Monday, June 19, 2017

Good onions, bad onions

You know I've had my share
Out of the ground and done:
  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Strawberries
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Red onions
  • Cilantro
  • Snow peas
  • Elephant garlic
Just about finished:
  • Red potatoes (already started harvesting)
  • White onions (tomorrow)
  • hard-neck garlic (Thursday and Friday, assuming we get no more rain)
 I'm still planting bush beans even though I'm also harvesting them, and the raspberries are going nuts. Not sure on the pears -- the fire blight of 2015 has returned -- but apples and peaches are off the charts.  If I had cherries this year, I never saw them. 

But while we are eating healthy here* on Rancho d'El Borak, one little problem has arisen.  The onions you see on the table are full, fist-sized beasts that will store quite well, but they all came from the north end of my raised beds. The onions from the south end, both red and white, are about half-sized and are good only for chopping up for this weekend's burgers. Why? Because the maples that a decade ago shielded crops from the harshest of the Kansas sun now smother about half of the beds.  Rather than cut down the trees***, I'll be moving the beds this winter to a sunnier place on the south of the house.  So it's a good thing I built them to be uprootable and easily moved.

But there's additional reason I'm moving them.  Given the various excremental objects being thrown at our national rotating oscillator as we speak, I've decided that the beds need to be doubled in size again, and I really can't do that where they are.  So I've located 2 pallets of cinder blocks and a nice open place where I hope to a) grow as many vegetables next year as a family of nine can eat, and b) create at least two marketable products as part of our local CSA/farmer's alliance.  I'm reading old USDA brochures on growing horseradish as an annual and will be saving all my big garlic bulbs for seed.  I have a greenhouse/hoophouse in my sights****, but I will only buy it with money I earn from selling crops.  If I can't accomplish that, I don't really want to farm bad enough to need one.

The plan, which involves a lot more work on important things that I hope will lead to less work on unimportant things, is called Luke's Tower. We'll see how it plays out over the next 36 months...

* I'm convinced that once I turned 50, my doctor instituted a conspiracy against my health**.  Every time I see him he finds something else wrong with me.  Most of it has been fixed by getting as much wheat as possible out of my diet. I haven't lost much weight but I had to buy smaller pants, my belt is about to be downgraded again, and my blood pressure and cholesterol are back to human levels.
** And Billy Connolly is not really joking. I've forgotten what he looks like.
*** If it were my decision, I'd lose the trees. But the lovely and gracious Rogue likes them right where they are, and alive.
**** Actually, I have two coming.  The 8'x6'x7' hard-sided greenhouse is a done deal. I'll be using it to stay in spinach and lettuce and radishes all winter. The other is a 20'x48' hoop house.  We'll see on that one.


  1. Love the stories. Asparagus, rhubarb, raspberry and another bush type(s) this year. All hand dug. Partly from your inspiration. Mayme next year or following, a 2.5k water catcment and raised beds. Still have a compost center going in, and started a worm (compost) farm.

    Still a bit jealous. Thanks for much.

    1. I'm glad you find it of value. Last night we had crappie from the pond, boiled new potatoes, and fresh green beans. That's living.

      I pulled the last of the white onions and planted the (former) red onion bed with more bush beans. Tonight I'll put potatoes in the (former) white onion bed and probably start pulling the garlic. Since I have two beds to pull and hang, and it's going to rain again Friday, I'll probably need the extra day...

      If we have one more 'incident' over Syria and/or the Baltics, I'll be stopping by the store on the way home and picking up 3-5 more sets of onions and a whole bunch of seed potatoes. Might be a hungry winter...