Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Forgotten Season


No matter if you are a home gardener or small time farmer, at this time of year we all begin to feel as if we have forgotten something. Maybe you have forgotten that today is the day of valentine? Uh-uh, no, it's not that, it's a nagging that builds and fades until the last tomato is planted in May. Or is it June?

Have you gotten all your seeds? What will you plant them in? Have you waited too long to start? Is it too late? Maybe too early, so relax. But is it? When should these be planted out? Two weeks before frost, two weeks after? Ack, when will the last frost be in this crazy zone anyway? Maybe I should just start outside. Maybe there'll be just the right moisture, the ideal germination temps. Or not. I better order those cell trays. 

This morning that's exactly what I did, choosing expense and glory over affordable and chancy. Five-inch deep 2x2-inch cells, fifty per, and reusable with cleaning. I ordered fifteen of those along with trays known to the trade as the '1020,' and as it's name suggests -roughly ten by twenty inches. Skip the domes, use cling wrap, and heed the seed.

My Fedco order arrived three days ago: three sixteenths of an ounce of onion seed, or put another way, 750 to 1200 onions to be (or not to be?). I bought seed not because they are tiny, fussy, or difficult, but because they do not harbor disease the way sets and starts do. Seed, then, was the only way to keep with the allium program in my unsown rows, even though seed must be started early, maybe now, or possibly later, soil temperature of 60 degrees, consistent moisture, but not soggy, watched and waited on, until perfect transplanting sometime in March or April, but who can be sure. 

I'm excited for onions, more so than for the cilantro and parsley, carrots and Sungold that came with this shipment. Onions are the second most consumed vegetable beside the tomato; roughly 17 pounds per person in these United States. Each year American farmers plant a crop worth four billion dollars, although my crop will be worth less than five hundred. Borrettana Cipollini, Rossa Lunga di Tropea, Rossa di Milano. Storage yellow, seasonal red, storage red. 


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