Saturday, March 6, 2010

Got Onions?

What is our first crop planted for the year?   Onions.  Yellow onions, to be precise. 

Mom and Onions Savana and Onions

And we had some unexpected help.  My cousin Savana, the fastest onion-slinger in the Midwest. 

Onion Slinger

Anyway, first things first, Dad tilled a row in the upper garden yesterday. 


Then today, he and Savana threw in the fertilizer and raked it in.  Jack cheered on her efforts from the sidelines, before he grew bored and chased a cat with Cloe.  Cloe declined to become a farm dog this year.

Savana and Fertilizer Savana and Fertilizer

Once that was done, Dad armed himself with his trusty tomato stake and poked two holes, side by side, all down the row.  About three by four inches apart.  Well, it started out that way until we still had most of a bag left so, he went back and poked some more holes in between.

Dad and His Onion-Hole
Poker Making Onion Holes

Savana and my job was to stick the onion bulbs in.  Mom then tucked them into their cold little dirt beds--which didn't help us much when it came time to figure out where to poke in our third row of holes.

Three Onion Farmers Yellow Onions

Row marked, and we were done.  Easy peasy :-)

Mom Staking the Row Savana the Midwest Vanna

I'll check back in a couple weeks, and see if we have any greenery showing.

Facts, Figures, and a little Nonsense:
  • Onions - 160 yellow onions.  $1.59 per bag of 80 bulbs.
  • Fertilizer - 6-26-26 or as I call it the "Dippin' Dot lookalike".  $15 per 50 lbs, but only about 2 lbs used.
  • Time - 15 minutes of good, old fashioned fun :-)
  • Concerns - The entire crop freezing solid in the ground :-(
  • Signs - Bank of Bloomsdale calendar, the trusty guide to just about everything for gardening and the like, advises the following days for plantings root crops this month: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th (us), 10th, 11th, 12th, 30th, and 31st.
  • Miscellaneous pictures:

Yellow Onion Package Onion Instructions Mom and Bank of Bloomsdale Callendar Bank of Bloomsdale Calendar 6-26-26 Fertilizer

Sunny Days are Here Again

Take a look.  I wasn't the only one venturing outside for the first taste of real sun with real warmth behind it.  The croci were too.

Crocus3 Crocus Bunch Crocus

And what do I spy with my little camera eye?  A scattering of  succulents.  :-)


The birds were out, too--but this isn't the first we've seen the cardinals and chickadees.  As you can tell, they squat all year long.  At least they are pretty squatters.

Cardinal Eating Cardinal Tree

But thanks to the temps, I could lay down a beach towel and . . .  well, not sun bathe, but make like a hunk o' innocuous junk in the yard.  That's how I got these closeups.

Cardinal on Sunflower Feeder Chickadee on Sunflower Feeder Cardinal Feeding on a Log

Conspiring Bees Until a bee much like these conspiring duo from last year came and buzzed me.

I'm afraid birds don't believe in the innocence of junk that screams and rolls around like a dog on fire.

Anyway, we all enjoyed the sun while it lasted.

Cardinal Feeding on a Log Jack with a Treat Sun Cat Spike Sunning Savana and Jack at the Pond

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Great Buckwheat Experiment

This year we are going to grow. Drumroll please..... 


Buckwheat Seeds

No, we are not into gluten free cooking.  Although, I heard buckwheat pancakes are neat-o.

No, we are not into medicinal benefits.  Although, I do have a mortar and pestle if I wanna try making some those poultices.  Once we find out what they are good for.

And no, we are not into a yoga mats (yet) or new style of pillow that will give you exercise while you fluff it.  (Though buckwheat may be little--that is a quarter in that picture below--buckwheat be no light-weight).

Buckwheat Seeds and a Quarter

What are we into?  Apparently, green manure.  It is not as nasty as it sounds.  Basically, you offer up the poor plant for sacrifice, in the name of increasing the nutrients and organic matter of the soil, to make up for those veggies that try to rob the soil blind :-)  You know who I am talking about, potatoes.  I hear you snickering, tomatoes.  Don't go around looking so innocent.  Anyway, buckwheat is also good as a ground cover, smothering weed growth--although, I like the weeds.  Bad bugs tend to get the munchies for them instead of the plants we get munchies for.


So, anyway, decision made, Mom went on a local quest for buckwheat since our online quest for cheap buckwheat turned up less than impressive results.

Yesterday, Mom met success at our local feed store, and triumphantly brought home the prize:  our first bag of buckwheat.

15 lbs of Buckwheat and Mom

15 lbs at 90 cents per lb.   So about 15 bucks worth of seed.

We may have gone a little overboard, but once we find out how to store it, we are set for a while.  Quite a while.

Buckwheat Seeds in the Bag

We plan on letting the first crop just go through its natural life cycle, to see how long it takes, what it does to the soil, what it looks like, how hard it is to harvest the seed if we wanna harvest it (who knows how long buckwheat seed is viable), and so on.

After that first crop, we want to use it after we take out our potatoes.  That is, plant it in the second garden and till it in.  If that works well as green manure, then we'll try planting it after other veggies.

Well that is about it on our first day of The Great Buckwheat Experiment.  Oh, before I go, I admit there is one last reason why we are doing it.

Buckwheat and Snooping Dogs

Pure old fashioned fun :-)

Anyway, stay tuned to the blog to hear about our adventures in the fine art of buckwheat farming.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Presenting the Life and Times of the New Year's Amaryllis

Ah, what can one say about an amaryllis.  They grow tall--fast.  Inside.  Even on a table top quite a bit away from natural sunlight.  Make that winter sunlight, no less.  And if that feat weren't enough, they also produce beautiful vibrant flowers that last several days.  All this we learned from experience, raising our first bouncing baby red.

Here is a timeline of the late Christmas present, planted sometime in mid-January.  Photos range from Jan 24 to Feb 20, 2010.

Amaryllis on Jan 24, 2010 Amaryllis Feb 6, 2010 Amaryllis on Feb 8, 2010 Amaryllis on Feb 9, 2010 Amaryllis on Feb 11, 2010Amaryllis on Feb 15, 2010  Amaryllis on February 20, 2010


Since we are so proud of our baby, how about a few more pictures.

Here's January 24, 2010:   

With a close up on the size... 

Amaryllis on Jan 24, 2010 Amaryllis on Jan 24, 2010

Look how tall she is.  21 inches!

Here is February 6, 2010:

What happened to the rest of January?  Well, the baby was a wee bit shy and didn't want to reveal much . . .

Amaryllis Feb 6, 2010

. . . until now.  See.

Here is February 7, 2010:

And look what a day can do!

Amaryllis on Feb 7, 2010

Lookit!  Siamese Twins!

Amaryllis on Feb 7, 2010

Here is February 8, 2010:

Hmm, not much change here.  Except in camera angles.

Amaryllis on Feb 8, 2010 Amaryllis on Feb 8, 2010

Here is February 9, 2010:

That's our little expansionist, that she is. We are so proud.

Amaryllis on Feb 9, 2010

Here is February 11, 2010:

And look what happens when you miss a day.  Shame.

Amaryllis on Feb 11, 2010

Here is February 12, 2010:

Well, she is no longer a Siamese Twin . . . but a Siamese Trip--Quadr--oh, Siamese Multiple :-)

Amaryllis on Feb 12, 2010

With a late bloomer.

Amaryllis on Feb 12, 2010

Here is February 15, 2010:

Ah, they grow up so fast.  Sniff.  Sniff. ;-(

Amaryllis on Feb 15, 2010Amaryllis on Feb 15, 2010

Here is Today, February 20, 2010:

Wow, where does the time go?   But I've heard that if you do a little trimming, well, more like a buzz cut after she begins to droop with old age, she'll be like a . . . young bud again.  Yeah!

Amaryllis on February 20, 2010Amaryllis on February 20, 2010

Until next time, these were the Days of Our Amaryllis's Life...  :-)