• Tag Archives onions
  • Grounded. At last.

    Spring                                                                       Planting Moon

    Yes!  Planted under the planting moon even if I couldn’t get the bloodroot up for the bloodroot moon.

    We have Wally and Big Daddy onions in, 100 sets each.  Three rows of beets:  Bull’s Blood, Early Blood and Golden.  Pickling cucumbers and Dwarf Gray Sugar Snap Peas.  Of course there was bed prep, too.

    With Kate and I wandering around holding this limb and that a bit tenderly I kept getting the image of a dinner bell, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, perhaps someone playing a little Stephen Foster on the grand piano.

    Of all the gardening chores, planting is the most magical to me.  That tiny seed.  A beet, a cucumber, a pea.  Those small plants, a fat onion, or a thick leek.  Couldn’t plant the leeks today because the ground is still frozen at about 3 inches down.  How about that?  April 27th.

    Had to cancel the Chicago trip due to Kona’s vet bills.  Keeping dogs is a choice and keeping 4 is the same choice 4 times over in terms of food and care.  Choices I have made and make cheerfully.

  • The Late Summer Garden

    Lughnasa                                                          Waning Honey Extraction Moon

    Working in the late summer garden.  Those creepy pre-beetle organisms continue to gnaw on my potato plants and I gnaw right back.  So far the invasion has not gained a significant beach head thanks to soapy water and the occasional visit to prune out bugs.  Parts of the garden where harvest has happened need to be weeded and green manure sowed.  That’s a weekend task.  The onions didn’t do too well this year.  I think the bed they’re in just doesn’t get enough sun anymore.

    Our tomatoes have matured or are close, but we’ve only had a few ripe ones so far.  Too cool.

    Kate planted decorative squash.  I took some time to look at them today.  Their tendrils reach out and grasp other branches, stalks, leaves, curl around them and seal themselves off.  These tendrils though look like springs and function like springs.  They give the squash plant some give as winds and rain put tension on the various connections.  It was easy to see how a clever blacksmith could have looked at this plant and been inspired.

    With the vegetable garden in a slow period we returned to the three tiered garden in our patio area.  I worked there for an hour and a half or so this morning and it felt like being with an old friend.  I’ve spent many hours on my hands and knees among these plants, each one of which I put in the ground myself.  Well, not the trees and the dogwood, but everything else excepting Kate’s squash and zucchini.


  • Bee and Garden Diary

    Mid-Summer                                                                                          Waning Garlic Moon

    Today I performed partial hive box reversals in all three colonies.  The second hive box of three gets rotated to the bottom and the first or bottom box rotates up to take its place.  This means that all the hive boxes have to be moved, so it is a labor intensive activity, especially so now that some honey has begun to be stored.  One hive box was very heavy, my back a bit reluctant.  Having done that I checked the top box on colony 1 and the top two honey supers in colonies 2 and 3.  None of these have much honey.

    Since I put queen excluders on 2 and 3, I pulled those off, intending to leave them off for a couple of days.  At the hobby bee-keeper meetings I’m told this is a common way to get the bees to move up into the honey supers.  I’ll put the queen excluders back on maybe Wednesday.  Since I reversed the bottom and second hive boxes, there’s not much chance the queen will get up there.

    So far the bee season seems to have hurdled the early cold and rain and settled into a more normal pattern.

    The potatoes and leeks both have mounds around their stalks now, blanching for the leeks and more space for the potato plants to produce tubers.  A lot of gardening tasks are very time sensitive and these were among them.  When the potato plants flower (now), they begin to set the tubers.  As the leeks grow, only the parts covered by soil will blanch, turn white, and be useful for cooking.  As the young apples begin to grow, the bags have to go on before the apple maggots come out to play.  Also now.

    The bees, too, require definite care and different kinds of care all through early spring and summer, then less attention around now, when the honey flow begins.  Later in August will come extraction, then preparation of colony 1 for overwintering.  Gonna try one more time.  Colonies 2 and 3 will move out near the truck lane, into the sunny part.  That’s for next year.

    Our tomato plants started from seed have begun to mature, though they are far behind the two plants Kate bought at the green barn.  Those plants have blooms and green tomatoes.  It remains to be seen whether we’ll get any tomatoes from the others.

    We’ve harvested one full planting of spinach, several of lettuce, some sugar snap peas and just this week, lots of strawberries.  We have onions, carrots, beets, more lettuce and spinach, plus pole and bush beans all underway.  There are cherries and plums in the orchard in addition to the apples and the raspberry canes are in good mid-season form.  We’re going to have a good season as we continue to learn how to use our garden to complement and supplement what we buy at the grocery store.

  • Nix Still Comes Down…Geesh

    Imbolc                                                       Waning Bridgit Moon

    This has been a nix two-day event.  The Woolly’s, for the first time I recall, canceled.  Too little parking around Charlie Haislet’s condo.

    The days events scattered around me, I never quite got traction, feel a little down.  Nothing bad, just wheels spinning.  Don’t like it.

    The snow-blower, which needs a tune-up, chugged, coughed and sputtered, but worked long enough to blow the snow off the sidewalk.  I was glad.  This was too heavy for a shoveling session.

    Kate and I do plan to join the Y here after I get back from Blue Cloud.  I’m after a personal trainer to get a resistance work out going again, plus I’m going to do my first Pilates and attend a bodyflow class that uses a combination of Tai-Chi, yoga and Pilates.  Sounds fun to me.  I’m deconditioned right now when it comes to muscle mass, so shoveling the walk would have hurt.  My aerobic conditioning is fine, no heart attack likely, but a lot of back and shoulder ache.  Looking forward to getting back to resistance work.

    So, I’m gonna workout then roast a chicken with garlic cloves under its skin and onions on the inside.  These are our garlic and onions, still useful this far into the season.  I’m also going to use some canned beans from 2007.  A little bulgur and we’ll have a meal.

  • Cooking With Clay

    Winter                                            Waning Moon of the Winter Solstice

    A long time ago I got a clay pot for cooking, a romertopf.  Over many years I used it at least every several weeks, then it went in the cupboard, not to come back into the kitchen.  Until today.  A free-range chicken, 40 of our garlic cloves, two of our onions and the last of our leeks went in with the last of our carrots and 7 small potatoes.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 475, take the top off to let it brown and voila!  A tasty, moist chicken with sides already done.  Throw in a steam in the bag collection of green beans, a Kate made chicken gravy and we were ready for lunch.

    My cooking tends to be like that, large amounts with leftovers, whether soup or chicken.

  • Planting and Reaping

    Fall                                            Waning Harvest Moon

    The last forty bulbs, a monet tulip collection, have gone in the ground.   I planted a couple of hundred daffodil and tulips at various spots in the orchard, which we see from the table while eating breakfast.  The others, more daffodils and tulips along with a bunch of new lilies, went into the tiered beds off our patio.  Spring color has such an invigorating effect after winter.

    It was more hassle, but I went ahead and amended the sandy orchard soil where I planted the monet tulips.  Without the composted manure/top soil mixture, the sandy soil would not support these tulips for long, especially since most tulips are biennials at best in our garden.

    With all the bulbs and corms put to bed, I went to work taking out all the remaining root crops:  onions, beets and carrots.  We had a large number of each, enough to add to our stores for the coming winter.  I also picked four big leeks since I plan to reprise my leek based chicken pot pies.  Over the next week I’ll have to pull the remainder of the leeks and make something with them.  The last butternut squash came in as well.

    With the exception of putting the bees up for the winter the only remaining necessary garden chore will be mulching once the ground freezes.  I have oak leaves and still hold out hope that I can find actual bales of straw somewhere.

  • Harvest

    Fall                                      New (Harvest) Moon

    Second round of apiguard in the parent and the divide.  The top box on the package colony has gotten heavier, but I plan to feed them some more as I will do to the parent once the apiguard comes off in two weeks.  Sometime in early November I’ll get out the cardboard wraps and cover the hives for winter.  That will pretty much finish bee work for the year until late February or early March.  I’ve given away honey and plan to give away more.  Part of the fun.

    A quick walk through the vegetable garden shows kale and swiss chard looking good, a few rogue onions that escaped the harvest, plenty of carrots, beets and butternut squash.  The harvest is 2010-10-04_0351not yet over and will go on until the ground threatens to become hard.

    While I drove through the countryside on my way back to Lafayette on Monday, I passed field after field of corn and beans, some harvested, some not, about half and half.  Seeing those scenes put me right back at home, especially the corn fields.  Here’s a field near Peru, Indiana with the combine spilling corn into a tractor trailer for transport either to a corn bin, grain dryer or even straight to the grain elevators, all depending on the price and moisture content of the corn.

    Indiana is no longer home, Minnesota is, but Indiana has a large section of my heart, the chamber of childhood and early young adulthood, a room full of corn fields, basketball, small towns, a baby sister and brother, county fairs and James Whitcomb Riley poems.  I was glad to be there the last few days and to walk again in the part of my heart filled there so long ago.

    We move now toward Samhain, Summer’s End.  Blessed be.

  • Planting During the Full Planting Moon

    Beltane                                    Full Planting Moon

    Ah, the sweet feel of being in synch with the moon.  I planted Scarlet Nantes carrots and golden beets amongst the green onions and the radicchio.  Threw in a few zinnias for good measure.  Next in the onion bed with storage onions, dill, marigolds and some other flower I can’t recall, I planted more carrots, more golden beets and some Red Russian Kale.  Over in the bed with the Russian sage, some leftover onion and garlic and the bok choy, I planted Swiss Chard, beets vulgaris (I love that), the deep red ones, arugula and flame lettuce.

    At that point the direct sun got to me so I retreated to the garage to turn on the zone for the area I had just planted.  The beds seemed dry to me, so I wondered about its time and its arc.  Sure enough, it’s going 360 when I want 180.  That means the veggies only get half of the water they need.  Later on the drip irrigation will provide most of what they need, but now, in drier conditions and with seeds starting over-head watering is the best.  I’ll change the arc when it finishes this round.

    The cold also leaves me more exhausted than the work would usually suggest.  Now I’m inside for the siesta time period:  lunch, a nap, perhaps some Latin.  As the evening cools, I’m going to go out and at least dead head the grasses and other weeds that are about to go to seed.  Then I can take them out with a hoe at my leisure.

  • A lot today

    Spring                                  Awakening Moon

    Rain last night.  Thanks to all you who offered a faith tradition appropriate rain whatever.  It worked!  That means the onion sets I planted have a nice present in their new home and the garlic and parsnip received encouragement.

    Since it was a wet, cool morning, I did just what I said I would, sat in my study and worked on Chapter 12 of Wheelock, the Perfect Active System for all conjugations.  Better than it sounds.

    At 11:30 I drove into the art institute for a walk through of the ArtRemix exhibit.  More later when I’m not tired and I’ve had a chance to process what I’ve learned.

    Back home to Andover, in bed, slept for an hour, then back in the truck with Kate and out to the last of Brenda Langston’s course on healthy eating, healthy living.  Good stuff.