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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 (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?

Quote of the Day: Michael Nolan

May 10th, 2015

“There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those.”

~ Michael Nolan

peony 1 (1)
peony 4
peony_behind_fence 2
This time of year I’m reminded of why I love gardening so much. It clears the mind, it fills the heart, it restores the spirit. This past winter I spent a lot of time reading novels instead of gardening books, while I enjoyed them, they don’t feed my heart like dreaming about gardens does.

What catches your heart?

Friday Favorite: Phenology

May 8th, 2015

Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation).

I’ve always been fascinated by the old rules of when to plant things. Yesterday I noticed the first dandelion blooming in the lawn.
File May 07, 7 53 02 PM
It’s funny because I was thinking to myself not five minutes before that it was getting to be about time to plant potatoes. The old saying is that you plant your potatoes when the first dandelion blooms. If you’re interested in this like I am, here’s a great list of Phenology that relates to vegetable planting.

Do you have any rules for planting vegetables that you use?

Sapling Trellis

May 7th, 2015

On Monday there were a few questions about how I connected my sapling trellis together, ropes, nails, etc. The truth is I didn’t use much of anything. When building this type of trellis you weave the saplings through the upright posts and this creates a very strong trellis. You can see blow how the saplings are woven in this fashion. I try to alternate thick ends with small ends so that there aren’t spots with lots of the smaller tops coming together in one section of the trellis.
sapling trellis 2
I like to use saplings that are decently sized, nothing too tiny or it wouldn’t be as strong. I don’t tie the horizontal pieces to the vertical pieces. The strength of the saplings is enough to that by themselves. When possible I try to leave the saplings as long as possible so I can use the very thin tops to connect them together if necessary.
sapling trellis 3
On occasion if I have two sides meet and there’s not enough space to weave the ends around each other I will tie the small saplings together. I only used two pieces of twine on this pea trellis.
sapling trellis 1
pea trellis 2
Hopefully that gives you an idea of how this is built. It’s quite an easy process, the harvest part is cutting all the saplings. There’s quite a stand of them out back, I could build fences all around my garden if I wanted to, which I might if I get some extra time.
wattle fence
I took this idea a step further and built a small wattle fence around my 5×5 Challenge garden. I’ll try to get better photos of it someday, I just snapped a quick picture with my phone the day I built it. There is no rope on this little sapling fence, it’s quite amazing how they stay together and are quite strong.

What do you use for building trellises and plant supports?

Gearing Up

May 5th, 2015

We’re gearing up for the busy garden chore season. Mr Chiots has been out tuning up all the small engines in the household. It’s amazing how many you need to have to keep things mowed, trimmed, cut, chipped, and generally tidy. A few of the engines needed some work, luckily the vintage riding mower fired right up.
vintage cub cadet garden tractor
You can read more about this great little tractor in this post. It won’t be long until it will be mowing a few acres every week.

Do have many engines to maintain for garden maintenance?

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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.