We have just started planting red onion sets (a little late this year). We had so many requests for red onions we switched from last year’s Spanish. We generally only grow a few thousand onions as it isn’t our main crop but since it is another allium we like them as a companion to our main garlic crop.
Our late Spanish crop wasn’t planted will early July and we didn’t expect much more that scallions but here it is in late October and we have hundreds of apple sized, round bulbs drying inside our long greenhouse. Amazing size for this late in the season up at this northern latitude.
Here is our last row of Spanish onions still in the ground. We are pushing our luck, but if this mild weather holds they might size up a tad more. Notice the lush green mustard plants to the left They are filling the paths of our garlic beds nicely. They are a soil cleanser and will stay there until harvest next summer.
John prepped this plot with his harrow and after a good soaking of water we quickly rolled out 100 feet of craft paper. I made the planting holes while John followed behind with the Spanish onion sets. We planted 6 wide across a 3 foot strip of paper.
I then followed John with some of Net Zero’s terrific compost and laid down a one inch covering over the onion sets. The finished product is on the right. 1,000 onions planted in less than one hour. The sprinkler will be turned on to give everything a good soak. We should see germination within 48 hours. This late in the season we hope to get some late green onions or scallions. Weather permitting we should be pulling them up to November. All without any weeding!! We have one more 100′ bed to put down tomorrow morning and then we are done planting the Spanish onions.
John exhausts his grip trying to hold up two of the larger Walla Walla onions from the big hoop barn. It was our first year growing this sweet onion variety and we will sell out in less than a month. They are a favourite of restaurants. Next year we will offer a lot more of these as well as two other extra-large onion varieties.
Here are a few test beds of Spanish Onions. Notice the onion beds are virtually weed-free since we planted the onion sets through a roll of craft paper. We plan on using this technique for more of our local produce as the soil in Abbotsford is rich and ideal for weeds. There is a top dressing of compost from Net Zero which helps feed these plants. The paper covering also traps moisture in the root zone reducing our watering in this hot, dry summer. You can see a few weeds growing in the paths (which are now weed free) but the onion beds are clean.
Here is one of our smaller beds of Walla Walla onions. Many are grapefruit size and will be on sale at Berry Festival (in front of Hemingways Books) July 4-5 as well as the Abbotsford Farmer’s Market starting Saturday, July 11th.Like all our produce, we are chemical free and we never use GMO seeds. In fact, we grow all our garlic from our own stock. This year we are also growing corn, squash and white onions from our own in-house seeds.
To compare our natural produce with onions from California, go to:
http://www.pesticideinfo.org/DS.jsp?sk=14011 and see the extensive list of chemicals found in those producers, many of whom ship to B.C.