Week #9 – Alliums

Things are hot and dry on the farm. I’ve been running irrigation everyday just to keep up with the watering, but some rain would be great for all the direct seeded things I’ve been putting in. Cooler weather would be nice as well, we transplanted fall kale on the black mulch last week, which was a bad idea because it got so hot the plants were not used to it and we lost some. I remember the same thing happened last year as well, but for some reason I didn’t learn.

This year, one crop that I’ve been very happy with is all the alliums. Allium is the plant family that includes onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots. It is the best crop of onions I’ve ever had here.I think what has made it such a good onion year is the combination of good rain in the spring, keeping them well weeded, and adding some compost and manure before they were planted. Every year I try different spacing and planting techniques to try to get the onions bigger, but really I think it is the combination I mentioned earlier that really helps get the onions to size up.

So far in the shares we’ve had two different sweet/mild onions, walla walla and ailsa craig.Walla Walla Sweet They both did really well and I’ll probably grow them both again next year. They are supposed to have a milder onion favor, but the ones that I’ve tasted still have a good amount of bite to them. Red Long of TropeaThis week we are adding to that mix another mild onion call Red Long of Tropea, it is an Italian variety that grows in a longer torpedo shape. I like them because they have that red color and the shape is fun. Next week we’ll have another new one called red marble. It is a cipollini type onion.Red Marble They are really pretty onion with deep red rings through it. Soon we will harvest and cure all the fall storage onions that are in the field yet. Those we probably won’t put in the CSA till September or October, but they look good and we should have a decent amount. Of the four that I mentioned, only the red marble would work well to store for long periods of time. You can dry the other kinds, but they won’t last into the winter for you.

The other allium crop that we just harvested was the garlic. We pulled out all 5 beds of the garlic yesterday, which I believe 20150727_114155was about 2000 bulbs of garlic. Most of them look really good. There were some really big ones, and a few smaller ones, but most looked great. They are all curing in the barn now for a couple of weeks. Once they are good and dry we will take the tops off and start putting them in the shares. This is the most garlic I’ve every had so I am excited to see what it looks like when it is cured and in the trays. Each year I’ve been trying to build up my stock of garlic plants, but I think 5 beds is a good amount so I hope to be able to distribute more out to the CSA this year. This picture was taken up in the barn where they are all drying. This only shows about half of them, the other half is in another section of the barn.

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