Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What to do with rogue onions?

A few of my onions have been blooming too early.
For some reason a number of our short-day onions have bloomed early this year. Once they bloom, it's time to pull them (unless you're collecting seed) because the energy stored in the bulb will be used up for the flowering.

In a normal onion crop the bulb is produced one year and then goes dormant when we harvest and dry it for storage. If it's not harvested, it will bloom the next season. The early blooming onions are not dormant and don't store well, so we needed to use them quickly. There is quite a bit of volume. While the bulb is relatively small, there are all those delicious leaves to use, too.

Stir the onions, barley, garlic, garlic chives and celery in olive oil
until the onions start to caramelize.

When our garden hands us too many rogue onions, I make rogue onion soup!

Here is the recipe for this delicious soup. You can serve it hot or cold--we had it cold.

6 blooming onions, thinly sliced
1 store-bought onion, chopped
3 meadow garlic plants, chopped
1 shoot of garlic chives, chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped 
1/3 cup dried barley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
6 cups of water
2/3 cup of dried potato
1/2 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh dill and a flower of wild garlic for garnish.

Stir the onions, barley, meadow garlic, garlic chives, and celery in olive oil until the onions start to caramelize. Stir in the parsley until it wilts then add the water and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. At this point you could run it through the food processor for a smooth soup, but I did not go through that step. While it's still hot, stir in the potatoes, yogurt, and cheese. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with chopped dill and the tops of the wild garlic. Serves 6.

When your garden provides too many rogue onions, make rogue onion soup.

How does this beautiful patch of moss survive in this dry sandhill ecosystem?

Mother Nature's Mysteries

No matter how much we study ecosystems and think we know the answers for which plants will grow where and under which circumstances, there are many instances when there is no obvious answer.

For instance, there is a 965-acre conservation area adjacent to our neighborhood that’s owned by the St. Johns Water Management District and maintained by the county. Most of it is a dry, sandy upland dominated by longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) and oaks (Quercus spp.). It’s been managed with fire over the years to maintain the open pine ecosystem. So how does this lovely patch of moss, clubmoss, and lichen survive here? Read my latest post over on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens blog: Mother Nature's Mysteries.

In a rain garden at the edge of the front pond, rain lilies (Zephyranthes atamasca) and a lizard's tail (Saururus cernuus), which will bloom later in the season.
A rain lily sprouting from a damp spot in our freedom lawn.

Around the yard

I love our native rain lilies. They just seems so earnest. People ask me how can we stand having a lawn where anything that's green is mowed. If I showed them a photo of this cute volunteer rain lily in a damp spot in the yard, they'd understand. I'll dig it out and move it to one of my rain gardens where it won't be mowed.

I've been busy with spring clean up and have started some new projects. Stay tuned to find out what I've been working on. 
Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) after a rain.

At last year's gardenfest in St. Augustine.

Meet me in St. Augustine!

I'll be a vendor at the EPIC Spring Celebration Gardenfest on April 12th & 13th at St. Johns County Agricultural Center St. Augustine, FL 32092 (SW of the intersection of I-95 & Rt 16.). Hours are Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. So come and talk to me about your gardens.

I will be giving away meadow garlic (Allium canadense) plants to anyone who buys a book and selling them to others-- $1 each as long as they last. It's an excellent perennial native crop. See Harvest-directed cooking to see a photo of the garlic.

If I don't see you this weekend, I hope you are enjoying spring wherever you are.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt


  1. What is the plant growing in the top left corner of the waterlily picture? It looks like some kind of rush or reed to me. is it a waterlilly? I have it growing thruout our waterfront property. thanks!

  2. The heart-shaped leaves are the lizard's tail--later in the summer it will have a white inflorescence that bends over under its own weight. Also there are the soft rushes (Juncus effusus subsp.solutus). It's quite common in my yard, not only in the pond, but anywhere where there is some moisture. It even grows in my edible garden beds.
    You can see more on the lizard's tail in my first post on the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog

    1. Thank you! I thought it was a rush! It's been bugging me not knowing. My next door neighbor refusesto mow by the pond & they've grown 6 feet tall!

    2. If they are 6 feet tall, it may be a different rush--maybe a bull rush.