Saturday, July 2, 2016

A failed onion crop

My onions failed to form bulbs. Were they a long-day variety?
I've had some wonderful onion harvests in the past, but not this year. See my post A sweet onion harvest to see what a successful onion crop looks like. Note: that crop was harvested in May.

So what happened? 

Well, I was distracted this fall with my #floweredshirttour for my third book, The Art of Maintaining a Florida Native Landscape—35 events in 11 weeks from September 1 to November 15th. Instead of taking the time to order my short-day onion plants, I just bought a package of onion sets, which I'd used before, with reasonable success. See my post, The skinny on onions, back when I was just figuring out what to do in Florida. The information I found at the time said that only short-day onions, which is what we need in Florida because we grow onions through the winter, were available as sets.

But when I looked at these onions at the end of June, none of them had formed a bulb or had begun to go into dormancy. I admit that I did not spend very much time babying them in the fall and then in early March, my husband and I were out of town for almost 2 months, so it's possible that they only needed more irrigation and better weeding. But wouldn't that situation just resulted in smaller onions?
Is the information I found about sets just another old gardener's tale? I think so. I believe that these onions are long-day onions because none of them formed a bulb. See my post: Recipe for failure: Long-day onions in Florida.

On the other hand, my garlic, which was a soft-neck variety, which we need in Florida, also failed, so maybe it was the lack of care. At any rate, I pulled up all the garlic and all the onions the other day. 

The whole, pitiful harvest after cleaning. 

 When faced with a failed crop, make soup!

A delicious cold soup for a hot day...

I made a version of my rogue onion soup, but with no celery because I had soooo many onions to use up. It's sad when a whole harvest can be used up in one batch of soup, but this supplied us with 7 large servings (3 dinners and a lunch for one). But, as usual it was really good and so good for us.

I'm loving my rangy marigolds this year—there is so much more biomass.

Marigolds condition the soil

Some of my tall marigolds had leaned into the path through our edible garden, so I trimmed it back and used those trimmings as a green layer in my working compost pile. The leaves of marigold contain a chemical that repels root knot nematodes, so including them in the compost will help condition my whole garden. Read my post Results: the nematode experiment.

Life on a stick...

Life on a stick

The other day I noticed this dead twig, which was totally covered with various lichens and a small ball moss.

Mother Nature is so efficient in finding places to inhabit. 

I've been reposting my articles from the team blog Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens that has gone dark. Our new space is for archiving only (no comments), but at least they are available. Here's my post there, From lawn to woods, a retrospective. From there, you can go the the blog home to see all the articles that have been posted so far.

I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Green Gardening Matters!
Ginny Stibolt

No comments:

Post a Comment