The Garden Update

October 3, 2009

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I love reading Hatsy Taylor’s weekly posts on her site Weeds and Wisdom. She always has something of interest through the seasons of her NW Connecticut gardens. This week she writes about not wanting to face the weeds in her flower garden. It is very reassuring that I’m not the only one not wanting to deal with the flower beds.

AND, I am happy to report that the deep mulching in the veggie garden this summer was a great success and I am not going to be facing a terrible time putting the garden to bed and planting vetch as a winter cover crop. The beans are still producing, kale is going gangbusters, and the carrots are magnificent! I am now thinking ahead to next summer, and what I’ll have to do to have bigger onions and actually thinking that in the next few weeks I’ll be planting garlic for next July!!! Woohoo. Making a few quarts of pesto with my own basil and garlic last week was a big thrill. Photos to come, soon.

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It was my plan to grow enough onions to store for the winter. I have found out today, to my great disappointment, that the average size of my onion crop is about the size of a cocktail onion; imagine 200 cocktail onions…..

From my research, I am realizing that perhaps I did not nourish my onions enough. My regular feeding with nitrogen rich food like fish emulsion -which is high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium,and micronutrients including some trace elements was not as regular as it could have been.

So, for next year, the onion bed will be prepared over the autumn and winter by a winter hardy cover crop of nitrogen-fixing hairy vetch.

I’ll give the onions a bit more time, feed them again and hope there will be a bit more growth- but tune in this time next year- I plan to have storage onions. Meanwhile, since Barbara Putnam and I started the seeds together, I think I’ll go over and see how her onions did and get some more tips.

Onion Seedlings!

March 29, 2009

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onion-seedlingsStay tuned! We’ll plant them when the soil is warm enough- sometime I’m guessing in May!

Thanks Barbara for the photos.

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This just in from EWG.org- EnvironmentalWorkingGroup‘s 5th Edition of The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, including government data. In this edition you will again find fruits and veggies with the highest and least pesticides.  You will be able to make informed choices about which conventionally grown veggies are the cleanest and when to stick with organically grown. What a wonderful service this group performs for us! You can download and print the wallet size guide. Or read the full list– top of the list for pesticide load is PEACHES! So, only organic. Bottom of the list is ONIONS- never found a bug on an onion, they must not taste good to bugs so they don’t spray them much?

 

“Every year, new research is published demonstrating the toxicity of pesticides to human health and the environment, often at doses previously declared “safe” by the pesticide industry and the government.

As acknowledged by the U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked with a variety of toxic effects, including:

  • Nervous system effects
  • Carcinogenic effects
  • Hormone system effects
  • Skin, eye and lung irritation”

The site is a great resource. 

What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?

EWG believes that  “people have a right to know what’s in their food, so they can choose foods with less pesticides.The government can and should take steps to dramatically reduce the number and amount of toxic chemicals, including pesticides, in the food supply.”

We can choose to purchase produce low in pesticides and favor organically-raised fruits and vegetables to support our families’ health and in particular protect our children the environment.

 

Planting Onion Seeds

March 9, 2009

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First of all they are very small. Tiny black seeds- onions, leeks, scallions all look very similar. I helped Barbara Putnam plant 8 flats. We put 4 seeds in each soil block (about 2″x 2″) with 50 blocks per flat. There are going to be alot of onions. We figured that I will take one flat home to grow storage onions for next winter. So I will have hopefully 200 onions for the winter- November through March. Barbara plants 4 seeds together and grows bunches of onions. We also planted leeks that way, too. The flats are in her greenhouse and I’ll keep you posted on how fast they sprout and gorw and when we put them in the ground. It’s too early to plant radishes or peas. A few more weeks though. Drove home from Barbara’s in the snow. That was a bit depressing.

I went up to my garden and found some baby carrots which I didn’t harvest last fall! They are very sweet and delicious- maybe taste a little like they froze for 4 months, but very tasty and fresh.

This feels like a very hopeful time. Starting seeds, planning the garden. Still have to find a source of horse manure. Still need someone to help me in the garden this summer. Anyone?