"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Onion Harvest

Spring came, summer went, fall and winter are quickly approaching. The change in seasons finds us scurrying to procure all that we can from the gardens. Timing is key. If we wait too long the cold and wet will take its toll, too soon and the produce will not store well.

Recently we pulled most of our storage onions as a few days of wet weather is soon to be upon us and with the cooler nights I don't want them to succumb to rot. They were close to being ready, not as close as I would have liked under better conditions but they should cure up good enough nonetheless. While not as big as they could have been given a longer gardening year they were not too bad, not bad at all. I planted Borettana, Juane Paille de Vertus, and my favorite Yellow of Parma. All of the mentioned varieties grow well from seed and store for a long time for us...although I did struggle to get our Borettana's to germinate properly this spring. Anyway, once pulled I laid the onions out on our porch -

and patio to finish drying before removing the stalks about an inch from the bulb.
In a normal year I would have waited to pull these Yellow of Parma↓ until after the green stalks had withered away and then laid them out on the porch to cure for a few weeks before putting them in airy baskets for storage in a cool dry area...our basement works good for this.

We also had a fairly good garlic harvest this season. Again, the cloves were a bit on the small side but numerous...bring forth the fidlyness.:) I had to replace quite a few this spring because they had rotted in the ground over winter as we had almost no snow for protection...a first for us, we normally have plenty of snow cover. The spring planted replacements were just as large as those garlics planted the previous fall so, in the end, other than the wasted garlic, it really made no difference.

These garlics are for eating and the ones with tags on them in the second picture will be replanted for next years crop ~ and so continues the cycle...

33 comments:

ThyHandHathProvided said...

What a beautiful harvest. Nicely done:-).

Anne said...

Gorgeous!

meemsnyc said...

Oh Wow Mr. H, your onion and garlic harvest is marvelous!! That is quite a load! We planted onions this year, but we only got golf ball size onions. I suspect our ground soil was too compacted. Will amend for next year.

Scented Leaf said...

This year has been really generous with your onion and garlic harvest.

Annie's Granny said...

That's a lot of onions! I only planted sweet onions this year, and even though I planted more than 100, we ran out more than a month ago!

I always planted garlic in the spring until I began reading the gardening blogs in 2008. I did a fall planting that year, and like you, saw no difference between fall and spring planting. Actually, my spring plantings seemed to stay healthier.

LynnS said...

The carpet of onions is wonderful and the hanging garlic adds such a touch with the twine. A simple yet comfortable decor for a lovely home of bountiful harvests. Lovely.

Jennifer Jo said...

You would fall over laughing if you saw our piddly crop! Good job!

Sense of Home said...

Wow! That is a lot of onions and garlic. I'm a little jealous, we already ate all the ones we grew.

-Brenda

Lynn Mc. said...

Wow, how wonderful. I never seem to plant enough although I am beefing up my bunching onions, chives and Leeks for fall and winter.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Great googley-moogley! Thats a lot of onions! Great job! I think I got a total of 5 onions this whole summer.
:-(

Mike said...

Wow! I have serious garden envy right now!

vrtlarica said...

You have a very beautiful and big onion and garlic harvest!
I was told that onions need to stay in the ground until tops turn brown and die completely. I never questioned this, but now I see that you are harvesting your onions while the tops are still green.
In Croatia everybody is planting garlic in spring. They say that those ones will stay healthier, as Granny said. And it is a different variety that we plant here in spring and in fall. Last week I have found a variety that is planted in fall, so I will try with them also - they should give bigger bulbs.

Mr. H. said...

ThyHand - Considering they sat around doing nothing but looking pale and yellow for so long this cold spring we are very happy with the end results.

Thanks Anne:)

Meemsync - Onions can be a tough one, you would be surprised at how many I had to leave in the garden as they were too small. Those will be pulled and replanted later for spring green onions.

Scented Leaf - I do feel very lucky this year...it has been challenging.:)

Anne's Granny - We did plant a few Walla Walla sweet transplants that turned out pretty good...but we finished them off almost a month ago. They never did get as big as yours.:)

I'm going to have to give some serious thought to fall and spring planted garlic. Perhaps a 50/50 trial. I really hated to lose so many to rot this spring.

Lynn - Thanks, it does feel good to have a porch full of alliums. Next there will be squash and potatoes and...

Jennifer Jo - I won't laugh at your onions if you promise not to laugh too hard at my sorry little crop of green beans.

Brenda - They go fast don't they, especially when canning salsa and stuff. I am always surprised at how quickly we go through ours.

Lynn Mc - You just reminded me that I did plant some leeks this spring...I have no idea what happened to them though as I don't recall having seen them of late...hmm. Good luck on your fall crops.

Ohiofarmgirl - If you lived closer I would have to try and talk you into bartering onions for goats milk.:)

Mike - Thanks, it looks like you guys have a pretty nice garden too.

Vrtlarica - You were told right about the onions. We normally leave them in the ground until the tops die back but some years are forced to pull them early before the rains start or else they will rot...this was a very short gardening year for us.

You are supposed to get bigger bulbs by planting them in the fall, but that doesn't always work out so well. I think I might try your and Grannie's spring planting method with all or some of our garlic for this next season.

Mrs. Mac said...

your supply should last you well into spring or summer! I'm wondering if I should even plant my garlic this fall .. or save half to plant in the spring??

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. Mac - That's a tough one, if your garlic puts down decent roots and we get some snow cover it should be fine. If we have another freeze, thaw, freeze, rain, and no snow winter it might not do so well. I think we are going to try it both ways as a test.

By the way, Greenacres Nursery is selling bareroot trees for $8.50. They have various apple, plum, cherry, and pear. We have purchased many trees from them during this time of year in the past and all of them are doing well. I just picked up a few more this past weekend. They have a couple dwarf apples but most are semi-dwarf trees that are over 6-8' tall right now. The place I am talking about is not the one located on Appleway but the one just down the road off Hwy 53.

Lorena said...

Nice onion harvest. I'm going to try some out of my fenced area and hope the deer don't eat them. I have pretty good luck with getting big garlic. I plant it in the fall in about 6 inches of animal manure on top of the soil, then I hit it once in the growing season with liquid fish fertilizer, it seems to work well. The garlic on the South facing slope is always the first to come up big and strong.Thanks for the inspiration and for visiting my blog

Mavis said...

IS that a punching bag covered in duct tape in the second to last photo?

Mr. H. said...

lorena - Our biggest problem is a lack of sunshine in the garden which keeps everything allium a bit on the small side. I really should try that fish fertilizer one of these days. Good luck with your garlic, if you lay down some field fencing over the garlic patch after planting the deer won't walk in it and you won't even know it is there once the garlic comes up.

Mavis - Yes it is, I have two of them. You would be amazed at how aerobic they can be. You should get one, the duct tape makes the bag and your hands last longer.

kitsapFG said...

Well done Mr. H! This has been a challenging year for a lot of crops and the alliums suprisingly were one of them. You managed to pull off a very credible harvest despite the challening growing season we have had. Our fall rains already arrived with a vengeance. The garden is soaked and it is cool - so the tomatoes are starting to melt down with grey mold and I am just praying I can get a streak of dry weather in the next few weeks to dry out the "dried" bean patch and get it harvested. This has definitely not been one of my better garden years - but despite that we have harvested enough and have enough growing in the four season harvest beds... to eat well. In the end that is what really matters.

Mr. H. said...

Laura - As hard as it is to think this way when one in in the middle of a challenging garden season I think that perhaps we learn the most from years like this. We picked most of our tomatoes yesterday...all green. I am worried about the rest of my "dry" beans too. Lots of rain for the next few days, starting today.

kitsapFG said...

I also did the green tomato harvest today too. And you are right, the challenging years are good learning opportunities and make one appreciative of the more bountiful seasons.

Mr. H. said...

Laura - We are going to get lots of snow this winter and the following growing season will be the best ever. A good year always (often) seems to follow a challenging one...I'm trying to be overly optimistic.:)

Faith said...

Very impressive harvest of onions.

Wendy said...

wow - those are some onions!

Sylvie in Rappahannock said...

Mr H the size and productivity of your garden never cease to amaze - and humble - me.

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

What can I say?

Impressive!!!

granny said...

Whoa !!! Now THATS an onion harvest,Lol....makes my lot look piddly :0)

Mr. H. said...

Faith - They did pretty good for us this year, and onions can sometimes be a tough one for us as they never get quite enough light around here.

Wendy - The onions did their part now it's up to me to make them last through the winter.

Sylvie - A big garden, that's my secret, I certainly don't have a green thumb but I can plant a lot and hope for the best. This has been a rough year but we are both very pleased with the results.

Diane - Thanks, I struggle with onions but they did good again this year so we are very happy.

Granny - I have a feeling that some of those Australian grown onions of yours are probably three times as large as mine.:)

Anonymous said...

We like your blog and the nice photos. Did you plant any squash or pumpkins and when do you plan to harvest them?

Dave

Heiko said...

Onions! Onions! They make me cry! Not when cutting, but they just won't do much for me. This year even worse than usual. My meager harvest is long eaten, leeks will now be my main allium until the wild spring onions spring in spring.

Mr. H. said...

Dave - I pulled all of our mature squash and pumpkins the other day as the weather has been so very wet and cool, I was worried about them rotting. It has not been the best year for them. I hope to post more about the squash tomorrow. Thank you so much for visiting our little blog.:)

Heiko - Onions can be a tough one, thank goodness you have wild ones to help compensate. We never have much luck with leeks...I try and try but they make me cry.:)

GetSoiled said...

Oh my. Where to begin? I have been trying to eat less so one of my steps was not visiting your blog as often. I didn't work. Here I am. Looking at your pics. Drooling. Stomach yelling for some wholesome food stuffs. *grunts*

I try to convince myself that I like my little urban garden (I really do) but every time I come by here I want to pick up my shovel and move to the countryside. I really do! I know it is tons and tons of work...but oh-would-you-look-at-the-rewards!>!>! Your harvest is just beautiful, mighty tasty I imagine, and such and inspiration to all of us slackers to keep on going and planting and learning more and more each day. So thank you from the top of my heart (I always thought the 'bottom' of my heart thingy just does not sound quite right) I thank you for taking those pics.

Oh...and the seeds you shared with me are doing so great! I will post pics soon. Thank you for that as well :) Please say hello to the missus...and lastly, did you see the articles about the oil spill in G&G magazine? Pretty heart-breaking, eh? But awesome pics, I think...

Mr. H. said...

GS - As I have said before, it's not how much a person grows that is important but that they know how. I'm glad to hear that the seeds are growing and hope the weather cooperates for you. The growing season in your neck of the woods is so much different than ours. We will soon have a frost that will mark the end of our growing season for many plants, not all, and then winter in all of it's white wonder will be upon us...brr.

I read the article about the Ridley turtles. What is amazing is that so many have, in the past and still today with the likes of BP, done so much damage, almost destroying these fascinating creatures forever. If it was not for these few people/heroes throughout history and even now that have gone out of their way to protect them they would surly be lost from this planet forever...so sad.

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