05 May 2012

Motorcycles, bees, and onions!

This morning we planted 3,600 onions!  
Lots of tiny onions to plant.

With four of us helping out we got a lot done very quickly.  

First we prepped the field.
Darryl prepping the field as Ross and Debby look on.

Then Sheeba took a rest in the cool, freshly tilled dirt.

Sheeba taking a break from exploring to rest in the dirt.  This is her supermodel pose.

After making a few adjustments...

Darryl and Ross adjusting the planter.

we were ready to plant!  Planting onions brings back several memories of childhood for me.  I recall how onion planting day would begin smoothly...with us kids being on our best behavior.  As the day dragged on, we would become more and more irritable.  The day would culminate with us throwing rock-hard clods of dirt at one another.  I truly remember this happening for at least 5 years in a row.  
Here we go!  First one to miss has to do the dishes!

Onions are one of the few crops that we plant with the help of a mechanical transplanter.  Usually, we just act as human transplanters.  One person drives the tractor (Darryl), two people sit on the back of the tractor placing small onion starts into the mechanical wheel (Ross and Brittany), and one person follows behind the tractor filling in gaps with more onions (Debby).  The two people riding on the tractor alternate putting onions into slots on the wheel.  Another memory this brings back is us kids getting highly competitive over who would "miss" the first slot.  We placed bets on this, typically involving house chores like doing the dishes.  I think that I won this year (take that Ross!).

 This year we ordered six varieties of onions.  Whoever it is that names the onion varieties does a great job.  My favorite variety is a red sweet onion called "Red Zeppelin".  Below is a picture of Ross holding his favorite variety, "Big Daddy".

Red Zeppelin! Hah! Who comes up with these things?!

Ross-daddy with his favorite variety: Big Daddy.

 The planting went quickly with all of us working together, and by 11 o'clock we had completed the field!  We went on to plant beans, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, swiss chard, and beets during the rest of the day.


A sea of onions.
We have also moved some of our flowers outside of the greenhouse to "harden off" before planting.  Giving young plants some exposure to the outdoors before they are planted lessens the chance that they will go into shock once in the ground.  See that bathtub in the background?  There is sure to be a blog post about that sometime this summer...
All of these trays are "on deck" to be planted.

In other news this week, I caught our farm cat "riding" Dad's Harley.  Naughty cat, engaging in shenanigans instead of catching mice!
Racecar the cat getting ready for a ride.

Ellen and I also found a swarm of honey bees this week.  Bee swarms are a natural occurrence in the spring and we were lucky to have found this one.  Bees are also a good friend to the farmer, as they pollinate our crops AND make delicious honey.  What did we do with this bee swarm?  That will be the subject of our next post!

A bee swarm.  Tune in next time to see what we did with it!

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