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.  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. 🙂

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

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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. UTAH   United States

Last year I just went to Walmart and grabbed whatever they had. Our garlic crop wasn’t the best 🙁 , 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. 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂

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! 

 

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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”

FREE Quick Meal Planner

I have been spending a lot of my time the last two months working on a food planning project for quick meals to make. I have uploaded one of the pages I’ve made so you can benefit from my work.:) In the planning that is not shown here I am working on a file of Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Salads, Treats and Sauces which are all Whole Foods Plant Based. I work on these projects to make food planning seamless for my family. We know what foods are available in the pantry and always have plenty of healthy vitalizing foods to make. I like sharing these things with you!

Enjoy some simple healthy meals with this planner. It uses up what is in your pantry, fridge and garden if you have one growing, or what you have stored from last season.

Quick Meal Planner

Food Journal January 25th Day 3 of a Detox Diet

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Today I had my daily smoothie at 11:30. I was going to stop doing intermittent fasting but I was not hungry until 11:30 and I did not want to force myself to eat. I’d have to see some major evidence that eating when you’re not hungry is good for you before I would do it. I already have issues with food, why would I want to start another one. Half an hour after my smoothie my 13 year old boy made baked sweet potato fries, so I had some of those. He did a good job seasoning them with olive oil, salt and Italian seasoning. Next time I suggested he cook them at 450 degrees for 20+ minutes to get them a little more crisp but the way he did it was fine too.

I ate again at 7pm. I meant to eat earlier but it just did not happen. I spend time canning the tomatoes that we had run through the food mill and froze last summer when we were being over run with fresh food from the garden.  I’ve got another 5 gallon bucket to do still….

canning tomatoes

For dinner my 12 year old boy and I cooked tilapia for those in the family who want animal protein and a salad with lots of greens, cucumbers, mushrooms, avocado slices and a few olives. We also heated up the rest of the Lentil Soup from yesterdays dinner. Yummy food. The avocados and olives are great sources of fats. I doubled up on veggies to make up for not eating the fish. Veggies have the right amount of protein our bodies need if we eat enough of them!

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When we were through eating, there were leftover mushrooms so I sauteed them with some onions, salt and olive oil. I don’t love mushrooms raw but I adore them when they are cooked. Mmmm. I didn’t take a picture of them before they were gone, ha ha!

So, all in all a pretty good eating day. I have been 3 days without any form of sugar other than what is in berries and apples. I am also staying away from the other 6 foods that most people are intolerant to. They are eggs, soy, gluten, dairy, corn and peanuts. I’m doing this for 21 days and then slowly I’ll add those things back in to see if I am intolerant to any of them. Day 3… done.

P.S. I have felt terrible for 2 days. I know it is detox symptoms so that is encouraging. Detox symptoms can range from fevers to cold symptoms to the flu. Mine is a headache, stuffiness and being tired. I drank a bunch of water today that will help flush out the stuff my body is trying to get rid of that is making me sick. So anyway, I did not exercise today because I don’t feel good.

 

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Review on The Virgin Diet

I’m re-investing some of my time each day into researching health topics to keep up my good health momentum. I ran across JJ Virgin’s book called the Virgin Diet. I have skimmed through the book and found many good points, advice and ideas that will help me stay on track.

Some of the information, such as the down sides to plant based nutrition, I don’t agree with because of the experience of growing up with an extremely healthy vegetarian mom. I agree with most of the other premises based on the research, experience and training I have.

JJ Virgin wrote a very comprehensive, well thought out and doable plan that I will be incorporating into what I do.

I wanted to know what JJ thought of Intermittent Fasting and found this article.
http://jjvirgin.com/fat-loss-fast-metabolism-intermittent-fasting-fast/
She has some concerns about it but also sees the positives. She suggests doing IF in an altered manner which I resonate with and will try. The object of IF is to cut your eating window down to about 8 hours so your body can take a break from digesting and heal and rejuvenate. We can still keep that span quite closely if we stop eating earlier in the day. JJ suggests having breakfast at 8, lunch between 12 and 2, and then dinner around 6. After 6 you would stop eating until the next morning at 8 which would give you a fasting window of about 13-14 hours. This is totally doable. Another suggestion is to skip dinner once in a while for a longer fasting window which I like better than skipping breakfast because breakfast is usually my most health meal.

I will try out what I am learning, compare it to what I have learned in the past and figure out what works best for my body. That is all we can do, right? Do the best with what we know until we know better.

Travel food

I am driving 10 hours to California today to drop my boy off at college. Part of the drive is for my 16 year old to get hours in for his driving license so part of the drive is kind of stressful!

We are on a budget with food, so we packed snacks and stuff for sandwiches with zero fast food in the plans. We are eating celery sticks, baby carrots, hummus, guacamole, reduced fat triscuits, pickles, apples, oranges, orange juice and I brought my Sun Warrior protein powder. The boys are putting mayo, cheese and meat on their whole grain sandwiches and I had guacamole and some cheese on mine. As I work on getting back to eating Whole Foods Plant Based I won’t add the cheese. I also snacked on some valentine candy hearts and felt sick afterwards so it taught me a lesson. I have a sweet tooth that I am constantly fighting. When I go about a week with no sugar the cravings go away. I need to get back to that point again.

1-15-16 Food Diary

I fasted till noon and had my shake.

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A bit later I cut up carrots and cauliflower to snack on with the rest of the hummus I made the other day. My boys finished it off.

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I wanted something sweet so I cut up an apple to share with my boys.

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All went well until my family went to Dairy Delight, our local burger joint, to celebrate my son’s graduation from our home school complete with official diploma and transcripts.

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We let each kid spend $10 on whatever they wanted and I did the same. I tried to make good choices by getting a salad with dressing on the side, a garden  burger(veggie burger), and a shake. It turned out that the salad was covered in cheese and the burger was covered in mayo. Once upon a time that would have been delicious but I am used to my low fat versions of these foods and these things just tasted like fat.

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It was a good evening though. We ate at 6 and I stopped eating after that. We went home and played a non gambling version of 21.

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For exercise I walked with my mom and puppy a mile and a half and then played fetch with the pup for a while.

1/14/16 Food Diary

AAAAaaaarrrgghhh!!! Two weeks of Intermittent Fasting down the drain!

I’ve been doing so good. Every day I wait until noon to start eating, which does a ton of great things but I was waylay-ed by my sons homemade white bread, butter and jam. Ugh. I pay my 13 year old to bake our bread instead of paying the store for their processed stuff. That way he can help pay for his Taekwondo classes and we get fresh bread. I only buy the whole grain stuff from him, but he had a wild hair after researching new bread making techniques and wanted to try using bread flour which is *white* flour. Well, it is one of my triggers for overeating and I could not withstand the temptation yesterday morning when there was fluffy, white, gorgeous, usually only for special occasions, white bread.

Now I’m not sure if I am going to start over on my goal to make Intermittent Fasting a habit or start another one. I stick to one goal at a time so I can hyper-focus on it. I am fasting this morning and there is no more white bread so I should do just fine. Maybe it is already a habit to fast in the morning. I hope so. The benefits reported from it are fat burning, cell regeneration and cleansing, brain cells are made, and so many great things.

http://www.mercola.com/infographics/intermittent-fasting.htm   This is an infographic from Dr. Mercola about it. I follow the schedule at the bottom of the page pretty closely. I just saw that he recommends a 6 hour eating window instead of the 8 that I follow. I’ll have to study that out a bit and see if it’s something I want to do. I don’t agree with the omitting of whole grains though. I know better than that.

Now for yesterdays food: It’s not pretty.

10 am   3 thick slices of home made white bread, butter, home made grape jelly (this wouldn’t have been so bad if it had been within my eating window.)

I taught music lessons the rest of the day so I couldn’t eat again until 6:30. If I hadn’t eaten the bread I would have made a smoothie at noon.

6:30 big bowl of Vegetable Soup and animal crackers

7:30 I went to a church gathering and tried 2 home made doughnut holes and 1 cookie.

Today I am off to a good start and as I write this I realize that Intermittent Fasting is a habit for me now. I will continue on and start on my 28 day challenge so I can win my medal for a new habit I’ve made. (more on that later 🙂

EXERCISE:

Mom and I did the basic 15 minute TTAPP video, then Jon Gabriel’s HIIT program. I did jumprope for the cardio part of it. I am a bit sore today which means I did a good job 😉