Around here, summer is more stressful than the school year. Between work travel, the kids zombie-fying themselves at home while my husband does his best not to throttle them, and the standard demands of housekeeping coupled with the increased yard maintenance, I can’t wait until the smell of sharpened pencils fills the air. Keeping up is always a challenge – one that I’m not exactly rising to this year. But, I soldier on!
In the meantime, my tomato plants have verily hit the dust (with a few exceptions), but my beans, garlic, and onions have more than made up for the loss.
Oh, do I know my onions. I’ve been sneaking these babies out of their raised beds as I’ve needed them for cooking, which has been great fun in and of itself. This past weekend, I realized I needed to get these buggers out of the ground once and for all (at least the yellow onions, which I planted mid-fall last year). I estimate I’ve probably used about 15 yellow onions so far – and here’s the rest:
Thankfully, we have patient neighbors, who don’t mind (as far as we know, at least) when we make an onion drying rack out of clothesline and a couple of random 1x2s. There’s 47 happy little onions hanging out here – so from a beginning of 80, 62 isn’t too shabby. These range in size from 2-6 ounces, so not grocery store huge, but perfectly acceptable onions nonetheless.
I let a few go to seed just for the heck of it (when was the last time *you* saw an onion flower?):
The seeds are pretty amazing – they look like miniature onions to me, actually. If you follow the stem all the way down you can see how much smaller and less bulbous this guy is compared to his neighbors. But I’m hoping to save some seeds and I figured onions were worth a go, so a smaller bulb isn’t the end of the world.
In other news, the elephant garlic delivered:
This head was about 6 ounces, the largest of the five heads I grew. The smallest, about 3 ounces. Enough to keep us in garlic for a few weeks, at least. The green bean teepee also went nuts – with ten plants, I’ve netted two pounds of beans so far. (You can see the Parisian pickling cucumber plants threatening to intrude on the bean’s territory.)
So not a complete loss by any means, even with disappointing tomato ranks. Basil, dill, chives, and thyme are all doing fine, lemongrass and ginger are happy as clams, pumpkin vines are starting to stretch out. But I’m disappointed in my overall progress, especially considering the massive volume of seeds I purchased in the spring. Here’s hoping I can rally the fall greens in the onion beds and break even.
Now for the numbers:
A few notes about the newcomers: I had lots of big and little onions, so I’m estimating based on an average of 3.5 ounces per onion. That’s a pretty impressive $25 worth of onions for $2.10 in initial investment. Green beans are also pretty impressive, but that may be because the only green beans in the grocery store were locally grown organic beans. But heck, so are mine.
So far, I’ve ‘earned’ back about one third of my initial investment. Not too shabby, considering I dropped the ball on much of what I wanted to plant!