…is not to start them from seed.
Let’s just say I’ve been at this vegetable garden thing for quite some time now. Characteristically, when I started out, I wanted to everything to be over-the-top-perfect-best-way-to-do-things-ever. And I researched and planned. Started everything from seed. Obsessed. Etc. Etc.
Which is odd.
Because reading that, you’d think I’m a perfectionist.
But I’m not.
Not even close. Suggest to Dave that I’m a perfectionist and he is likely to snort beer out his nose. I am not a perfectionist.
I can’t really explain it, except to maybe speculate that it’s because I’m competitive. As in: if I was going to garden, then dammit, I was going to have the best and be the best gardener ever. And in my neophyte gardening mind, that meant exotic varieties, all started from seed…
So what changed my mind?
What made me the quazi-lazy gardener I am today?
It was a lot of things, but if I were forced to pick just one thing. I would say it was the onions.
Yes. The onions.
Everyone has tasks in their life that they hate. Dread. Loathe. Drag their feet to complete.
For me, it was the onions. [That was before my asparagus had taken on such massive proportions.] Starting onions from seed is… INSANE. But start them from seed I did. Every damn year. Because you can only get gourmet onion varieties in seed form. Onions like Red Torpedo, Ailsa Craig and Borrettana Cipollini. Now those are compelling reasons to start onions from seed!
Or, one would think they were…
But here’s the thing. Just like you weigh the benefits of making traditional ciabatta bread versus my quick recipe, you weigh the benefits of Ailsa Craig against “Yellow Onion” sets available in my local grocery store. And, truth be told, to me it is pretty safe to say a yellow onion is a yellow onion.
Maybe it’s the soil. Or maybe I just hate planting onion seedlings to such a point that I can’t see beyond the agony and I’m rationalizing…
But until you, too, have transplanted itsy, bitsy, hair-like onion seedlings with ridiculously long root systems, spread out nicely on a shallow mound, ever-so-delicately handling the babes so as not to damage their fragile preciousness, then I don’t think you get to vote as to whether I’m rationalizing or not. [oh, how I wish I had pictures of this process from years ago]
It is the most abhorrent task imaginable. And in the end?
You get a yellow onion. No one but me ever knew the sublime, supposedly sweeter difference.
So, much as it pains me to admit it, I rolled over to buying onion sets from the grocery store in the following exotic varieties: Yellow Onion. White Onion. Red Onion. Thrilling, no?
I don’t know if my technique is anything ground breaking, but I buy a whole bunch and plant them only about an inch apart. That way, I get to eat my thinnings. First as green onions or scallions, then as ‘spring onions’ like you see at the farmer’s markets, and finally as my storage and freezing onions.
I like to think it’s brilliant. Or more to the point: I’m brilliant.