Who wants walking onions?

onion-bed-fullFive months ago, I was excited that our onions were finally walking.

Now our onion bed is packed — and that’s after giving some away in the neighborhood and beyond.

Right now they feel more like green onions on steroids. But come summer, I figure every green stalk you see will give off at least three bulbs and we will have dozens of shallots. I’ll know how those people in Asheville were feeling when they put out a bowl of onion bulbs for the taking. Be sure to stop by and claim some. Or I can bring you some.

This is the last harvest of the year. No, this is. Actually, there’s one more.

I thought this was pretty much the last of the garden produce, aside from the odd tomato (and then the lemongrass stalks I harvested while transplanting the plants into indoor pots for the winter):

october-harvest

But when we cleaned up the tomato bed in late October, we ended gleaned plenty more, some with more appealing looks than others, plus a few more peppers:

tomato-gleaning

The fall peas, planted in August, were still there, and we’d noticed the white flowers. But we’d given up on any actual pods. Guess the Brit planted too late, we said. No bees around to pollinate, we decided.

november-pea-flowers

And then we spotted this, while mulching leaves for the compost bin. I think there may be about three pods.

november-pea-pod

Lesson learned. Plant in July if there is room in the bed. Otherwise don’t bother.

3 colors of beans

three colors of beans

Fun!

Purple, yellow and traditional green — this is why I bought that packet of bean seeds back in early May. Though the purple ones in particular lose their color pretty quickly. I’ll stick to 20 seconds in the microwave and leave a lot of crunch.

We will need to work at keeping up with the vegetables from the garden — that or have a party and cook for lots of people. We still have plenty of kale, though the salad greens are starting to bolt. And then there’s the output from this year’s three zucchini plants: we seem to get at least one zucchini a day. What to do with all of those? Add to stir fry, spiralize into noodles, make chocolate zucchini cake — or? Otherwise I will just have to freeze for winter baking). Perhaps the zucchini and beans are feeding off each other in a two-sister variation of the three-sister plantings (corn, beans and squash) that Native Americans favored.

The tomatoes have yet to ripen, though at least we can see fruit  (yes, I’m jealous, Izzy).

This was Saturday’s harvest:

saturday harvest july 2016

including more of those beans, plus some basil:

saturday beans and basil

Feeding the tomato plants, naturally

It’s July 1 and I’m excited that we have a few green tomatoes among our dozen or so tomato plants. It’s been an unusually dry June, so some plants are still on the small side. No idea when they’ll ripen. But the lemon boy plant has this:

lemon boy tomato july 1 2016

And one of the Caspian pinks is offering up this:

caspian pink july 1 2016

I won’t show you the smaller ones, but I’m hoping I can get a growth spurt going thanks to a gift from some friends — a big bag of extremely light, extremely fluffy Lancaster county cow manure. Honestly, this is so light, it feels like sawdust. Sold by the honor system for $5 a bag. Honestly, the horse farm down the road should bag up its aged manure and sell it on the side of the road too.

tomato food

We don’t use chemical fertilizers, and we still need to put down last fall’s mulched leaves/compost as a way to feed the soil and keep down weeds. So I’ve put a trowel full of manure around each plant, plus some egg shells for calcium and to create obstacles for creepy crawly bugs, and have tried to water it all in. Maybe I should give them another dose next week?

fed tomato plant july 1 2016

The onions are walking

onions2

A couple of years back, we picked up some “walking onion” bulbs during a West Asheville garden tour. This is a perennial, and we were curious what it would do. When, we wondered, does harvesting end the perennialness of this plant? And how does it handle winter?

We didn’t do much last year beyond planting a few of the year’s new bulbs. But this year the raised bed was bursting with green early on. At one point this spring, I needed an onion and thought maybe I’d find one. I rooted around with my fingers but felt nothing thicker than a leak. I guess onions don’t survive the cold. I wondered if we’d done something wrong and we wouldn’t get anything. At least the deer were leaving them alone. Perhaps a squirrel dug up a few, but we weren’t concerned about fencing in this crop.

onions

Then the stalks really shot up and twisted a bit. They reminded me of garlic, and I briefly wondered if I needed to cut them, like garlic scapes. But before I could decide, the wrapped-up bulbs at the top started opening up, and multiple bulbs were inside — sometimes three, sometimes five, sometimes even more. The stalks toughened enough to stay upright. And sometimes another stalk grew from one of those above-ground bulbs, eventually creating more.

This was interesting. We eventually pulled one out. The onion we found was more the shape of a shallot than your standard round onion. But it worked just like an onion when we cooked, and if we cut the stalk in thin slivers with scissors, we could use that instead of green onions. Sensing we would have a glut of bulbs, we started handing out a few to friends.

And then the plants flopped over.

This, it turns out, is what they mean by walking.

onions walking

Left to themselves, the new bulbs will seed and start new plants. (I’ll put them where I want, thank you.) The onions are now mostly pulled out of the soil, so, yes, I think we need to harvest those.

I’m hoping that this year’s bulbs will turn into new onions next year. And I’m curious what will happen before frost — another crop? I’ll find out; I’ve already started planting them.

And it’s time to keep giving away those bulbs.

Adding to the garden

Our flower beds are packed… but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about additions.

So far I’ve kept it pretty much to just an idea — except for this Weigela “Prince Red” that is supposed to bloom all summer long. Love the burgundy! We’ve put it in the backyard where we are thinking of creating a private “room”, and this could be a wall. We’ll see what happens as it expands. And yes, it’s not a deer favorite.

weigelia red prince

I’d like to add more red to the front garden — blanket flower or helenium or … I’d have to subtract a bit first to make room. Or maybe the red day lilies will be more prolific and visible in their new home (at least I think I moved them out of the sea of black-eyed Susans last year).

Amazingly, the lenten roses are still blooming in May. The daffodils unfortunately are long gone.

lenten rose in may

And we’re starting to plant the vegetable beds. One of the leek containers imported from Indiana went in this weekend (about two dozen seedlings), as did the Yukon Gold seed potatoes I found there. Got to put in the other leek container in the coming days.

Carrots, kale, lettuce are in. Lemon basil is ready for planting.

Tomatoes will go in soon too. We’ve snared one of the new Rutgers 250 variety, and we have a mystery variety from an Indiana friend. Sun golds are growing … and who knows how we’ll fill the remaining space? We are limiting ourselves to no more than 10 plants this year. Famous last words!