Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Using Sheep Manure as an Organic Fertilizer in the Garden (and What's Keeping Me from Working in Mine)

Audrey's Twins
Audrey's twins, ten days old.

This is what's keeping me from the garden—all the cuteness down at the sheep barn!

Realization of the Day:
I haven't put anything into the ground yet, including the $39 worth of mail-ordered onion and leek plants that arrived a week and a half ago.

Lambing season is in full swing here on the farm, with two sets of twins and a big spotted girl arriving in just the past two days. All planting woes aside, the good news is that, besides being surrounded by adorable bouncing babies, I'm building up my organic fertilizer empire!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Garden Journal 3/11/10: Growing Onions from Purchased Plants - Ordering and Planning

1015Y Texas SuperSweet onions harvested last June.

Realization of the Day:
Despite numerous failures and disappointments in the garden over the years, when it comes to buying seeds and plants I'm still a consummate optimist. I also have no self control. This can be a dangerous combination—and pricey, too.

Last spring was the first time I grew onions from purchased plants rather than onion sets, and despite the fact that many of them bloomed way too early (which means I ended up with some fairly small onions) I enjoyed some delicious success—and still ended up with bigger onions than I've ever grown from sets. (The flowering was most likely due to some wet and wacky spring weather, and I'm hoping to cover this problem in a future post). I wrote a little about last year's onion growing here and here.

For experiment's sake, in late February of 2009 I ordered a total of 10 bunches (approximately 60 plants per bunch) of 9 different varieties of onions (along with hundreds of leek plants—which was a whole other growing adventure I've been meaning to write about) from Dixondale Farms in Texas, the oldest and largest onion farm in the U.S.

I'm running a little later with my ordering and planting this year, but according to Dixondale's shipping schedule, March 9th was their suggested ship date for my area. I also ordered fewer plants and fewer varieties, sticking to the ones that did the best for me last year.

More below. . .