Mavis Garden Blog – How to Harvest and Store Onions

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I’ve received a bunch of questions recently from people wanting to know when they should harvest their onions,  so I thought I would go ahead and repost this handy dandy tutorial on how to harvest and store onions for those of you who have never done it before, or just need a quick refresher.

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This year I grew 3 different types of onions.  Walla Walla Sweets Yellow Onions, and Red Onions.

The Walla Wallas are for eating fresh, the yellows for winter storage, and the red onions for homemade salsa, sandwiches and for roasting on the grill.

Because I planted so many onions, at different times, not all of the onions are ready to harvest right now.  But a few of them are.

Here are a few pictures of the drying process of my first batch of onions.

Onions are ready to be harvested when the necks are nice and dry.  At this point you’ll want to pull up the onions, and lay them flat on the soil for a day or two so they have a chance to  dry out in the sun a bit.

Then, you’ll want to move your onions to a warm, ventilated area {out of the sun} for a few weeks so they can finish curing.

You’ll know the onions are done drying when they look like the regular onions you see in the grocery store.  The outer skins will be paper like and brittle, the roots will be dry, and the tops will be completely dried out.

If you would like to show off your onions, then you’ll definitely want to try braiding them.  Hanging the onions in the kitchen is cool.  The Pilgrims did it, and so can you.

Braiding onions is pretty basic, almost like french braiding hair, but instead of pulling hair {onions} from beneath, you are adding them on top and working them into the onions from there.

The trick to braiding the onions is to make sure the onion stalks are not completely dried out.  If they are to dry, the papery stalks will crumble in your hands.  You need them to be moist enough so they will be flexible to braid with out falling apart.

When I braided the bunch of onions you see above, they had been drying for about 7 days on the back porch, which I felt was the perfect amount of time.  As the onions continue to dry, they will hold together just fine because I braided them pretty tight.

As far as long term storage goes, brush off any excess dirt, and place onions in mesh bags, or storage crates in a cool, dark place.  The ideal temp for storing onions is around 40 degrees.

Now, if I could just get the smell of onions off my hands…

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Help! What’s Wrong With my Onions?

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onion harvest

I posted a picture of my onion harvest on my instagram page the other day and someone made this comment:

This is the 1st year I’ve put out a garden, my onions have fallen over and the base has gone mushy. I harvested them, only three were bad, but I was wondering why it happened?? Any ideas?

Honestly, there are a lot of possibilities that would make them mushy.  First up, a bacterial disease.

Onions become susceptible to bacterial infections once the bulbs start to form, or if they get wounds in the leaves.  There are a couple of bacterial diseasaes that are possible, and they are pretty hard to tell apart.  Unfortunately, the bacteria can reside in the soil, in the irrigation water, etc., so preventing it can be tricky.  Your best bet is to use flood irrigation once the bulbs form.  It keeps bacteria from the dirt from splashing up onto the leaves, as it might when using sprinklers.  Onions can also be susceptible after harvest, so curing them correctly is super important.

Next, you may have had onion maggots.  They like to get inside the stems and destroy your onions from the inside out.  I don’t think this sounds like the case with  you, or you would have seen evidence when you dug them up, but still, they would cause a mushy-ness.

Finally, it’s possible for your onions to get fungal infections and become mushy.  Usually, you will see evidence of a fungus, like white, gray or black powdery looking stuff on the onion.  Fungal problems typically come from cool weather or over-watering.  Again, keeping the water off of the leaves by using flood irrigation really helps.

If I were a betting lady, I’d say  you had a bacteria {just because you didn’t really mention evidence of anything else}.  I’d plant your onions in a new spot next year {crop rotation}, and try the flood irrigation.

Hope that helps!

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Get Ready for Fall with a Seattle Tilth Class

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Seattle tilth fall classes

If you are an expert gardener, a novice gardener or even a non-gardener, the Seattle Tilth has some perfect classes for you. I’m a super fan of the Seattle Tilth because they truly help gardeners and homesteaders at any and every level. Whether you want to raise goats, learn about companion planting, or learn about food preservation, you’ll find a class that matches your interests on their extensive class list. They’ve added a whole slew of cool new classes this fall, and here are just a few that caught my eye:

gourds2Veggie Gardening
Learn to design a four-season organic veggie garden.
Start Your Fall and Winter Garden Sat., Aug. 16; 10 a.m.-noon
Organic Pest Management Sat., Aug. 2; 2-4 p.m.
Build Unique Raised Beds Sat., Aug. 16; 2-5 p.m.
Save Seeds Wed., Aug. 20; 6-8 p.m.
Save Seeds Thu., Sept. 4; 6-8 p.m.
Grow Edible Perennials Thu., Aug. 28; 6-8 p.m.
Comprehensive Organic Gardener Sept.10-Oct. 1
Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. & Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Kitchen
Pickles and Fermentation 2Get the basics of canning, pickling and foraging.
Basic Canning Sat., Aug. 23; 10 a.m.-noon
Basic Canning Thu., Sept. 11; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Pickles and Fermentation Sat., Aug. 23; 2-4 p.m.
Pickles and Fermentation Thu., Sept. 18; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Make Herbal Infusions Thu., Aug. 21; 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Permaculture & Sustainable Landscapes
Go beyond basic veggie gardening.
Intro to Permaculture Sat., Aug. 9; 2-5 p.m.
Secrets of Companion Planting Sat., Aug. 2; 10 a.m.-noon
Grow Fruit in Small Spaces Wed., Aug. 6; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Planting for Wildlife Thu., Sept. 4; 6-8 p.m.

Urban LivestockIMG_1765
Produce your own eggs, honey and fertilizer! Find out what it takes to raise chickens, goats, rabbits, ducks and bees.
Beekeeping 301: Harvest Honey & Winterize Your Hive
Thu., Aug. 14; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Native Bees: Introduction and Field Study
Sat., Sept. 13; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
_1140639Raise City Goats Sat., Sept., 13; 10 a.m.-noon
City Chickens 101 Sat., Sept. 20; 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Backyard Beekeeping 101 Sat., Sept 27; 10 a.m.-noon

Apartment Dwellers – FREE Classes!
Learn how to compost and grow salads, herbs and vegetables in containers year-round in FREE container gardening classes. Find our more on the website and register.
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Register the Kids for Summer Camp
There’s still time to give your kids an experience they can brag about when they go back to school. At our summer garden and farm camps, children learn about edible plants, soil, critters and taking care of the earth. Find them in the Wallingford and Rainier Beach neighborhoods.

Community Events & More
Mark your calendars for our Harvest Fair on Saturday, September 6! Come celebrate harvest season with the community and enjoy music, food, education and one of the largest farmers markets in the region. Visit their website for information about volunteer opportunities, events and programs.

I not only love Seattle Tilth’s classes, but their whole organization. I’ve been to their Urban Farm and Chicken Coop tour and I never miss their plant sale every year. They’re awesome! So if you’ve never taken a class like this, trust me when I say they’re totally worth it.

Peace out,

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Friday Night at the Movies – Lark Rise to Candleford

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In my love of all things BBC, I stumbled on a series called Lark Rise to Candleford.   It’s set in a small hamlet called Lark Rise during the end of the 19th century.  According to the BBC website, it is a drama based on the memoir of Flora Thompson’s childhood–though, with a little love, intrigue and drama mixed in.  Yes, please.  I can’t wait to start it.

lark rise to candleford

Have you seen this ? Did you like it? If not, let me know what you think if you decide to watch it.

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~Mavis

PicMonkey Collage

Looking for more movies?

Check out the full list of my Friday Night at the Movies Selections or click on over & look at all the movies on Amazon Instant Video. There are a ton of videos to choose from that will cost you absolutely nothing {nada, zilch, free-o} with Amazon Prime; like thousands of regular movies & TV shows & hundreds of documentaries {Wahoo!}. Get all the details HERE!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Pictures 7/22/14

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fallen tree on garden

Over the weekend a tree fell smack dab in the middle of our pumpkin patch killing two plants. Luckily we were all inside when it happened. Living in a wooded area has it’s perks, but falling trees, isn’t one of them. growing green beans on a trellis

The rest of the garden is doing really well though. The second round of green beans should be ready in a few more weeks and I just planted our third and final round last night. onion braids

Onions. We harvested all of them. Our winter leeks are still growing like mad and with a little luck the chives we have planted alongside the greenhouse should be okay thru the middle of October or so. For some reason plants seem to hang on a little longer in that spot. Not sure if it’s because of the shade or what, but I’m not complaining.
cabbage plant

We are harvesting about a head of cabbage a week. Grocery shipping in your backyard is cool!zucchini plant

Zucchinis. Are yours growing like crazy this year too?harvesting beets

And last but not least beets. We harvested a tray full of beets last night and planted new seeds in the same spot for a late fall harvest. Call me crazy, but I think a 4′x8′ garden box should be just enough to last thru the winter. What do you think?

How is YOUR garden doing these days? What’s your favorite thing growing in your garden right now?

Mavis Wants to know.

This years garden is being sponsored by the folks at BotanicInterests Seed Company. You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2014 Garden Seed Catalog HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes?

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What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes

I recently received an email from One Hundred Dollars a Month reader, Kathy in Ohio.  She wrote,

Hi Mavis! Happy Wednesday to you!  Have you ever discussed blossom drop in tomatoes? It’s when the blossoms bloom then drop off tomato plants, with no fruit setting. Someone recently came to me asking about it, and luckily enough, after years of caring for acres of tomatoes when my step father was alive on the farm, I was able to help her.
I think your readers would like to know about this. After all, it has been hot and humid around most of the country lately and that can be a factor when dealing with blossom drop.

It can also affect other fruit bearing veggie plants like peppers, green beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and other squash, melons and eggplant
By the way, I’m in NE Ohio,  where it’s been near 90 or above, with super high humidity.

Have an excellent day!

Excellent suggestion, Kathy.  Thanks!

Blossom drop can be maddening.  The worst part of blossom drop is that several things can cause it.  It is an indication that the plant is under some level of stress, so you may have to trouble shoot a bit what could be causing it in your specific situation.  First off, blossom drop is when the flowers {that should eventually become tomatoes} wither up and fall off–which means no tomatoes.  Whah!

Typically, blossom drop occurs when temperatures spike very quickly or drop quickly.  Drastic changes in temperature really stress tomatoes out.  As Kathy mentioned, humidity can also do a number on potato plants.  If you live in a low humidity area, it’s an easy fix, you can try wetting the foliage a bit during the day to get a bit of humidity into the air around the plant.  If you live in a high humidity area, it’s pretty darn hard to control.

If the weather isn’t the problem, it may be a pollination issue.  If you don’t have bees buzzing around your garden, you may not have great pollination.  Without pollination, no tomatoes, plain and simple.

blossom drop in tomatoes

Lack of water or nitrogen in the soil can also stress out a tomato plant.  During the hottest months, it’s really best to give a deep water {like flood irrigation} once a week, rather than a daily surface sprinkle.  The water really needs to reach the roots, and if given the change, tomatoes like to lay some deep roots.  If you suspect your soil might not be very nutrient rich, try a quality organic nitrogen based fertilizer.  Follow the instructions on the fertilizer for application.

Inspect your plants regularly for insects or disease.  Again, an infestation or disease will stress out your plant, causing it drop flowers.

heirloom tomatoes

Finally, and this is probably the best case scenario, it can happen when you have a really heavy crop.

Yep, even too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  The good news is that after you harvest some of the tomatoes, it should resolve itself.  The plant only has so much nutrients to go around, so if there is an over-abundance of fruit, it will drop some of the flowers to concentrate on growing the rest of the fruit.

Once you know what is causing your blossom drop, you can easily address the issue {except for controlling the weather, I haven’t figured out how to do that yet :) }.

Thanks again for the suggestion, Kathy!  I can’t believe I haven’t thought to address the topic before.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Joy From Michigan Sends in Pictures of her Garden and Garden Shed

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A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

joy

Remember that time my friend Amberlina and I survived the Tacoma City Marathon with our favorite soldier, Nick?

joy6

 Well his grandmother, Joy, is an avid reader from Michigan and today she is sharing pictures of her adorable garden. I’m totally in love with her cute garden shed!

joy5She is just beginning to enjoy her homegrown veggies.

joy3Check out this picture of her flower garden. {I mean tell me you wouldn’t absolutely love the view from Joy’s chairs! That is like the perfect relaxation spot.}

joy2

Joy- I have total shed envy! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your cute garden.

joy4

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Friday Night at the Movies – Land Girls

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I just started the series Land Girls.  I’m only 2 episodes in, but I LOVE it!  It’s about a group of women who were members of the Women’s Land Army {women who worked on British farms during WWII}.  The series follows the women’s lives through just about everything you might expect.  It’s awesome.

Netflix has it for free, if you are a Netflix member.

land girls

Let me know what you think if you decide to watch it–or if you have already seen it.

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~Mavis

PicMonkey Collage

Looking for more movies?

Check out the full list of my Friday Night at the Movies Selections or click on over & look at all the movies on Amazon Instant Video. There are a ton of videos to choose from that will cost you absolutely nothing {nada, zilch, free-o} with Amazon Prime; like thousands of regular movies & TV shows & hundreds of documentaries {Wahoo!}. Get all the details HERE!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Growing Vegetables in a Greenhouse – Tomatoes and Cucumbers

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growing lettuce in gutters greenhouse

Do not attempt to grow lettuce in a greenhouse when the temperature outside is in the mid 80′s. It won’t work out too well. Not that I would know anything about that. ;)

seattle greenhouse garden

Yesterday was greenhouse clean up day. It’s been awhile since I did anything out there but water or harvest vegetables, so I thought I better hop to it and get something constructive done while the weather was nice. Oh, and no, you do not need to adjust the color on your computer monitor. I am really that pale. But, if you look closely at the next photo, you notice my forearms are much darker. So there is hope for my farmers tan. I think.

mavis garden blog greenhouse tomatoes

Snacking on cherry tomatoes, is one of my favorite pastimes. growing sungold tomatoes

A rainbow of happiness. Anyone else growing Sungolds this year?green heirloom tomatoes in a greenhouse

I have no idea what these ones are but I can tell you one thing, as soon as they ripen, I’m going to eat them! And I won’t even feel bad if I don’t share. growing cucumbers in a greenhosue

Gardening, it’s pretty rad.

Wouldn’t you say?

~Mavis

You can see more greenhouse photos from this year in my Growing Vegetables in a Greenhouse Series.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Pictures 7/13/14

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old watering cans red wheelbarrow

Did I tell you my 50 foot hose has gone missing?

Seriously, how does a hose disappear? I’m sure it will resurface at some point but with the weather in the 80′s and 90′s around here lately, watering the garden has turned into a major chore. I have to make at least 5 trips with the wheelbarrow loaded up with watering cans just to water my garden beds properly.

Sure I’m getting a great workout… but c’mon. What a pain!

onions and beans

I feel like it’s the year of the slacker. And let me tell you Bob, I’m embracing it. My garden might be small this year, but I keep telling myself  that it’s okay. Next year I’ll have more time {and energy} to spend on it. Right? I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much but for someone with major OCD, it’s hard. ;)

cascadia raspberriesThe raspberries.

Oh my. There are tons of them this year. Tons I tell you. Tons. And the strange this is, the HH keeps asking me about them. “Did you pick the raspberries today? What are you going to do with the raspberries? Did you put raspberries in my lunch? Maybe you should freeze the extra raspberries.”

It doesn’t freaking stop.

When did he become a gentleman farmer? Is this what I have to look forward to in my old age? Am I going to have to give him a little plot of his own to take care of? I take a year off from gardening and he suddenly becomes an expert.

head of cabbage

I even caught him harvesting a cabbage the other day.

magnum glass greenhouse

I just hope he doesn’t wander into the greenhouse anytime soon because it’s a real mess in there. Seriously. I’m going to stop typing right now and get out there and clean it up a bit before I get busted by the HH.

Peace Out Girl Scouts. Have a great Sunday.

~Mavis

This years garden is being sponsored by the folks at Botanical Interests Seed Company. You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2014 Garden Seed Catalog HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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