The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Onions don't like clay

Small onionsOur garden learning curve has been steep this year --- that's my new way of looking at our copious failures.  Last year, I tossed onion seeds in the ground, watched them grow like crazy until they were as big as storebought, then ate them until Valentine's Day.

This year I rotated to another part of the garden, planted twice as many beds, and expected to eat onions for a solid year.  Instead, we ended up with a slightly lower volume of harvest and much smaller onions.  What happened?

I'm starting to realize that some crops (like onions and potatoes and, to a lesser extent, carrots) just don't like heavy clay.  We have three different garden patches, one with excellent loam, one with mediocre loam-clay mix, and one that's pretty much all clay.  I grew our onions in the excellent loam last year and in the nasty clay this year, with predictable results.  Next year, I'll have to be sure to put my root crops in the loam where they'll excel and leave the clay for veggies like greens and peas who don't really care what their soil's like.

Shame-faced plug: I usually make our DIY chicken waterer kits while Mark makes the ready-to-go waterers.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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