Growing Onions Vertically in Onion Towers

This year, we flat ran out of garden bed space for ALL of our onions. We planted red, white and yellow onion sets, as well as plenty of the Walla Walla Sweet starts.  When all was said and done we still had QUITE A FEW onion starts left and no where to put them! 

 Then the idea came to me, why couldn't we grow onions vertically? ...and in towers! Just like the ones we created for our potatoes.   We contemplated the idea for a moment and then threw caution to the wind on constructing 2 large towers made from metal fencing and straw.

If this works, we could have just solved our problem! Growing onions vertically in "potato straw towers". Who would have guessed.  

To make the towers, we started with a roll of metal fencing. We cut it to size, and secured the loose ends together to form a large tower.  

 From there, put a couple shovels of soil/compost into the bottom.  Line the edges, the whole way up with straw, adding more soil along with it.  

As you are loading straw & soil up the edges towards the your onion start onto the soil, with the green part sticking out of the wire fencing.  Make sure that when the soil settles, it won't squish the green onion tops agains the metal fencing.  

When we finally reached the top, we planted a few onions on top as well, and gave it a good water.

People have been asking us how we plan on watering this, and my answer is...water it the same way you would a potato tower. (whatever that way may be)

We live in the pacific northwest, and so far we haven't had to do much watering. By the time the soil starts to dry out, we get a rainy day and it soaks the soil good to right where it should be.  I'm noticing that these towers are acting as a sort of "hugelkultur". (...meaning the soil actually stays quite moist, even in the center of the tower!)

How to Grow Garlic in the Springtime

Let's face it. Sometimes in the Fall our lives get taken over with anything but gardening. Our thoughts and focus sometimes shift from gardening to the holidays.  Starting in October, we start gearing up for Halloween, Thanksgiving, CHRISTMAS.... it all sneaks up on us far too quickly. 

Sometimes when this happens you can forget to plant your Fall garlic, but have NO FEAR. You can still plant garlic in the Springtime if you forgot last Fall.   Just don't expect the heads to grow as large as they would if it had been planted back in September or October.

The actual steps of planting SPRING Garlic vs. FALL Garlic are no different. As soon as your soil is workable this spring, go ahead and drop that garlic in the ground, following THESE BASIC STEPS on How to Plant, Store and Harvest Garlic.

Spring at our Homestead, & What That Means for Us

Spring is definitely here at our small homestead in the great Pacific Northwest.  
Bulbs are all coming up and flowering adding lovely color throughout our spring vegetable gardens and backyard fruit orchard.  

We planted so many different varieties of bulbs last fall, that I had almost forgotten what to expect this Spring.  I'm looking forward to when they are all completely open and flowering.  The few scattered here and there throughout the gardens is almost a "tease" of what's to come over the next few weeks. 

We've got plenty of starts and seedlings taking over our small 800 sq. foot home.  We have two larger greenhouses 10x20, and a smaller patio one that you can see pictured above.  I think we're just about ready to move some of them into the larger greenhouses out in the garden area so I can start transitioning more of the ones that are inside, to this smaller greenhouse.  It's a cycle, one that we've been perfecting over the years.   Certainly not flawless, but we're improving year by year. 

The newest chicks, aren't so small as they were when we first picked them up from Baxter Barn back in February.  They are completely feathered, and happy. This little gal loves to escape the "big girl coop" almost on a daily basis. We usually find her wandering behind the greenhouse.

The kids are beginning to enjoy the sights, smells, and tastes that Spring always brings.  Speaking of smells, my house no longer smells like a brooder box. Can I get an "amen" for that one? Yes! 

 Perennials from last year are making a comeback.  So happy to see that some of the ones potted in our whiskey barrels have made their return. 

All of our flowering vines have begun to show signs of new, green growth. Our clematis, jasmine and honeysuckle all have started coming out of their winter dormancy and are taking off.  We love planting these vines on our fences or anywhere we are seeking a bit more privacy. Plus, the bees love the flowers and we think they are quite lovely ourselves. 

Now that the weather is starting to warm up just a bit, and the days are getting longer, that means there's plenty of opportunities for us to get outside and start working on all that needs to be done around here. Summer will be here before we know it! 

8 Projects for Your Garden you Can Do Today!

Here are 8 fun projects you can do for your garden on any weekend!  Pick one, or a few to keep you and the kids busy on the next sunny day. 

We woke up early on Sunday, say 5am, so we could get a long list of fun projects completed out in the gardens. First on my list, I wanted to make some seed tape for the carrots and onions we would be planting this week. 

A little flour, water and toilet paper...and now I have rolls and rolls of seed tape to plant!
You can see the whole process with step-by-step directions here.


I also managed to get a few more seeds started in muffin tins.  I love the "pop" of color the paper liners give my seed starting trays. 

Earlier, we picked a few rocks up during one of our walks along the beach and brought them home for this fun project.

I painted them first with the spray paint, then the acrylic paint.  I also finished them by spraying a clear sealant on them.

I found the old tree stump I had been using as a seat inside my garden and drew a "tic-tac-toe" board on it with the same acrylic paint I had used on the rocks.

...and now we have a fun new game to play while we're in the garden!

We made a new "Toad Abode" for our garden too. Toads are great, because they eat slugs and I, well, HATE slugs.

I wonder if we'll attract any toads to our new "Toad Abode"?  We tucked it in between a few pots where our strawberries grow so once they take off, this will all be a dark and moist area. Hopefully one that the toads will love.

I'll take all the toads I can get in my garden. Die slugs, die.

Speaking of slugs, I took the opportunity to pour them some new "beer baths". You know, the ones they so anxiously crawl into only to drown in? Love that.  It was weird cracking open a beer. We haven't had any alcohol in the house for almost a year and a half so it felt kind of bizarre opening one. Don't worry, we left it all for the slugs.

We had a package of 12 solar lights that we had picked up, but I wanted to make them "pretty".

Would you believe me if I told you this sweet man never once complains about any project I ever throw us into? Not even crafty ones like this on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  God bless him.

It was actually fun just sitting on the deck, talking, and gluing these tiny pebbles onto the mason jars. I couldn't have done it without Erick though. He made the job go faster for sure. 

I love the way these cute solar lights turned out.  They'll look very "whimsical" in our garden. Of course I stuck with "beach cottage colors". Would I do anything else?

Erick also made me the most adorable vertical planter to put some bright annuals in. He used some terracotta pots, a stick of bamboo, and zip ties. Seriously zip ties save our lives around here. Anyone else use them as much as we do?

We secured the bamboo up against a fence post with an eye hook at the top, and then staggered the pots on top of one another like so.

And then we hauled over what was left of our potting mix from another project, and our new annuals we picked up.

I love bursts of color, especially from flowers inside my vegetable garden. 

This turned out so cute, I'm secretly plotting a way that I can talk him into doing this on ALL of our fence posts in the garden.  I'm pretty sure all I'd have to do is ask though and he'd love to do it for me.

I placed a few of our new glass watering globes around in planters we have on the deck. They're cute and functional.  I'm down for that.

...and last but not least. I finally got that mailbox I wanted down in the gardens to use as a storage place for my tools while working in that area. You can't see from this photo, but it's actually sitting on a really rustic log from one of our cedar trees.

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