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Planting Onions

May 11th, 2015

When you first begin gardening you follow the recommendations on the seed packets and in the gardening books. Then you read books that give different tips and you see different methods while visiting gardens.
onions at Johnnys seeds
I remember when I first started growing onions, I carefully planted them with the proper distance in between bulbs. Then I saw where someone planted them closer, just like Johnny’s Seeds does at their research farm in the photo above. I started planting them closer, and closer, and closer with no loss in size of quality of onions.
onions (1)
Then I read in Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Course to plant them in clumps of three. GENIUS – I though to myself and I started using this method. They grow just as well as when planted individually and it’s so much faster to plant them this way then in individually. They are also much easier to weed since there aren’t individual plants to weed around.
onions
onions (2)
Yesterday I planted 60 seedlings each of 9 different varieties of onions. Onions are one of those things I love to grow, I could definitely get them cheaper at the farmers market, but I love the process of starting them from seed in February, planting them in the garden in May, harvesting them in July, and eating them all winter. There’s something about growing onions that I love.

Have you discovered any interesting planting methods that went against the normal recommendations?

Planting Frenzy

April 29th, 2015

I spent a few minutes on Sunday and an hour yesterday planting around 250 lettuce seedlings in the garden. That’s a lot of lettuce, but amazingly it will all be eaten. We will eat most of it, the remainder will be given to neighbors and friends. I might have even planted enough to take a basket each week to my local soup kitchen. Now that these seedlings are planted I’ll be starting flats of heat tolerant lettuces for summer salads.
File Apr 28, 9 30 26 PM
Some readers ask if it’s worth taking the time to start lettuce seedlings indoor, I think it is and will always do it. These seedlings will be big enough for me to start harvesting outer leaves in only two weeks. The seeds that I direct seeded in the garden are just beginning to germinate. Seeding flats gives me a 3 week jump on the growing season. Some of the containers I seeded at the same time are ready to be harvested. I’m so happy it’s salad season and could easily eat it three times a day (and often do).

Do you plant large quantities of any vegetables?

Lotsa Lettuces

April 27th, 2015

Yesterday I spent a little bit of time transplanting lettuce seedlings. They were a bit bigger than I’d like, but with all the rain and cold nights we’ve been having lately I couldn’t get them planted sooner.
lotsa lettuce 1
Luckily it started raining as I was finishing up, so they’ll get watered in quite nicely.
lotsa lettuce 2
These beauties were planted in alternating rows in the garden. I find that this helps me keep the varieties separated much more easily. I’m super excited about salad season and I think that I should be able to harvest a salad or two from my container lettuce this week. Guess it’s time to start making up a few batches of dressing.

What’s your favorite type of lettuce to grow?

Lotsa Lettuce

March 16th, 2015

I’m a sucker for lettuce seeds. When I read through the descriptions and see the beautiful images in the seed catalogs I go a little overboard. I do like a lot of variety in my salad bowl and find that five or six types of lettuce makes for a great salad.
Lettuce seedlings
I have found that lettuce seeds are often best to be purchased fresh each year. I used to keep them for a few years, but germination is so much faster and so many more seeds germinate when the seeds are really fresh. Now all of my leftover seed from the year gets thrown into planters in the fall that get overwintered in the basement. Then I have a nice crop of mesclun for salads in the early winter months.
lettuce 1
On Saturday I started a flat of lettuces & endive, there are 15 varieties in all that were started this go around. There are also three other varieties in planters in the basement…..and I have another 15 that are later season varieties that will replace these when the weather warms up a bit. Then I have another 10-15 varieties that will be grown in the fall/winter. Butterheads are my favorite types of lettuce, with romaine coming in a close second. Leaf lettuce are probably my least favorite. I like a lot of crunch and texture in my lettuce. Endive and other bitter greens are also always in my salad bowl, nothing rounds out sweet greens like a bit a bitterness!

What’s your favorite kind of lettuce to grow?

Starting Lettuce

February 19th, 2015

Usually I have a few planters of lettuce and greens going in the winter, this year I never got around to starting them. The day before yesterday I finally got a few seeds into a planter. I love this mix from Renee’s Garden, it produces very nicely in my long narrow planter boxes. They lettuce does very well now that the days are getting longer and we’re getting almost 12 hours of light.
Renees garden lettuce
I’ve always grown a small amount of greens during the winter. It’s worth the fun in my book, even if there isn’t that much of a harvest.
lettuce 2
lettuce in pot
In a month and a half or so I should be eating delicious homegrown lettuce. While I long to have a greenhouse for winter growing, until I do I’ll be grown herbs and greens in planter boxes tucked in front of every south facing window we have. Here’s to homegrown lettuce while there’s still snow on the ground!

Do you have any edibles growing on your windowsills?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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