Summer is here… along with some onions

by Zoë Abram

Well, summer is here for sure when the weather report predicts scattered thunderstorms for nine of the next ten days!  You’ll notice the changes in the share: summer squash is here, but there’s no head lettuce available now. Demonstrating its preference for spring and fall, the head lettuce has bolted in the heat, but we excitedly anticipate the first generations of tomato and eggplant to ripen in the coming weeks.

The onions are also noticing that summer is here. We can see the purplette variety “bulbing up” and we will harvest fresh onions soon. Fresh onions have green tops attached, which you can use like scallions. The arc of our onion crop highlights the weather we’ve encountered this season. Some varieties were better able than others to handle the conditions – we’ll harvest a good crop of white wing onions, but  fewer purplette and yellow onions than we’d hoped.

In earliest spring, we lost some seedlings when it got too cold in the high tunnel, but many survived to be transplanted in April.  For weeks they just sat in the ground without growing much, waiting out the cold and wet weather. Onions don’t do as well with lots of competition from weeds. With dedicated help from the work share members, we made sure to wheel-hoe regularly and to hand-weed several times.  As we weeded, we noticed the patchiness of our onions– some of the transplants hadn’t made it through the cold, wet weather.

Since the heat hit, the onions that survived those stagnant weeks are doing well. One advantage of growing many varieties is that they mature at different times. We’ll also harvest the white onions fresh just after the purplette, but we’ll wait to pull the yellow and red storage onions until they dry out. This way there will be onions in the share several times during the season, ready for use in your favorite recipes. Speaking of recipes …

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