|Ailsa Craig Exhibition sweet onions|
|White Wing onions|
So, what happened this year? We got onions in at different points in time depending on when we were able to 'mud them in.' The poor early soil conditions have led to inconsistent production. We've got lots of onions, but the sizes are all over the map. The taste has been good and we'll see how they store. We certainly can't say that we are disappointed because there is some good onion production here. But, it's not the picture of perfection we had in our heads. Even so, it is marketable - so now we need to sell it all. The whole plan falls to the ground if we can't move them!
|Valhalla in late July|
How does that work, you ask? Well... if you can't get a crop in the ground outside, you might press some of the inside space into service for something you were not planning. And, if you were planning on moving a building, but it is too wet or windy to do so, you have to delay that move. It is what it is and we go through this at some level every season.
If you look at the picture of Valhalla above, you will see a good deal of open space. That is not the way it was supposed to be at this point, but, we've moved a few things around and they are now slotted for some late Summer plantings to fill in some of our Fall - early winter crop needs. The trick is that we want the tomatoes, peppers and other crops already in there to stretch their production into late October (and maybe early November) so we have to select compatible crops that will germinate in the conditions found in the building in August. It's a giant jigsaw puzzle. Good thing we like puzzles.
|Eden in late July|
We made a choice this year to hill up the planting space in Eden to deal with the issue of torrential rains flooding out crops in this building. You might be able to see what I mean if you click on the picture to make a larger version. The good news is that the couple of heavy rains that got Eden wet inside the building this year did not impact the crops. The bad news? Well, things in hilled beds dry out faster. And, during normal weather, high tunnels are DRY areas that require irrigation. Every choice has its consequences.
Regardless of the issues, we can say that our efforts have led to success. The early Summer lettuce crop (that grows up in the shade of the young tomatoes) was great - except we couldn't sell it all when it was ready. The birds were happy. The tomatoes are looking very good, the peppers have already produced above prior year levels and beans are doing well. The melons are about on par for a normal season and the basil looks great. We do feel as if we lost some flexibility with this model as it doesn't really support some of the crops we traditionally have grown in Eden. But, it all worked well enough that we can make adjustments rather than abandoning the whole thing.
And there you have it... onions, high tunnels and choices.