Onions are here!

We’re a week or two before I normally plant onions here in the Tri Cities, and once again I have onion plants for sale from Dixondale Farms.  These healthy starts have worked very well for me in previous years, which is why I offer them to you.

As last year, they are $2 for a bunch of 30, or $3 for a bunch of 60.  I have lots of the Walla Walla sweets, of course, but I also have a few others that have been recommended to me.

Walla Walla sweet onions in July

Ailsa Craig

Said to be one of the largest growing varieties available, this is an open pollinated sweet onion.

Copra

Hybrid yellow storage onion.  Not as sweet as a sweet onion, but sweeter than most storage onions.

Red Zeppelin

Hybrid, full flavored red storage onion. These were early and very good quality in my garden last year.

Redwing

Sharp red storage onion, highly recommended, but new to me.

Walla Walla

Large, open pollinated sweet onion.  This one needs no introduction.

Email at onions@34.215.132.115 to request delivery in Richland (Friday afternoon or Saturday evening this week) or to arrange to pick them up in South Richland.  Or, you may call (509) 713-2010 and leave a message.

Seeds

The first wave of 850 seeds for the new year were sown yesterday.  Many exciting things coming.  Here’s how things are shaping up:

  • Dwarf Varieties AvailableI’m planting the indeterminate dwarf tomatoes early this year in order to sell them at a more mature size.  I was very impressed by these little plants last year, which do well in pots, standard tomato cages, or square foot gardens.  Unlike determinate tomato plants which remain small and deliver all of their crop at once, these continue to produce tomatoes all season, while remaining small and manageable.  I have all of the varieties released by the Cross Hemisphere Dwarf Project that I could get my hands on, plus a few heirlooms like New Big Dwarf, Dwarf Champion Improved, and the diminutive, determinate cherry Tiny Tim, which has been a regular customer favorite.
  • I’m also planting the peppers earlier and growing them hotter to give them more size than the puny things I grew last year.  I’m changing the tagging, using red tags for hot peppers and green tags for sweet.  Hopefully that will clear up some of the confusion.  I have
    • red, orange, and yellow bells
    • a sweet cherry pepper
    • Giant Aconcagua, which is one of my children’s favorites
    • Jimmy Nardello, a very sweet frying pepper
    • Jalapeño M, a very mild, though not heatless jalapeño.
    • Aji Dulce, a very mild habanero that ripens red
    • Habanero, the classic orange flamethrower
    • Bhut Jolokia, the Ghost Chile, currently the Guiness record holder for heat.
    • a beautiful, variegated Fish pepper plant, often planted as an ornamental, though edible (and hot).
Red Zeppelin onion culls, excellent in salads early in the season.
  • I’ve committed to providing the following onions, starting March 3rd until sold out.  As last year, $2/30 and $3/60.  The bundles were very generously packed last year, with up to 80 plants in a 60 plant bundle.
    • Walla Walla Sweet, of course
    • Ailsa Craig, a very large sweet heirloom
    • Copra, which was quite popular last year
    • Red Zeppelin, a big sweet red
    • Redwing, totally new to me
  • There are 120 varieties of tomato on the grow list this year, which I’ll publish as soon as it’s finalized.  With a new hoophouse to provide better spring weather protection, and several process improvements, we’re on track to have over 3000 plants for sale at the end of April, with a final production wave showing up mid-May.  Larger, stronger, healthier plants than last year is the goal.  And everything tagged and separated ahead of time, thanks to a change in the transplant process.  Still no chemicals, no pesticides, no substances that are not organic.
  • More exciting announcements to come!  Stay tuned, and let me know if you have any feedback from last year, or there’s anything you’re looking for.  I’m paul@34.215.132.115.

Preparing for 2012

December is the month of seed preparation and orders.  I’ve reviewed the information I collected in 2011 on which varieties did well and what kind of feedback I got from people who grew them out.  Despite the bad weather and poor condition of some of my inventory, there were some good success stories:

Kosovo was the most productive variety in the gardens of many people that I spoke to.  It had beautiful, large, flavorful tomatoes and really made a place for itself in my standard lineup.  I was very impressed by this large heart shaped pink.

Opalka continues to impress.  I also grew several other paste tomatoes, including Heidi and Sarnowski Polish Plum, but Opalka was the one I heard about from new customers.  All three of these will be in the standard varieties again for 2012.

Sungold is always a winner for cherry tomatoes.  Nothing beats this unique, fruity, sweet sensation.  Everyone ought to try this one.  It will convert even non-tomato lovers.

Dwarf Tomatoes from the Cross-Hemisphere Dwarf breeding project proved to be very robust.  Tasmanian Chocolate, Rosella Purple, and Dwarf Beryl Beauty were strong growers that produced large sized tomatoes in containers, with a little support.  I’ve pulled in seed from all of the new dwarf releases from the project for 2012 and hope to do some comparison.

Peppers, especially the sweet ones, were very popular with customers, despite the small size of the plants I had available.  For 2012 I will have more varieties of sweets, but more importantly I will be starting them earlier, with more heat, to hopefully get better size on them.  Although I’ve been growing large numbers of tomato plants for over ten years, I had never grown so many pepper plants, and 2011 was a terrible year to start with its record cold spring.  I’ll also be back with more Bhut Jolokia Ghost Chiles, for the most adventurous heat loving fools (like me).

Onions, which I brought in on a whim, flew out the door so fast they were mostly spoken for on the day I announced them!  I can get them in again, at $3-4/bunch of 50, but I need to get a quantity order in soon.  Most of the varieties performed great for me, but I’d like to hear more from those who bought them.  I’m also going to take another run at seeding onions, on the advice of a couple local growers I spoke to.

Was there anything that did particularly well for you, or that you’d like to see me offer this year?  Let me know, here in the comments, or at feedback@34.215.132.115.  I’m looking forward to a great garden in 2012!

Onion starts now available

It is onion planting time in the Tri Cities and I have onion plants for sale from Dixondale Farms.  They produce great starts, but all of this wet weather is making it challenging for me to keep them in good shape, so I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep them in stock.

They are $2 for a bunch of 30, or $3 for a bunch of 60.  I have lots of the Walla Walla sweets, of course, but I also have a few others that have been recommended to me.

Walla Walla sweet onions in July

Ailsa Craig   Sold Out!

Said to be one of the largest growing varieties available, this is an open pollinated sweet onion.

Copra Sold Out!

Hybrid yellow storage onion.  Not as sweet as a sweet onion, but sweeter than most storage onions.

Mars Sold Out!

Mild flavored hybrid red onion.  This is a classic, but may be discontinued next year (one of the strongest arguments against depending on hybrid varieties of any plant–the company can discontinue seed at any time).

Red Zeppelin   Sold Out!

Hybrid, full flavored red storage onion.

Walla Walla

Large, open pollinated sweet onion.  This one needs no introduction.

Email at onions@34.215.132.115 to request delivery in Richland (through Saturday, April 2nd, only) or to arrange to pick them up in South Richland.  Or, you may call (509) 713-2010 and leave a message.