It’s January and time to plant onion sets! Onion sets can be purchased at your local garden center. Sets are immature bulbs that were started from seed the previous year. The seed are sown closely so that they stay small and then pulled when they are about a half an inch round. Onion sets are inexpensive and contain about 75 onions. At Raincatcher’s we are planting Red Creole, Early White, and Super Sweet. Next week- Lancelot Leeks.
Dallas Garden Buzz is loaded with onion stories and recipes. Type onion in the search box to catch up on alliums!
Video by Starla Willis
Onion Planting by Dorothy Shockley
And did you know…
Thank you from The Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills!
Sow radish seeds early February through mid- April. We enjoyed them all through fall and winter and now get a second chance. Radishes are perhaps one of the most satisfying crops because they germinate quickly and profusely from seed but don’t forget to thin them! At approximately two weeks old or one inch in height, snip off the leaves and add the tops right into your salad bowl. In fact, you can eat radish tops anytime. They are one of the “root to leaf” crops being touted by American chefs and gardeners.
A word from Jerry Parsons, Ph.D., horticulture specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension in San Antonio: “Plants require a certain amount of space for optimum root expansion and foliage growth if maximum production is expected.” The key words to understand are “optimum” and “maximum” . Plants limited by space restrictions will produce, but not to the maximum. They will grow, but not in the optimum condition. This is true for those vegetables which need space to physically expand (the radish, turnip, onion bulb) as well as all vegetables which need the intensity of sunlight to energize the chlorophyll of cells to insure optimum functioning of plant processes and, consequently, maximum production.”
Onions-you have probably already planted them or are “fixin” to get them into the ground.
Remember to allow space for them to grow. Judge this by the expected size of the variety you are planting.
For example, green onions need less space than the larger bulbs of 1015Y onions. Spring is coming! Here’s what you can look forward to as an onion grower.
No worries about how to eat these crops. The Dallas County Master Gardener Cookbook, A Year On The Plate, will have plenty of recipes. (Publishing Date To Be Determined) But just like spring, it’s coming!
Onion Planting Advice : The Lowly Onion
Pictures and Video by Starla
Oh, oh, oh and don’t forget National Seed Swap Day at Preston Forest, Whole Foods Market today from 12-4.
Master Gardeners will be there with seed activities and seeds to give away.
If you have been eating your way through the garden this winter, no doubt you are acquainted with the brassica family. Members of this family include arugula, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, rutabaga, turnips, radishes, collard greens and mustard greens. They are cool season vegetables, planted in the fall in Dallas, Texas and harvested all through our mild winter.
Right now I am smacking my lips thinking of the cauliflower picked and prepared at Linda’s yesterday. The recipe will be in our new Master Gardener cookbook, A Year on the Plate, which we hope, hope, hope to publish this year.
Along with harvesting and enjoying winter veggies, you should be planting onions now. Onion planting instructions and recipes are all through our blog. You can’t escape them.
Pictures by Starla
What’s coming up in 2016?
Seed Swap Day at Whole Foods at Preston Forest, January 30
More information about our cookbook, A Year on the Plate.
A how-to video about braiding onions so you will remember to get yours planted right away
The dirt’s flying at the new Rainctcher’s Garden-into the new raised vegetable beds on the north field.
Straight rows of onions stand like little soldiers, the first vegetables planted at the new garden. We planted one bunch each of 1015y (yellow) and Southern Belle Red (red). Potatoes are next!
The top 12 inches of the beds have been filled with a generous gift of Vegetable Garden Mix from Living Earth Technology, made of compost, sandy loam, aged mulch, and other ingredients. We topped it off with some of our homemade compost.
Last week the first of our trees, an urban forest demonstration was planted. Expect to see more about berm building and tree planting next week.
Pictures by Starla
Writing taken from Jim and Elizabeth emails
Onion Peelings here.
Confused by the weather this year? One minute you are wearing your winter clothes and the next day it’s almost 90 degrees, with it feels like the same amount of humidity. Then Dallas suffered through a severe drought, only to be drowned by flash floods. Even the dogs and cats can’t decide whether to shed their winter coats or curl up into a warm ball in their beds. — And just think about the plants. If we are having difficulty adjusting, what must they “feel.”
Many of our native plants have evolved to handle Texas’ “if-you-don’t-like-the-weather, just-wait-a-minute” fluctuations. However this year’s drastic changes in temperature and moisture have been particularly hard on onions. Jim Dempsey reported that after the last hard freeze, at least one fourth of the Demonstration Garden’s onions were lost. Now many onions are beginning to bolt (i.e. go to seed). Other vegetable gardeners throughout Dallas are reporting that more than the usual numbers of their onions are bolting. Why is this happening?
According to Dixondale Onion Farm (www.dixondalefarm.com) in Carrizo Springs, Texas, there are several causes for onions bolting. Bolting in onions is a survival mechanism in response to stress. The onion “thinks” it is dying and sends up a flower stalk in order to reproduce to insure its survival into the next generation. Temperature fluctuations and cold weather stress are the most common cause of this. Dixondale’s website says that “when the temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit for a prolonged period, the plant becomes dormant. When the temperature rises, the plant grows. If cold weather returns, the plant goes dormant again, and with returning warmth, it will grow again. Two or more dormant/growth cycles will likely result in bolting.” This certainly sounds like our winter/spring!!
Other factors that contribute to bolting in onions are: (1) Too loose a soil: if onion roots are too disturbed, the onion may react by thinking that it is starving and begin to prematurely go to seed; and (2) Over-fertilization which results in the onion’s growing too quickly. Though both of these causes may be prevented by correct onion planting practices, there isn’t much that can be done about the weather.
If your onions are bolting however, don’t despair. Though bolted onions have stopped growing and cannot be stored for a long period of time, they are perfectly edible. So go ahead, pick them, and enjoy them in your salads, soups and casseroles. Yum,,,,,,,,,,
Onions, onions, onions here.
Picture by Starla
Hooray for vegetable gardening in Dallas because it is an all year feast thanks to our mild winters.
Dig back to the beginning of 2013: in January little onion sets, no bigger than a pencil, were planted. Now baseball size onions are ready for harvest
And ready for curing… and new recipes.
This makes it possible to cook with each season’s bounty of homegrown vegetables all year.
The Earth-Kind® WaterWise Demonstration Gardeners will be providing more farm to table recipes using our produce. More onion recipes are coming.
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