Halfway prepared raised bed
Yellow, white, and red oinons ready to be covered with soil. (No reason to pull up the volunteer garlic plants.)
My faithful gardening companion wasn't quite as helpful as when we planted the garlic together last fall.
On Saturday (as planned!) I prepared and then planted one of my 4'x8' raised beds with onion sets. For more about planting onions, click here to read my previously published article on Farmgirl Fare, "Onions In The Garden."
This bed was covered with a thick layer of sheep manure last winter which I worked into the soil with my hoe. This is some beautiful dirt, but it may be a bit too fertile. Instead of large and luscious onions, I may end up with lots of greens and little bulbs. We'll see. A good lesson either way.
And yes, the onions are planted much too close together, but I do that every year. This time I managed to cram in all but about four or five little onions. I'll be thinning and enjoying early spring onions soon!
Usually as soon as the onion sprouts emerge, I mulch between the rows with a thick layer of grass clippings, pretty much effectively smothering all but a few easily plucked out weeds for the entire growing season. But after doing some reading on using companion plants to help block out weeds (and then writing about it as a viable option in the above mentioned article), I figured maybe I should give it a try.
So after covering the onions with soil and tamping it down with my trusty hoe, I marked the five rows with bamboo stakes and then scattered four rows of seeds between the onion rows. Here's what I planted:
Standing on south side of plot looking north:
--Beets, Detroit, (from Pinetree Garden Seeds '06, 63 days) left half & Bull's Blood (Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds '05) right half
--Red, Yellow, & White Onions
--Beets, Lutz Winter Keeper (Pinetree '05, 80 days)
--Lettuce, Amish Deer Tongue (BC '04)
--Lettuce, Dark Lollo Rossa (BC '04--didn't have great germination with these when started in containers so sowed thickly just to use them up)
Using my watering can, I soaked the plot with several gallons of water. Then we had a heavy downpour Saturday night--perfect. The ground should be nice and wet.
This will be an interesting experiment. I figure the worst that will happen is that so many weeds will sprout along with the beets and lettuce that I will end up pulling them all up, feeding them to the chickens, and mulching with grass clippings as usual. But the best case scenario? Tender lettuce in a few weeks, baby beet greens not long after that, and three kinds of beets in a couple of months, all from space that usually goes unplanted.