Aside from using the rocks around here for making my paints, I love using stonework to make my garden terraces and stairways to wind through those terraces. Today I added another step to the stairway on the front end of my garden. Cutting the roots from the nearby cedar tree and getting the rocks out of the way is labor intensive. So I usually only do one step at a time, and until I find the next suitable rock, it will be some time before I do the next one.
Literally taking it ‘step by step’. The front steps in my garden lead to the top tier of the terraces. It’s the shadier part of the garden and not much is planted up there yet. But I have some unhappy blueberry bushes that might be happier in the partial shade, so they’re on the list to move. I don’t have any beds made yet, though.
When I run out of my own home-grown yellow onions, I resort to using the bulbs of the shallots that are perpetual residents in my stonework garden. When I have yellow onions on hand, I use the green parts of these shallots as ‘green onions’. But the bulbs caramelize nicely if I want to sauté something, like the zucchini I wanted to use today. I did grow yellow onions this year, but they turned out to be even smaller than the shallot bulbs. So I replanted them to see if they’ll pick up where they left off and get bigger. And pulled the shallots instead. The leaves are all dead or dying on them now, so only the bulbs are available at this time of year.
My original start of these came from my grandfather’s garden. He was getting rid of them because he didn’t like the wide leaves and preferred green onions with narrow leaves.
So I took a handful of them and started growing them up here. Pawpaw lived in south Louisiana, where I grew up. He was an avid square foot gardener and kept notebooks (click to see him and his notebook, and me 10 years ago, lol) full of his records. They grew great up here in the Ozarks, and when they divided, I’d spread them around. Even without care they continue to grow.
An interesting thing I noticed is that when I plant a new bed with green onions, by the end of a couple of seasons, the soil in that bed is delightful. A new bed might take a few years before the soil becomes nice in it if I’m using the native soil to make it. But if I put these onions in there first, all the dead leaves that die back each winter, and all of the little roots that are left behind when I pull any of them to use in the kitchen, add humus to the soil.
Earthworms come up in it, and pretty soon it’s wonderful garden soil. So I can pull the onions and move them to a new stonework bed to work their magic. I haven’t done that yet with the new beds in my new garden. And each year I’m disappointed in the performance of plants growing in it. The problem is that I need to only plant the green onions in the new bed and I’ve been in a hurry to grow other things instead.
Goal: once this year’s garden dies back and it’s time to put it to bed, I’m going to put green onions in the most troubling bed and let them work on the soil for the next season, rather than try to plant in it again right away.