Saturday, October 31, 2009

Garden Journal 10/31/09: Happy Halloween!

Wild Persimmons and Autumn Color (catch more of it here)

I've never grown pumpkins (have you?), but this time of year the persimmon trees are full of tiny fruits that are the perfect shape and color—just a whole lot tinier. Unfortunately I think they taste like soap, but the sheep and donkeys—and even some of the dogs—are crazy about them and will literally stand under the trees waiting for more to fall. Best of all, the persimmons flourish year in and year out without any help from me.

© Copyright 2009, the fallen fruit foodie farm blog where we may not get any trick-or-treaters since we're several miles from the nearest neighbor, but at least there are always plenty of spooky bats and spiders.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Garden Journal 10/17/09: Widespread Frost Warning

And This Isn't Even the Half of It

Realization of the Day:
Looks like it's time to make some of my Super Simple, No Sugar, Salsa-Like Green Tomato Relish!

So what do you like to do with green tomatoes?

© Copyright 2009, the fluffing up for winter and enjoying the warmth of wood heat foodie farm blog where our 'official' frost date is October 15th, so while tonight's prediction of 30° (and as much as 10° colder down here in our little valley if the skies are clear) isn't a big surprise, the first frost forecast always causes a bit of a stir—especially out in the garden.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Garden Journal 10/8/09: Growing Short Day Onion Varieties in Spring and Free Green Onions in Fall

Fresh Scallions in October? No Problem—and No Effort!

Realization of the Day:
This is perfect green onion growing weather!

I've mentioned before how I love it when my inefficiency in the garden ends up rewarding me with food—and it's happened again. Back in early March, I planted seven of the nine varieties of onion plants that I ordered from Dixondale Farms. You'll find my previous post about these onion plants here, in which I admitted that up until this year, I had no idea that the size of an onion bulb is dependent upon daylength and temperature, not the size or age of the plants.

Because southern Missouri is on the edge of Dixondale's 'which varieties are right for you' map, I went ahead and ordered all three types of onions that they offer—Long Day, Intermediate Day, and Short Day—just to see how they fared, and also because there were no open-pollinated varieties of Intermediate Day onions (which are perfect for Missouri) available and I didn't want to grow just hybrids (which are usually not allowed in my garden!).

I ordered three kinds of Short Day onions: 1015 Texas Super Sweet, White Bermuda, and Southern Belle Red. According to Dixondale's map, Missouri isn't technically in the Short Day growing area, but here's what their description says:

Short Day onions start the bulbing process when the day length reaches 10-12 hours. Since they are planted in the south during the winter or early spring months, they take approximately 110 days to mature. When planted in northern states in late spring, they mature in just 75 days, but produce smaller bulbs. The earlier you plant them, the larger they get.

My 1015Y Texas Super Sweets did well (I'll share photos and write more about them in a future post), and while the White Bermudas didn't get very big, the reason I tried them is because not only is this an heirloom variety that's been grown by Dixondale since 1898, but the description says it's 'great for green onions as it produces a nice, white, large scallion in just 30 days.'

Unfortunately the Southern Belle Reds (another open-pollinated variety) didn't make it into the ground until several weeks (maybe even more than a month—I apparently forgot to take notes) after the original planting (and the Candys never did get planted). They formed tiny bulbs which were soon obliterated by weeds and forgotten until the other day when I realized they were sprouting.

I now have a beautiful little patch of fresh green onions to enjoy as the rest of the garden winds down (the purple basil you can see in the photo above is still flourishing three and a half months after the first harvest). Thanks again to the dozens of you who responded to my request last year for your favorite ways to enjoy green onions.

I was telling a gardening friend the other day about my volunteer green onions, and he said that if you leave a mature onion bulb in the ground, it will eventually form a brand new onion. This makes sense and doesn't. I'm guessing the original onion (from which these fall green onions are sprouting) rots and then regrows a whole new bulb? I may just have to leave some of these Southern Belle Reds in the ground and find out.

This was my first year growing onions from purchased plants, and I'm very happy with the results—especially considering I grew my biggest onions ever despite our wacky, inhospitable-to-growing-onions (and leeks—but that's a whole other blog post) spring weather. A friend who lives nearby said she usually harvests big, beautiful onions and had a pitiful crop this year, so I'm hoping for even bigger bounty in 2010.

How did your onions do this year? Any favorite varieties, growing tips, amusing stories, or recipes to share?

Previous onion posts:
6/2/09: Harvesting Spring Onions Grown from Purchased Plants
6/7/08: What To Do with 125 Green Onions (Scallions)
6/7/08: Wanted: Your Recipes and Favorite Ways to Use Green Onions
6/12/05: Growing Onions In The Garden
It's Time to Plant Onions!
Operation Onion Complete!
Companion Planting Beets & Lettuce with Onions

More ways to enjoy scallions and spring onions:
Sour Cream & Onion Dip
Savory Cheese & Scallion Scones
Fiesta Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip
Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw
Summer in a Bowl
Colors of Summer Salad
Healthy Swiss Chard Tuna Salad with Kalamata Olives
Swiss Chard Cabbage Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Cottage Cheese
Sprinkled on top of Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip
Three Onion & Three Cheese Pizza

© Copyright 2009, the rainy day foodie farm blog where the hillsides have started changing to yellows, reds, and browns, but the garden is coming up green.