Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Week 2 - At the Farm

Looking Forward to a Bright Future
In the shadow of week one’s numerous lettuces washed, alliums pulled up by the roots, tomatoes planted, potatoes replanted, distribution numbers crunched and re-crunched, puppy achievements and set-backs, our solar panels and irrigation pump arrived. This week we found some time to get it running. Tom spent most of a day assembling the above-ground plumbing that makes it all possible. We all took part in laying out tape on the newly planted tomatoes, peppers and lettuces. The final touch was changing the angle of the panels to more closely face the sun, about 30 degrees for now. Remarkably, without a misstep the lines filled and the plants were watered well. The pressure seems to be at least comparable to our old gas pump’s capacity if not better. We also appreciate the quiet that has returned to the farm, and of course the reduction in our reliance on petroleum. Our electric submersible pump, like the electric tractor, has only one fault, which is it is so quiet we forget to turn them off. I have begun the habit of walking our 7-month-old, 80-lb. pup, Rocky, to the pond in the evening to turn the system off. He likes to splash around in the shallows in an attempt to scare up frogs, or at least chase the thousands of tadpoles that swirl around his legs. I have yet to see him swim, but he sure likes to wade.

Walk Along With Me
Several years ago while visiting my mom in rural central Missouri we stopped in for a visit at the home of a fellow gardener who offered up her garden for us to dig. She pointed out a patch of what looked to be green onions and explained how the walking onions had been there since the 1940s when she moved to her home. Mom and I dug up a few and split them up between the two of us. Since Tom and I planted our walking onions at the farm they have multiplied into a very nice patch. Last week they made their debut in the full shares. The Saturday crew helped us dig up the remaining and later that day we re-planted them one per foot back in the bed. By next spring they will have multiplied to their previous numbers. Walking onions do this in two ways: by growing in a bunch, like a shallot does (one multiplies to 6 or so) and secondly, by producing a seed stalk that walks by falling to the ground and sprouting - creating a new plant. While they do multiply readily, I wouldn’t say that they are ‘invasive’ at all. They’re easy to pull, don’t need any coddling, and give us green onions for the kitchen as early as March. For those of you who are sold on planting some of these Missouri heirlooms in your garden, we will be sending in some crates to distribution. After re-planting the walking onion area, we were left with many extras and would like to share the wealth.


Dan said...

Hi, Rebecca and Tom. I Thought I'd try out the comment system in the blog and ask a question.
Will walking onions grow in shade? I have a garden that's now too shady for most plants. Was thinking I could use the onions. Thanks. Dan Vlamis

farmer tom said...

Onions in general like a loose, rich soil, adequate moisture, sunshine, and minimal weed competition (but then again don't all veggies.) Onions, however, can also be quite hardy, especially perennial ones like the walking onions.

So I would not hesitate in trying then out in the shade. Keep them well weeded for the best results, and give them some compost or other decayed organic matter to help them out some. Let us know how they do.