My garden beds were in pretty good shape actually; but they did need some attention. And I always add organic compost to each bed before I plant. I've been using Lady Bug Soil Revitalizer for years and just love it. It's completely organic, made locally (in Austin) and contains NO biosludge products.
First thing I did was rake away all the hay that was on top of the beds. I put the hay on to insulate the soil somewhat and encourage worm production. And it worked! As I was turning over the dirt, I saw lots of worms...gotta love that!
I then dumped three bags of compost into each bed. Now I only prepped three of my six beds on Tuesday because I won't need the others until later this spring.
I turned the dirt over and incorporated all that great compost into the soil and that was pretty much it. Pretty simple process, really.
Then I planted my onions. These are Texas 1015Y...my favorite type of onion that I use in just about everything I cook. But I only bought one set...bad call. I ran short and had to run out and get a 2nd set. But by the time I got back home, the weather turned and it got very cold so I'll save planting the 2nd set till the weather warms up a bit, hopefully in a couple of days.
When planting onions it is crucial to choose a site in full sun, ensuring your transplants get at least 8-10 hours of direct sun per day. More is better.
My garden beds are rectangular (9' x 5') and so I plant my onions in rows, spacing each row about 6 inches apart. What I did was create 4-inch deep furrows midway between the rows and spread a band of my favorite, well balanced organic fertilizer, Medina Growin Green Organic Fertilizer (you can get it at Amazon.com), in the bottom of each furrow--about 1 1/2 cups per row--then covered the row with soil. This makes the fertilizer easily accessible to the roots of each plant as they grow. I will continue to fertilize the bulbs every 2-3 weeks.
Onion sets are easy to plant and don't require the special attention that onion seeds do (won't ever plant onion seeds...no...no...no...not me...). I just poked the sets into well worked soil so that the top of the set is level with soil surface...about an inch deep. It's that's easy.
The care of onion sets is pretty straight forward:
- weed early and often
- don't overwater
- when the tips of the the foliage start to turn yellow, leave off watering. This is a sign that the bulbs are maturing
- Fertilize young plants, but stop fertilizing about 5-7 weeks before the expected harvest date
- pull young green onions if you want to use them for scallions
- watch for the plant tops to start to die back--a sure sign the bulbs are enlarging
- store in cold dry place
Last year my onion crop was great! I hope this year is as good.
I'm so happy to get my spring garden going! The seeds I ordered should be here any day now and hopefully this weekend I'll be able to start some of my seedlings in the greenhouse. I'll keep you posted :-)