Gardening kickoff

Today I decided it was time to get the garden going again for this year.  For the most part I think I’ll do much of the same things as last year, but I did want to try at least one thing new this year.  I read about growing onions and garlic over the winter, but unfortunately now is not the time to plant garlic, from what I understand.  Apparently you plant that in the fall and then it sprouts in the spring. But onions do well this time of year.  So I decided to start planting those today.  Although, I’m a little worried I actually waited too late even for onions.  I read you can start planting them as early as 30 days before the last frost of the year, and then one chart said Mar 15 is the cutoff date for Alabama.  But the garden shops are still selling onion bulbs right now, so it was worth a shot.  For $3.75 for a bundle of about 30 onion bulbs I haven’t broken the bank if they don’t grow.Apr13-garden (4)So I headed out to the garden to investigate where to plant my onion babies.  I bought Georgia sweet onions which are “short-day” growers.  So they don’t need sun all day long, but ideally at least 6 hours of sunlight.  Since I’ll be planting tomatoes and peppers in the raised bed again soon, I left that area open.  And the far side of the garden will get cantaloup and watermelons in another month or so (and it’s the sunniest spot of the garden.)  So then I have an area next to the raised bed that I never planted anything in last year because it doesn’t get the best sunlight (the pear tree blocks all morning sun).  But I noticed today that by 1:30pm. sunlight was starting to hit this section, so I decided to make it home for my little onion patch.Apr13-garden (5)So I pulled back the weed block, got my garden rake and began tilling the soil.  Once I loosened it up really nicely, I went and filled the wheelbarrow up with a few shovel-fulls of compost from my compost bin.  I add kitchen goodies to it from time to time throughout the year, so it’s nice when I have it ready to use in the springtime.  You can read how I made it HERE.  Then I also had some organic potting soil that I bought last summer and never used, so I added that to my compost as well.  Then I mixed all that good soil in with the dirt in the garden.Apr13-garden (8) Apr13-garden (12) Apr13-garden (14)Apr13-garden (17)As you can see in the picture above, there’s a lot more richness to the compost dirt as opposed to the dirt from the garden.  But even the garden dirt had some good worms in it which is always a good sign.  Once the dirt was mixed, I smoothed it out and then made two raised rows.  Having never grown onions before, I searched for whatever tips I could find and one gardening website recommended these rows.Apr13-garden (18) Apr13-garden (20)But since you plant onions just barely below the surface, you have to pack the soil down to help hold them in place.  So you’ll see in the pictures that the row on the left is already packed down and the one on the right is not.  Then I just laid out my bulbs to make sure I had room, and then I planted them into the ground.  They are spaced about 4 inches apart and the rows are about 1 ft apart.  The bulb itself is buried so that only about 1/3 of the bulb is in the ground, and the roots are totally underground.  Although on some of the smaller ones it was hard to really tell where the top of the bulb started, since they weren’t quite as round as some of the bigger ones.Apr13-garden (23) Apr13-garden (24) Apr13-garden (27) Apr13-garden (28)Now we just wait and see how they grow.  I need to read again on what the time frame for harvesting these babies is.  Not sure if I should be checking on them in a few weeks or a month or so.  But at least they’re in the ground and ready to grow!


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  1. Pingback: Watching the Garden Grow | Everyday Amy

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