Planting Onions


April 15, 2020

I’ve had several interesting experiences with planting onions during my life.  The first was told to me by my mother and happened when I was around 4 years of age.  We were living in a semi-rural town where we had to drive twenty miles to get necessities like food and gas.  Since we had limited money, dad would hunt for meat and mom would can fruits and vegetables to save for the winter.  I have fond memories of climbing into the peach trees to pick peaches and driving along the irrigation ditches to cut asparagus.   I don’t remember having a garden, but I do remember the large plot of land where our next-door neighbor planted his garden.  He was single and retired and took a liking to my brother and me.  I’m told he spent the whole morning preparing the soil and planting onion sets to grow onions for the coming months.  Dan and I must have missed the planting, but we did see the green tops of the onions poking up through the soil.  He came over to our house later that afternoon and told mom we had knocked on his door and proudly told him we had harvested all his onions for him.  He did not get mad but merely explained.  I hope he was able to replant his onions.

My second attempt at onions was when we decided to plant an urban container garden.  We were located on a main thoroughfare and this was a way to feed our neighbors as well as demonstrate how this could be done.  We set up the containers in a gated area and constructed a rain barrel watering system.  It worked well until the bunnies ate most of the early crop.  Melissa and I tried a similar approach at our house. We had small containers of various sizes and I again choose to raise onion sets.  I built another rain barrel watering system and conscientiously tended my baby onions throughout the summer.  They grew green tops and seemed to be doing well.  When I finally decided to harvest the onions, they hadn’t grown at all, but were still tiny sets.

This time I’m better prepared.  I planted the sets in a sunny plot of ground prepared and fortified with a bag of outdoor planting soil. This time I’m not going to be impatient for the harvest as I read on-line it takes 100-175 days for the dry bulbs to mature.   I also learned when to harvest and how to mature my onions for storage.  I’m hoping my onions will grow.  Now to get the potatoes into the ground.

THOUGHTS:   Much of what we do in life is a learning process.  This isn’t just going to K-12 or even graduating from some level of college.  After having spent most of my childhood and adult life in some form of schooling I am still amazed by what I do not know.  Life-long learning is important because we are constantly facing new challenges and situations.  The learning curve during our current crisis would have been unfathomable only two months ago.  Whether you are learning how to plant a garden or different way to stay connected, I encourage you to embrace your new task with the same wonder you had as a child.  If it is possible, Stay home. Stay safe.







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