Taters and Onions

Freshly dug onions drying in the sun.

The last week or so, I had not paid much attention to the garden .  For the most part, it got the necessities and nothing extra.  I weeded a little and put the water on.  I cut some broccoli and dug up the plants that were spent or riddled with bugs.  The chickens just love this time of year because they get the garden discards.  I noted that the onion tops were flopping over, indicating harvest time.  To boot, I noticed about half of the potato plants were turning yellow.  FD and I were expecting company for the entire Memorial Day weekend and the week following, so I knew harvest would be on my “to do” list today.  Normally I pray for rain because it gets tiresome dragging the water hoses around in the summer heat, but this week I was hoping for dry, sunny weather.  Taters and onions do not like moisture at harvest time.

I was up early this morning to start the task of digging.  Of course I also had 5 water hoses going around the immediate 4 acres, picked a few blackberries, let the chickens out spreading scratch around for them to eat, and did a little weeding just to keep things interesting.  Well, I admit, that is a fib.  The thing is, I get too many irons in the fire because I see all of these tasks that need doing and pretty soon I am overwhelmed, running around like a crazy lady.  The idea is to stay focused and, like playing a memory game, I stay sharp to remember all that I have going on.  Never mind that I have at times lost tools, gloves, egg cartons, sprinklers and vegetable bowls along the way.  I eventually find them, but it often means backtracking and spending time looking for something.  I might even forget exactly where I was going.  The good thing is, eventually it all gets done.

By mid morning the heat was cranking up and the onions were laying out on the dirt in the sun.  I admired their golden beauty.  Next were the taters…

Drying the new potatoes to knock the dirt off.

Now I’m not the most talented at harvesting taters.  I know what my trouble is; I have no patience.  I’m in a hurry with most everything I do. I felt very accomplished after digging up two plants and not a one was spiked.  I was feeling proud and thinking maybe I had finally gotten the knack of digging carefully when I heard the crisp “CRACK” of a potato being split.  Oh boy.  One for the tater bucket for dinner tonight.  The thing is, they’re just fine if they are used immediately.  However, there is simply something special about a whole, unmarred, new potato.  Alas, I had failed this spud.  It was completely cracked in half.  I finished the row without further incident.  I still have 3 more rows of taters growing.  Hopefully, there will be plenty to take us into autumn.

Two-thirds of our onion crop ready for curing.

After a couple of hours in the hot Oklahoma sun I ventured back out to load up the onions and carry them in a wheelbarrow to the picnic table to dry a few days more in the shade.  From there I will braid the onion tops and hang them or place them in mesh bags.  Some will go to friends and family.  Most of them will be oven roasted with several varieties of tomatoes I am raising this year.  I’ll add the elephant garlic I planted too .  Last year I put up 24 quarts of roasted tomato sauce. It’s healthy and a very tasty sauce for pizza, pasta, atop meatloaf or as a robust soup with a splash of cream and a bit of Gruyère cheese.

Texas Sweet Onions.

This was my second year to raise onions.  Last year I planted my sets late and I was disappointed at the small size.  This year I got them in early and have a beautiful crop of Texas Sweets.  This was my first year raising potatoes.  The Red Pontiac and the La Soda Red both produced well.  The Yukon Gold were disappointingly small and few.  That is what makes gardening of all sorts interesting.  It is a mystery, a gamble, some luck (or not), a little talent and know-how, a lot of common sense and it can even be scientific.  It is rewarding when one plucks that plump vegetable and can say, “I raised this myself!”  Anyone can buy vegetables in the store.   It would only be those who are adventurous and courageous who dare to weather the trials and tribulations of growing their own produce… who become… victorious!!

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


6 thoughts on “Taters and Onions

  1. How early do you plant the onions? Are they from seed? I’ve only had success with chives so far but I’m determined to try again come late winter/early spring. Texas gets hot fast just like OK, we didn’t really have a spring this year.

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    1. This year I got most garden plants in the ground early. My onion sets were planted in late March. Harvest is generally in June here due to the onset of heat. My onions take a LOT of water. I tried planting from seed two years now with disappointing results. I won’t experiment with seeds again. I tried shallots this year too, but they’re struggling along. I have found water (and sometimes partial shade during the heat of the day) is essential for survival in the heat. Gardening in Oklahoma is quite challenging and I would think Texas would be extremely challenging!!

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  2. I really enjoyed reading through your site. I myself grow a very large garden and find it very pleasurable to work with the plants and the food tastes so wonderful. It is obvious that you also have the passion for the outdoors, hard work, simple pleasures and good food.

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    1. Thank you so much! I guess growing up on a farm, learning hard work and enjoying the simple things in life have followed me all through life. It’s a pleasure to be on this little piece of land, discovering all that it can provide, with just a little loving care! Thank you for your kind comment!

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