Monday, April 20, 2015

Gardening Finally Begins for Me

I have a seasonal tax prep job that is now over, so I can finally concentrate on gardening. A week of 10-12 hour days ended with a 14-hour marathon on April 15. Why do people wait until the last minute? I don’t understand the psychology.  They certainly can not be gardeners, because we have to plan ahead if we want a successful garden. Planning for this garden started last growing season and is now being implemented, albeit a little delayed by the job. Anyway, Spring is here, my daffodils are up, the onions from Dixondale Farms arrived, and gardening is under way.




This is the shady corner of the community garden last week. I met some new gardeners last Sunday before work to show them around. There was still snow in the corner and things looked pretty beak and monochromatic. You have to be an optimist if you are going to garden. I did manage to plant some snow and snap peas while waiting for the new gardeners. This week the snow is completely gone and the ground is a bit drier.




My raised beds are looking good despite the rough winter. The winds and heavy snow have taken down most of the netting on the trellises. Fortunately I planned ahead and added a 60 foot bag of netting to my seed purchases this winter. The kale did not survive. The only sign of life is the garlic poking its way through the straw mulch. But the soil in the beds is dry enough to work, in contrast to the muddy soil you see upper left. That’s good because I need to get the onions planted in the raised beds. That’s bad because I also need to get my Brassicas planted in the soil in my other plot.




The onion beds were prepared by first fluffing up the soil. Doing that is controversial because you disrupt the soil flora and fauna, but it gives me a chance to find and remove any weed rhizomes and wire worms. Then I spread a couple of inches of compost over the top and sprinkled on the amendments and stirred it all in. This year I am with the program! The beds were amended with (purchased) crushed crab shell, (Pioneer Valley basalt) rock dust, kelp meal, Plant Success Granular fungal mycorrhizae and Chickity Doo Doo to provide additional nitrogen for the onions.




This is the first year I purchased onion plants from Dixondale. Purchasing plants means one less thing to do during the  busy winter months. More expensive than a pack of seeds but a lot less trouble. I was very impressed with the plants I received. Above is less than half the bundle of Copra onions I received. They are very large, some bigger than pencil width. There is no way I could grow plants this big myself.  Of course the test will be to see how well they grow.




These are the Rossa Lunga di Tropea onions I have grown for several years. I was impressed that Dixondale offered such an unusual onion, so I had to buy a bunch of these. Again, they are huge for plants, much larger than I could grow myself.




On Sunday I managed to get the Copra, Tropea, Super Star and Red Candy plants into the ground. I was hoping the rain predicted for Monday would hold off until I could get the rest planted, but it was raining by 8 A.M. so planting will have to wait. The rain is not a bad thing since the pumps at the garden are not yet connected and I would have to haul water from home. Anyway, the gardening season is now officially started for me with plants in the ground.


  1. Oh, I do not miss tax season! If your Dixondale onions do only half as well for you as they do for me I think you will be happy. Mine are already starting to show signs of bulbing up and the extras that I've been harvesting as overgrown scallions have been delicious. My garlic though is a rust infested mess. Winter must have been brutal if your kale didn't make it.

    1. Sorry about the rust, that generally isn't a problem here.

  2. I bought Dixondale onions for the first time this year too. I hope they do well. Two of the bunches were really nicely sized, but the walla walla onions were tiny. There were hundreds in one bunch as the bunch was the same size as the other two bunches. I hope they get big though. My transplants tend to be comparable, but I just didn't want to deal with growing them this year. I'll see how they do too. If they do just as well I'll probably continue. If not I'll be growing my own again next year.

  3. I got my onions into the ground last week as well. I can't get over how big the Dixondale onions are - as you say, much larger than those we grow ourselves, it seems. My onion seedlings width more closely resembled a chive than a pencil.

    1. Speaking of chives, that's the size of my shallot seedlings I grew from seed. Oh well, I still got nice size shallots last year so there is hope.


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