Thursday, April 16, 2015

Busy Busy Day

This morning I figured I'd get the onions planted. This involves two beds. The first was the storage onion bed. Really it was a bed and a third as the garlic doesn't take a whole bed, so I put the rest of that one in onions. I prepped the bed and planted out the shallots that I had. I made the rows 6" apart but I figured that I would test the in row spacing. Four of the rows got a 6" spacing and three of the rows got a 4" spacing. The rest of the onions hadn't shown up yet. I ordered them from Dixondale* and they said they were shipped earlier in the week.

I put up a row cover over the bed and a half. If you remember I made a special row cover for these so they could be higher. The short row cover that was just a foot high, wasn't even close to being high enough for the onions. I wanted a two foot high cover. I had some old irrigation pipe. It isn't strong enough to be a support for a thick row cover that breaks the wind, but I thought it would be fine for the netting row cover I had. Last winter when I cleaned out the basement I cut them into 8' lengths. Today I pushed them into the soil as far as I could and the row cover was just perfect. (Photos to come later in the post.)

I had to go in to take a phone call. When I was inside I saw the delivery man drop off a big box. It wasn't my onions. It was my perennials for the new front garden. They were from Bluestone*.

I liked their modular system for packaging plants. All the plants were in biodegradable pots which is a huge selling point for me. As you can guess I immediately unpacked them all. And even though the pots were biodegradable (it looks like coir) I ripped most of them off as I don't like such things to wick away moisture. But at least I can compost them instead of having to recycle plastic.

I got out my plan that I made last year. And my measuring tape. I put them in their appropriate spots. Though my plan wasn't perfect. My neighbors behind me (the really nice ones that let me cut down the maple sapling that was growing on their side of the fence, but near the property line that was right on the southern most part of the garden) gave me a gift certificate to Mahoneys (a really nice close gardening center). I went there earlier in the week to buy a support for my sage plant in the circle garden. It only cost 10 bucks. I was going to buy some seeds for next year. But I should never ever walk into a store that sells plants.

I bought a hen and chicks plant and a short sedum. The edge near the driveway and the brick path has the worst soil (lower right). I figure these ought to grow reasonably well there. The plan said some Gallardia would go there, but I think I'll use it as a little river of color though there instead of a large patch.

I only bought three plants for my green path with stepping stones. It might take a little while to get it to spread through the whole thing, but I really think it will be more of a problem to keep a spreading plant out of the rest of the garden than to make sure it fills in.

This perennial garden is only partly planted up. I have other plants growing under lights. Some perennial (two kinds of rudbeckia) and some annual (calendula and zinnia). I also need two more perennials that I don't have. One is a Siberian iris (Cape Cod Boys) which I never got around to ordering. And Moonbeam coreopsis which I totally forgot to get seed for, so I'm just going to walk down to our local garden center and see if they sell it. If not it will be off to Mahoneys again. Though I might end up transplanting some coreopsis from the backyard. It doesn't seen really happy there. It might be more happy in the front.

After a quick lunch which made a good rest break, another package showed up on my doorstep - the onion plants. The red onions were a really nice size. The Copras weren't too bad. But the Walla Wallas were really small. I hope they grow well enough. It looks like they don't count plants. They just give you the same sized bunch. It can have small or larger plants in them. And all of the bundles had way more than they said would be in them.

I filled up that bed that I prepped in the morning. As always Copra - my main storage onion - got the best spot which means farther away from the fence. The other two spit sides of the bed. I had quite a handful of seedling left over. So I put them in the asparagus bed. Most of the asparagus died last year. I'm going to take half of the bed and plant four Brussels sprouts. But they don't need the edge space yet. So I put two rows down the middle and a row on each side of the bed. I put them about 1-2" apart. I'll eat them as green onions in June and maybe into July.

It was a really tiring day. If you have noticed I usually split my work up if possible so I don't do a lot in one day. Especially when I have a full week of gorgeous weather like this week. I want to be out everyday so no need to kill myself on one day. But when plants show up on my doorstep I try hard to get them in right away. I'll wait on the second onion bed that I had planned to do this morning. That is the lettuce, chard, and bunching onion bed. But the bunching onions can wait. Now I just have one more thing to finish today. I have to go out and sweep the front walk as I made a mess of it when I was planting.

*And I haven't received anything from these companies. I'm just a gardener who buys stuff. All opinions are my own. Yadda yadda yadda. If I ever do get anything useful from somewhere I'd let you know. But companies tend to like to offer me things I don't want or can't use so I always turn them down.


  1. Wow, that's a lot of planting in one day! Must be a great feeling to see so much progress, all at once :)
    When it comes to tasks involving leaning, digging, etc., I try to do a little at a time. But last year, a friend offered me a couple of plants when she thinned her perennials, and ended up giving me a ride home in her truck because the many, many plants she generously gave me would not fit in the back of my wagon! I spent 5 solid hours finding places, digging holes, carrying buckets of soil, and so on. Absolutely shattered when finished, but so looking forward to seeing signs of life this year. Soon! Fingers crossed.

  2. Get em girl! Nice work! Holy onions :D

  3. I've never seen onions sold like that for planting. I still have some onions to plant out.

  4. Wow - are those onions ever huge! My transplants are essentially glorified blades of grass right now.

    Your front garden is going to look amazing! I'm such a sucker for succulents - went to pick up some Easter bulbs that I purchased for a school fundraiser and walked out with a couple of pots of succulents as well. They are on my kitchen windowsill for now but I do want to find a nice home for them outside. The way you laid out the trees surrounded by the perennials has inspired me - right now I am simply cutting away the sod for a 4' diameter around each tree, but I may expand the mulched area and include some perennials. As far as I'm concerned, the more grass I can get rid of the better.

  5. Got my Dixondale onions today. They are awesome compared to my attempt to start shallots from seed. Probably won't get to plant them until Sunday or Monday. Given what you have done in one day, you must be tired and sore.

  6. You accomplished a lot for one day! I like the way your perennial bet is coming together. Bet it will look very pretty this summer. I am growing a few onions in pots in the side yard so that Coco can't eat them! Nancy

  7. oh my planting already!! looks like you had a very productive day

  8. As Sue said, we don't see onions being sold like that here in the UK. We are offered seeds or sets, but never seedlings. I hope your perennial garden works out well. It must be exciting to start "from scratch" like that. This year I have split off some offsets from my Rudbeckia and put them in the border, so I am expanding too!