It seems like every month, I tweet or post that I’m planting my very favorite thing to grow. But, really, its onions. I swear. Today, I got my onions planted.
I order my onions from Dixondale Farms from Carrizo Springs every year, and it is most exciting when they arrive. I normally plant in late November, to early December. And I have historically planted two to three, five feet by five feet raised beds with onions.
They require little care during the winter, just water really, as they are hardy to below freezing temperatures. My onion spot is well protected by my house, so I don’t cover them in the winter, unless there is a very hard freeze expected. Today, as I planted, I heard my air conditioner cycling on and off, as it was 80 something degrees. Normally, when I’m planting onions, I plant for a while, then run to my patio to warm myself at the fire pit. Not today. It all feels kind of wrong.
I have had a long term plan for the side of my house, the only place where there is real sun. Last year, I bought a chainsaw and mowed down the huge shrubs close to the house. Then earlier this year, I took out a sick Catalpa tree, that was shading the whole side of the house, and creating a visual traffic hazard for me, backing out of my driveway.
I hired Texas Trees and Landscaping to scrape the whole side of my house clean from grass, and install a series of limestone gardens. It is my dream mini-farm really, and this is where I planted my onions today.
This year, I ordered a Short Day Sampler, 1015s, Yellow Granex and White Bermuda Onions. Historically, I’ve found that the red onions bolt (go to seed) early on and so few reach maturity. But, I love to pickle red onions, so I planted a bunch today.
One of the things I love about onions, is that they are so versatile. Once harvested in the Spring, if allowed to form the dry skin, which I do by laying in the sun for a couple of days, they can store in a mesh bag for months. And, the aforementioned mentioned pickled onions are amazing!
In a Facebook exchange with my Aunt today, she said “no meal is complete without an onion.” I remember so many meals in Oklahoma with my dad’s side of the family – his dad had a farm – and there was almost always what most folks would considered a giant green onion, cut into chunks, on every plate. You can eat onions at just about every stage of their growth. What most know as “Spring onions” or “green onions” are just immature onions. With our strange warmish weather pattern, many will get confused and go to seed. Those can be pulled and eaten at any point. Once onions are at their height of maturity, they will simply lay over, as if to say “I’m done!” For those that I allow to go to that stage, I pull out of the ground, lay on top of the garden, and allow to dry in the sun for a couple of days. This forms the outer skin most folks identify with.
Grow some onions!