Planting Onion Sets in Spring

It is officially spring and I finally had a day I could start planting the onions. I would like to have planted them a few weeks ago but it is by no means too late. I want to make sure my spring cool weather plants are in by April 9th. They came in the mail a week ago and we kept them fresh by storing them in the fridge until we could plant.

Planting onions is going to be a big task this year because dad ordered $27 worth of sets. That’s a LOT of onions! We more than likely will be selling them this fall because I don’t think we will need that many for the year. It’s better to have too many than not enough though and I can’t stand buying produce when I can grow it on my own and know exactly the methods it was grown. I don’t have to worry about consuming pesticides when the food comes from my backyard.

Today we planted 5 beds of onions and we didn’t even use a quarter of what we bought! Yikes… When I lived on the farm it would have been no big deal but when space is limited in the garden you have to plant wisely.

I started working with the beds just like when I did the garlic. Β Then I made my rows and started setting the onions in. I made a video so it is easier to see exactly how I do it. Leveling and making rows

I set an onion in the shallow trench I made, allowing the roots to splay out on the soil and not be all bunched up and tangled. Then I move soil to cover the roots and partway up the onion. Tamping it down gently but firmly so the onion will stay standing up and get a good beginning, I move on to the next plant. I made a short little video to show you how. Planting Onions video

The onions we have been growing get huge, so I plant them 5 or 6 inches apart. The recommended spacing is 4 inches. Usually I only do two rows in my 18″wide beds but I’m thinking with as many onions as I have got to find homes for this spring, I may double them up.

I want them to have plenty of room for good air flow. I also want them spaced far enough apart that they are not competing for water and nutrients. Today I planted only the two rows but I’m seriously contemplating going back and doubling what I did. I’ll get the advice of my dad before I do. He, my mom and I are partners in crime as we plan what to grow in our joint garden. πŸ™‚

Now is the time to be getting in you spring plants. These will include lettuces, spinach, radishes, peas, chard, kale, green onions and anything that can handle a little bit of frost as we move into warm weather. I have another post from a couple years ago that might be helpful.

4 weeks before frost date

baby-plants-and-strawberries-in-my-garden-and-what-to-plant-2-weeks-before-the-last-frost-date/

Happy Planting!

Elisa

 

 

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When and How to Plant Garlic Cloves

When to Plant:

I have been looking forward to this day for a month now. When February rolls around it is time for me to find my garlic source and plan where I’m planting it this year. I like to plant between the middle of February to the beginning of March. I live in zone 6a. Here is a map to figure out what zone you live in. It will help determine when you will be planting. UTAHΒ Β  United States

Last year I just went to Walmart and grabbed whatever they had. Our garlic crop wasn’t the best πŸ™ , but I can’t actually blame it on the generic garlic cloves. That is a story in it’s self involving two separate incidents with super helpful family members.

First story:

Each year we divide the garden between all of us, the boys and I, so we have certain things we are in charge of for the season. Last year the garlic was Luke’s charge. He was 12 and had been involved in the garden every year of his life, so I gave him the responsibility of planting the garlic on his own. It should have been fine. I should have supervised. πŸ™‚

He planted the garlic but he got it too shallow. Many of the bulbs heaved up out of the ground with the frosts. That left a smaller crop of garlic but then helpful family member number two enters the scene!

Story 2:

My husband decided to be super wonderful and weed a garden bed for me. He went for the garlic bed. Some tomato plants had sprung up on their own from seeds that fell the year before. We were going to weed them out and grow our tomatoes elsewhere, allowing the remaining garlic to keep growing. Brian saw those awesome tomatoes growing and weeded all of the grassy looking ‘weeds’ out of the bed. That grass happened to be the garlic that had survived the shallow planting! Ha ha ha!

This year I took the planting of the garlic on for myself. I picked up good organic garlic from the health food store. I then waited for the weekend and some decent weather.

Get the bed ready

To get the bed ready I tilled up the soil with my electric Mantis tiller that I love. I got it for my birthday the summer of 2011 and have had zero trouble with it since. My dad owns one too. It is the second he has owned since I was a kid growing up in Wyoming. These tillers are small but they pack a whollop:) I have even tilled sod with it.

I have a post HERE about how I get my beds ready if I am starting from scratch.

My 4 year old niece was hanging out with me and she wanted to help. She was actually quite a good helper. She got her hands dirty and it was fun to hear her chatter away as we worked.

Once the soil was good and tilled I should have added in some pre-plant fertilizer as outlined HERE, but I didn’t have it ready and I didn’t want to delay my planting any more. Spring is coming quickly and I knew if I didn’t get going it wouldn’t get done…. I know, shortcuts. They will bite you in the end. If my garlic doesn’t turn out as good as I hoped please remind me of my hastiness!

Level the bed

Next I got out the level and as straight of a board as I could find (my dad helped me out with some new lumber of his). I used this to get the soil good and level. If you don’t do this straight off the bat your bed will be slanted all season and your water will pool at one end. I have done this enough times to know πŸ™‚ Not leveling the bed gives you good garlic at one end of your bed and puny dried up garlic at the other end!

Tyler joined us for a little bit. It turns out he just wanted a ride somewhere so he thought he’d help first and then ask! Smart boy!

Depth and width

Once leveled, I poke holes in the soil with the end of my shovel. I go about 4 to 6 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart. I think I got these a little further apart than that. It is better to err on the side of too far apart rather than too close together. For plant health they need air circulating and plenty of water and nutrients in the soil.

It’s important to make sure the root end is down and the pointy end is up. I showed my niece and she did a perfect job.

BTW, I like to garden with my gloves off so I can feel the soil. This is not super friendly for pretty nails, so I wear them short!

Finishing up

With the garlic all in the holes, I filled them with soil and my niece patted them after me. We made a good team! Our rows aren’t super straight but they will do.

I bought about 10 bulbs and we got 4 rows of 29. I say ‘about’ 10 bulbs because yesterday my 14 year old was feeling like he was getting sick, so to keep healthy he took some garlic. He didn’t know this was planting garlic πŸ™‚

Now all I’ve got to do is wait for the spring rains to wake the garlic up and get it growing. It is such a miracle and I never tire of seeing the green poking through the soil!

Follow up

This is garlic from the year before last.

When the ground starts to dry up you will want to watch the moisture in your soil. When it starts to get dry on the top after the spring rains and it is warm enough that the ground is not freezing at night, you will want to water.

pvc watering system

I use a pvc system we built and in the heat of the summer I water about 30 seconds to 1 minute a day with it. If the soil is moist on top I don’t water that day.

Any comments or questions? Let me know below!

Happy Planting!

Elisa

UPDATE

Here is an update on the garlic. It has been a few weeks since I planted and look at how awesome they are looking! I love growing food!Β 

 

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Shepherd’s Pie with Beans

I am going to take a crack at writing a recipe on a new gadget I found here at WordPress. I am starting with Shepherd’s Pie because we ate it the other night and it was delicious! Continue reading “Shepherd’s Pie with Beans”

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How to Cook Brown Rice in a Pressure Cooker

In this post I will explain how to cook brown rice in a pressure cooker. It turns out perfect every time and we don’t have to worry about burning the rice from heating it too long or over cooking it, or any of the common problems we used to have when we cooked rice. Continue reading “How to Cook Brown Rice in a Pressure Cooker”

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Quick Whole Food Recipes

I am always looking for quick whole food recipes. This one is quick, simple and tasty!

Friday was a day of running around trying to get things done for the weekend. There were groceries to get, and a trip to Salt Lake City which is 45 minutes away for a guitar lesson. We also had our weekly family party night. We usually eat homemade pizza, but I was running so late that pizza wasn’t going to happen quick enough for my hungry belly. Continue reading “Quick Whole Food Recipes”

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Carrots The Size of an Arm!

 

My dad dug up a small section of carrots this evening and look at what he dug up! Wow! These are huge! The awesome thing about it is the carrots are good all the way through. They are not woody or old tasting, they are sweet and yummy!

Check out how big that sucker is! Continue reading “Carrots The Size of an Arm!”

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Heal Bruises Naturally

My family has a go-to herbal remedy when we want to heal a bruise or a cut naturally. It works pretty fast and has amazed us on several occasions! We have put it on a bruise one day and the bruise will be completely gone the next day. Seeing this once or twice really helps little kids when they come to you with their cute little owies and want you to help them somehow. Just put a little bit of this salve on and it works wonders for their hurt and also their tender emotions! Continue reading “Heal Bruises Naturally”

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