A: About 1/2 in per day (July 26 evening- July 29 morning).
A: About one inch per day. (July 19 evening – July 22 morning)
The grass is always greener…
High mowing suggests trimming onion seedlings when they reach 5" to make them grow thicker and stronger. We did not remember to trim them while they were growing under the lights, but decided to try a side-by-side comparison with some plants trimmed just after transplanting them in the garden.
Many of our transplanted walla-walla onions were very close to the recommended 5" height for trimming. I selected a 5×5 grid of the onions (out of the 14×5 grid of walla wallas planted) and trimmed the tops.
Below is a picture ot the allium bed before and after the trimming experiment — rows 3-7 from the back/right edge are the walla walla onions. Most of the walla wallas near the bottom of this picture were close to 5", so the grid of 5×5 walla wallas on the bottom was selected for the trimming experiment.
|Before trimming||After trimming|
Close up of one of the walla wallas before and after trimming — the leaf was trimmed from 7" down to a little over 1".
A few of the walla wallas in the 5×5 grid were almost double the height recommended for trimming because they had been seeded a week earlier. For the sake of uniformity, I trimmed these onions too, but left close to 3" of the onion top as opposed to 1-2" for the smaller ones. Below is an example of one of the larger walla wallas before and after trimming:
The trimmed onion tops caught up with the untrimmed tops quickly. By week 4, they were similar in size and it was difficult to tell them apart.
Trimmed onions, Week 4 (May 20)
Untrimmed onions, Week 4 (May 20)
Trimmed onions, Week 8 (June 17)
Untrimmed onions, Week 8 (June 17)
We harvested the onions on July 22. There still was no strong noticeable difference between the trimmed and untrimmed onions. Both conditions grew well and had good sized onions, but the trimming did not seem to give much, if any, advantage to the onions.
Trimmed onions, harvest day (July 22)
Untrimmed onions, harvest day (July 22)
Braving the cold and watching the approaching Nor'Easter, we found what appears to be a perfect tomato at Market Basket, New England grown, labeled "Backyard Farms". Looking that up, we found a 42-acre hydroponic greenhouse in Maine. This is how you feed locavores in the Northeast winters.
Save the date – we will hold our annual Seed Selection Meeting on Saturday, January 28 in Community Room of the Community Safety Building from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
Everyone interested in the crops & varieties we will grow in the garden this season is welcome. Prospective new members of the garden group are especially encouraged to attend and join the discussion. Bring your seed catalogs and great expectations for the season to come!
You will find the Community Safety Building at 112 Mystic Street. When you enter the building, go directly up the stairs in front of you. Our meeting room is on the left.
Our seventh year of gardening year began with the January seed meeting, followed by some excellent research for new varieties in February. March saw the first seedlings started indoors and opening day at the garden. In April, the final 2 (of 12) main garden beds were double-dug, and our first seeds (and seedlings) went into the garden.
In May, we discovered a rabbit's nest in some knee-high winter rye, causing a delay in planting our bush beans. (All bunnies successfully fledged and eventually graduated out of the garden.) For the first time, we started sweet potato slips from our previous-year's tubers and experimented with row cover on the Swiss chard.
Drought was significant for most of the season. Watering seemed relentless, especially in early summer when many young seedlings were getting established. Our carrots suffered, tomatoes were once again a target for thirsty wildlife and (for the first time) our eggplants were targeted.
June saw a bountiful crop of peas, our earliest cherry tomatoes ever, and the best-looking spring broccoli and bok choi to date. Sadly, our okra seedlings struggled… and the seedlings purchased to replace them didn't fare much better. In July, we harvested our best-ever garlic, along with our earliest summer squash and full-sized tomatoes.
August was abundant, and graced us with another beautiful crop of bok choi. Yet, we suffered disappointment when our onions died off before reaching full size. September (always our most productive month) saw the additional payoff of our pelleted seed experiment, with our best crop of parsnips to date.
October saw our last harvests of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, and our first harvests of cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Garlic (reserved from our June harvest) was replanted in November, which also saw the last harvest for most crops. We enjoyed lettuce and arugula (under plastic) through mid-December and hardy collards and kale through the end of the year.
Garlic: best ever (see journal post)!
Leeks: did well, despite drought
Onions: less impressive than 2015 (due to drought?) – try mid-season feeding, more compost, increased spacing? Sets did well
Scallions: bad year, poor germination on both plantings – try more vigorous variety? try switching location with Shallots? add nitrogen fertilizer?
Shallots: plants from seed did better than sets – try 2 seed varieties?
Walking Onions: 2nd planting of bulblets did well (1st planting mostly failed), harvest of previous year’s plants tasty