Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kitchen Garden. Fall planting for Winter & Spring.

I remember the day the airplanes were diverted into the twin towers. I was post-call an was planting multiplier onions and garlic that day. That's how I remember it's about time to plant them again. It's impossible to forget. Last fall it took a long time to get around to planting them, and I planted in December. About half survived and grew, but not as well as earlier planting. Usually almost all will grow. They can be planted into October, but after that it's getting too cold here to get a good start before the freeze.

This location went to weeds this year. It's a bed on the south side of the house. Closest to the house, I've been trying for many years to get a row of asparagus growing. This year, there actually are multiple, fairly tall (3 to 4 feet) asparagus fronds, and even more smaller ones. I think they will finally be growing. Unfortunately, the bed was let go this year, and full of weeds. I pulled the weeds, added some compost and eggshells, and turned it over with a shovel. This will be the onion and garlic bed for this winter.

Here is the layout. I managed to salvage about 25 medium and large white multiplier onions (also called white potato onions). Planted in the fall, a large one will split into numerous small bulbs. A small one will grow to produce a single large onion the following early summer. They are great for scallions, but I always try to save enough to keep the cycle going.

Not realizing that I actually did manage to salvage some garlic, and had saved the bulbs along with the multiplier onions, I bought 2 garlic bulbs at a local nursery. These were German garlic. This is a great variety, large very strongly flavored cloves. I like it a lot.

The other multiplier is known as "Egyptian Walking Onion". They seem to tolerate any care or neglect. They grow a cluster of small bulbs at the top, where other onions have flowers. That cluster can be planted in the fall or spring. Planted in the fall, they give scallions even before other crops can even be planted. This is the main charm, although the onion bulbs are quite pungent. These were pulled out of the bed that now contains beans, and left to dry out of the sun on the North side of the house, sitting there since mid July. They are starting to shrivel a bit, but still look quite viable. I also have some that are starting to sprout while on the tops of the still-planted bulbs. I separated all of the small starts, and planted about 4 inches apart. They will make great scallions, and I'll save enough for a continuing crop to perpetuate the cycle.

I also planted the large Egyptian Walking Onion bulbs. They will make scallions even sooner than the little sets. This will mean a long season when I can just walk out into the kitchen garden and pull some for a treat.

While digging the onion bed I discovered that we had planted some fingerling potatoes there, and forgot about them. Nice crop.

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