in time.

We didn’t get to start on the dog’s pen until yesterday. Well actually we never did work on the pen but Hubby did design a really cool four-compartment doggy condo with its own metal roof and everything. So after a Lowe’s run we managed to get it built. I’ll be covering it with barnyard red paint and we still neet to get a base board put around the bottom to keep critters out from under it (it was raised a little when we leveled it to our sloped back yard). I’ll get pics posted soon.

I haven’t been in the garden much over the weekend nor do I think I’ll be out there a lot this week,  if the F.E.M.A. folks decide to come back that is. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of their logging trucks and track hoes and such. I’m sure I can find plenty of other things that need doing around here. It seems the work is never done!

Back in early spring I purchased bunching onions from a local garden supply shop to be used in a pest control experiment. The plan was to let these onions spread all throughout the summer squash to help ward off Squash Bugs. Well, turns out they weren’t bunching onions after all. Instead they were the biggest, sweetest yellow storage onions I”ve ever grown. Problem is – I don’t know which variety they are! This isn’t the first time this supplier has given us surprises but it is going to be the last (oh, one onions was red!). Any way, now there’s a huge pile of the best sweet onions we’ve ever eaten laying out to dry. Needless to say, we’ll grow our own White Lisbon bunching onions next year.

To dry onions for storage wait until the green tops begin to turn brown and fall over, and then pull the onions from the soil making sure not the tear off the stalks. Gently shake the loose soil from the roots and spread the onions on to a drying rack (we use child-sized pallets). The drying rack should be in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight and moisture. Allow the onions to dry until the stalks are completely brown and ‘crunch’ when squeezed; this usually take about a month. Next gently wipe away the soil with your hand, trim the roots if you want, and cut the tops 1″ above the bulb. Viola! You have storage onions. We keep ours in mesh bags (like the ones oranges come in). I’m not sure how long they’ll keep because they normally get eaten up pretty fast around here.

Storage onion bulbs are usually set out in October. Once they begin to grow the bulbs are mulched heavily with straw to prevent freezing during winter months. The mulch is then raked back the following February to allow the onions to grow. They are harvested when about 3″ in diameter but some onions are left to produce a flower for seed collection. The heirloom varieties we’ll be growing for next year’s harvest are Yellow Stuttgarter and Red Burgundy. In the past we’ve purchased onions bulbs for transplanting but this year we’ll start our storage onions from seed.

Well, it’s definitely Monday. I should be going fast and furious by now but I’m having an incredibly hard time pulling myself away from this computer. Monday’s are usually my ‘clean up the weekend’s mess’ day from inside the house. I also need to mow the dog’s pen, prune some crepe myrtles, caulk the garden shed and add a lock to the door, order some fava beans, schedule a vet appointment for one dog, and harvest any goodies that might be ready. Wow! I’d better get going.

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