Planting Time

I took advantage of a couple of warm and dry days this week to work up some soil and do a little planting. My first task was to plant some multiplier onions. I’ve been growing I’itoi onions for a couple of years now with good results. I grow them in the ground and in containers, and they keep us supplied with green onions/scallions nearly year round.

I'itoi onions planted in a container

I’itoi onions planted in a container

This spring I ordered some White Multiplier Onions from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange to add to the mix. According to their description these “thumb-sized white-skinned bulbs produce 6-14 green onion sprouts”. They arrived last week ready to go, so I have been anxious to get them in the ground. Judging by the looks of them, they ought to take off fairly quickly once planted.

White Multiplier Onions

White Multiplier Onions

I used my fork and worked up a spot for both these perennial onions, then added some Happy Frog organic fertilizer and mixed it in the bed. I had several containers of I’itoi growing all winter in the greenhouse, and some of them had gone dormant and were ready for replanting. These form clumps of little bulbs and I didn’t split them before planting, so they should make nice sized bunches of onions by summer when they tend to go dormant here. I planted another perennial onion called Yellow Potato Onion last fall, and they have greened up and are growing nicely now in another bed.

planting I'itoi onions

planting I’itoi onions

While I had the fork out, I worked up another spot in one of the cold frame beds for kale. It truly felt great to be out working the soil, and I think I am ready to get more planting done. We’ve had so much rain lately (5 inches in March) that the main garden is still soggy, but it should start drying soon with warm windy days in the forecast.

planting curly kale

planting curly kale

Inside the greenhouse I have planted lettuce and arugula in containers. I’m still harvesting lettuce from the winter planting, and I have more plants ready to go in as space becomes available.  I planted red leaf lettuce in one of my Mini Salad Boxes, which work quite well for the shallow rooted lettuce.

leaf lettuce in salad box

leaf lettuce in salad box

I need to get out my soil probe and take some samples in the main garden. Last year the pH had risen to 6.7, which is getting a bit higher than I like. I added some elemental sulfur to the soil and a soil test will tell me whether I need to add more this year. I would rather have the pH closer to 6.5, though each vegetable has their own preference and many would be quite happy with the 6.7 reading. Then it will be time to get the cabbage, broccoli and kohlrabi planted. Those plants are pretty much ready to go.

brassica seedlings

brassica seedlings

I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres – if I’m not out working in the garden, that is!

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9 Responses to Planting Time

  1. I sowed some onion seeds, but nothing sprouted. I think my soil mix was too dry. Pretty sure I had too much peat moss in that bed.

    • Dave @ HappyAcres says:

      I haven’t had much luck onions from seed, which is why I like these perennial types! Once they are established, you just hold some of them back for replanting every year. The I’itoi makes to many I have a hard time keeping up with them.

  2. John says:

    One of those small world stories… I’itoi is the creator god of the Tohono O’odham people in southern Arizona, where I live. I can see Baboquivari Mountain, his home, from the sun deck at the top of my house. To be named after him, those onions you grow must be part of Tohono O’Odham agriculture.

    • Dave @ HappyAcres says:

      Yes, that is true! I got them from Native Seeds/Search in Tucson. They are indeed named after the creator deity in Tohono O’odham legends, though the actual origin of the onion is in some dispute. Regardless, it is a great perennial onion and quite hardy here in our cold winters.

  3. Margaret says:

    Hurray on getting some work outside done! The weather is just starting to turn here with most days above freezing (although still a bit cooler than our “normal” for this time of year) – but at least the temperatures are moving in the right direction!

    Our soil is quite alkaline – in the low 7’s – but I’ve not bothered doing anything about it as I find that most things do fine (or do they? maybe they would do a lot better if I did try to lower the pH?) What sort of difference do you find if your pH starts to creep upwards?

    • Dave @ HappyAcres says:

      The asparagus bed got up to 7.5 last year, and there was a notable decline in production. We still got plenty, but not as much as we should have. Brassicas might not mind the higher pH, but the cucurbits, peppers and tomatoes would surely like it lower. The main garden pH has been creeping up and I wanted to lower it before it got as high as the asparagus bed. I believe the reason it went up was my liberal application of bone meal. The calcium content of the soil was also going up. I’m just looking to balance it all a bit better.

  4. Sue Garrett says:

    It’s a busy time isn’t it. The look of the vegetable garden will soon be very different from the bare look at the moment.

  5. Michelle says:

    I do love those I’itoi onions, they are so versatile and easy to grow. My Yellow Potato onions seem to be doing well. Now I’m interested to see how the White Multiplier onions do for you. The bunching type onions are so easy to grow that it may be a long time before I’m tempted to grow big fat bulbing onions again.

  6. Phuong says:

    Your brassica and lettuce seedlings look quite happy. And it sounds like you’re getting some great weather. We’re still getting tons of rain and sometimes it feels like it’ll never dry out, but I always get antsy that way in the spring.

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