Celebrating Ten Hours of Daylight, 2018
Today is Valentine’s Day. The plan was to find a place to go bird watching, make a fire in our bio-stove and stir-fry lunch. Ray, who loves sweet onions as much as a person can love onions, suggested that we go to Mt Vernon, Washington to the Natural Foods Co-op, who are known to offer local, organic seed selections. Score! They had the Sweet Onion we were looking for, Ailsa Craig. They are now in a pot in the greenhouse, I’ll get back to you on their progress in 4 to 14 days.
Did I mention that it is Valentine’s Day? Neither of us feel very well yet, but we did not want to let the day go by un-celebrated. We had lunch, we had binoculars and cameras, we even had a place, Lake McMurry, on the way home from Mt Vernon (skip the freeway). We also had slush and the trailing edge of the flue we had last week. Our heads ache. I got out long enough to let Rudy stretch his legs before getting right back into the truck, where both of us decided to bag it, go home, eat our cheese and crackers in bed and get over these headaches before Bible study tonight. It was a good decision, AND I got a pot of those sweet onions into a pot.
The weird part of today? We enjoyed ourselves. We like being together. Lord willing, there will be other bird watching days, other picnics, but there is no one else for either of us.
Hope you made someone smile, knowing they are loved by you today. Maybe tomorrow I will start celery and celeriac, Happy Valentine’s Day
Debs in Everett, Washington
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