Celebrating Ten Hours of Daylight in Everett, Washington
Still recovering and taking it easy. That and I’m TRYING to not do too much too soon in the Garden.
My tradition has always been to plant onion seed in mid January. By mid-February I am usually giving my onions their first “hair cut” but I am just getting started this year (2018). In addition to Torpedo (my favorite summer onion because it can be used at any stage) and New York (a storage onion that I am successful with in Everett, Washington), I thought I also had seed to start some Alisa Craig, a sweet onion that we grew for the first time last season (2017). LOVE! I am pretty sure I can pick them up downtown Everett at the Natural Foods Co-op… if they ever decide to put out their seed racks.
You can grow onion from seed! Here is what you need and what to do.
- Find a 4-inch pot. Four inches is the minimum. Any pot will work, they are not going to live here very long.
- Onion Seed: this is actually the fun part. Order from your favorite catalog, or find a packet on a seed rack. I am always amazed at all the different varieties. Try something new! The only onion I do not start in late winter is Washington’s famous Walla Walla. They need to be started in August, not February. Otherwise, go wild!
- Potting Soil: It really is ok to just scoop some from your healthy garden but you can also buy potting soil or special seed starting soil. Your onions will not care. What ever you choose, I find it helpful to wet it before planting in it.
- Optional: If you have a heat mat (NOT a heating pad like you might use on your neck) your seeds will sprout as soon as 3 days. Vermiculite is nice to cover onion seed. It keeps moisture near the seeds and makes it easy to see those pretty green sprouts
- Plant your onion seed: Fill your pot (with moist soil) up to a half inch from the top. Sprinkle on your seed, cover with more soil or vermiculite (about a quarter inch deep). Label you pot. Wait for sprouts!
It was another beautiful afternoon. I lasted a little longer then yesterday AND I did not hurt as much when I did come in.
Artichokes are on the schedule for day 3, Monday the 12th. If you are doing the New Testament in 2018 (#NTin2018) with me, we will be reading Mark chapter 3
Debs, recovering in Everett, WA.
The Maritime Garden in January…
You cannot just look at all the seed catalogs showing up at the house and not want to start SOMETHING. The sun always comes out between “systems” to call us out to the garden. It is really too cold to do much but here is what we can do in January (Everett, Washington)
- Start onions, shallots and leeks from seed. If you have seed, 4-inch plastic pots, potting soil (I use what I find in last years flower pots) and a heat mat for seeds, then you can grow any kind of onion you want. At The Toy Box we usually grow New York Early for winter storage and the pretty red Italian Tropea for a summer onion. I usually try something new every year.
- Winter Sow herbs, artichokes and any “difficult to grow from seed” plants. The only difficult thing about winter sowing is patience.
- Grow a pot or three of micro greens.
- Scallions, radishes, and Asian greens will be slow but they will grow in a pot or box in the green house. I love picking something bright and fresh for my bentos and winter dishes. We have also grown lettuces but tender lettuce suffers from extreme cold and radiant heat of an unheated green house. The slugs come to clean them up, which always makes me madder then a hatter. I start spinach in the same box but it is hit or miss because of how hot it can get in a small green house. Give them a try if you have the space, by March you will be happy that you did.
- Keep harvesting winter vegetables from the garden. We have leeks, beets, herbs, kale and some broccoli that is hanging on. We also have turnips, and various greens. Neither my celeriac or carrots survived past August because of the heat and drought of summer 2015
- ….what’s that you say? You do not have any winter veggies in your garden? Now is the time to start planning your 2016 garden, make room for them.
Debs…. who really wants to apologize for the quality of this first video in over two years. But I am laughing too hard. We will get better!
The Garden Journal
January 16, 2016 and I am glad we got out while it was pretty out to make the video last weekend. Today it is raining…. cold, bone chilling rain. After all, it is January. 50/44 F but it is so damp it feels much colder. Sunrise at 7:53; sunset at 4:44 giving us 8 hours and 9 minutes of day light. It looks like it will be cold and wet for the rest of the week.
The Toy Box has produced beautiful onions every season. Confidence with growing onion seed does not belong to me. I know I can get inexpensive onion plants but I like the harder to find onions, which means expensive. Since Ray put up the green house I am going to try growing my own transplants this year.
Mixed bed of onions and broccoli in the Toy Box.
I do have some older seed but due to my lack of confidence I want to start fresh.
Tiny Cipollini Onions, part of the 2012 harvest last September
Ray and I are in love with the tiny cippolini onions we have always got as plants. To buy this type of onion from a grocery store makes them seem like a silly indulgence. Then again, paying a premium price for plants is an indulgence we can no longer afford. They are wonderful with roast beef or chicken. TSC suggests using them as part of the vegetable mix for shish-kabob. Simply roasted in the oven with herbs and olive oil alongside a nice bean soup is fantastic!
Personally, my favorite onion in summer is the light red torpedo, also sold as Tropea. I once saw Lidia use one on her show just as I was reading about them in a garden catalog. Not too sweet, they have just enough bite in salads and summer food to remind me why I love to cook garden food. I use them at all stages through the summer. They store ok but the flavor is best right out of the ground.
For winter I have always favored leeks, the fatter the better. Now that I am back to school I have not been using vegetables that are still in the ground. The taste of Leeks are better than cold storage onions but if they are still buried in frozen soil where I am not likely to go dig them on a icy winter day after school, then maybe I should re think them?
Tiny onion sprouts
Too cold to start any seed today. There is a new moon tonight with the ominous name, Wolf Moon. (The Hebrew name is a less frightening Shvat.) We are getting up before the sun and ending our days early. All the while bundling up against the icy cold. Sunrise at 7:55 AM only to set 8 hours and 44 minutes later at 4:39 PM