Saturday, May 23, 2009

Invasion of the Monster Onions - And Making a Raised Bed - Easy!

Invasion of the Monster Onions!

These Volunteer (Second Year) Onions are getting entirely out of hand! Does anyone know if they might be dangerous? They seemed to be pretty tame when I took this picture yesterday. The're certainly outgrowing the onion patch! I'm afraid they may get too confident and leave the onion patch. And get out of the garden gate! Then What?

Does anyone know how to collect seeds from these things. They are just ordinary little bulb, stick-'em in the ground green onions. Last year was definitely not a good year for my onions. This year they seem to be doing quite a bit better.

Simple Raised Bed Methods
The soil for this 4 X 8 plot had enough clay in it to grow clay pots and little else. I amended it of course with a mix of topsoil, cotton boll compost and a little commercially processed steer manure. It seems to be paying off this year! I made my 4 X 8 plot by using 3 "Garden Timbers". Two full length timbers made the sides and the third - cut in half - made the ends. Lowe's or Home Depot or your local hardware store should have the 6 inch galvanized spikes to nail the corners together. 4 should do. You won't be moving it much. If you want it more than 3 -1/2 inch deep, you just nail another layer of Garden Timbers on top of that. And maybe even another layer. Two rows would make it 7 inches deep. 3 layers, 10 -1/2 inches deep. Another method for making a raised bed is to use ordinary concrete blocks. Fill the holes with dirt.
Lay down a 6 mil sheet of plastic or better and add dirt or water. If you add water, you could now raise beautiful Koi. But i digress....

Another method for makeing a raised bed is to use Common 2 X 12 Lumber. Not Treated. Paint or seal the outside and possibly use a plastic liner to protect the wood from deteriorating. A few years back, people were often using old tractor tires and truck tires for raised beds. Not Good! There is the danger of Chromium leaking into the soil so I've heard,As well as noxious fumes. Especially from newer tires when that July sun starts bearing down. Check this out for yourself before using tires to plant edibles in!

So now you have some ideas about making raised beds for your garden. But I still don't know what to do with those two Gargantuan Onions!

Copyright Robert Mader 2009

All Rights Reserved


I would enjoy hearing about your experiences (or inexperiences!) raising onions. I first attempted to grow Big Bulb onions 5 years ago. It took 3 years and 3 tries before I raised decent onions. Now I am starting out in an entirely new bed in entirely different (clay) soil) and I think I just might have a handle on raising these things again. Please leave a comment about your trials with onions - and any hints. I have a long post coming up this fall or winter about how to raise them and I would like your input too! Thank you folks. I try to answer my mail promptly. You can e-mail me at RobertLee97@GMail.Com. Or just leave a comment here. I'll get it right away.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How To Start A Weeping Willow From a Twig!

How to start your own forest
of weeping willows!

This is how I did it last year:

I cut about 20 - 12 inch or so long new branches in early spring. Cut the ends as a diagonal cut about 1/2 inches or so. Be Careful.
Do not use a dull knife. It's true, a dull knife is more likely to get you than a sharp one. Dull knives slip and tear. Keep children (and grown-up kids) at a safe distance away from your working knife!
You could snip off a bunch at the momma tree with a shears. Then cut slips into the ends when you are ready to put them into a sand filled Coffee Can. Use a newly bladed Box Knife or other sharp bladed Knife - NOT a serrated kitchen knife.

When you get them home, strip about half the leaves off from the cut end of the branches, (They should look like long twigs with a few leaves at the top.)

Punch several holes in the bottom of a Coffee Can with an average sized nail (8 Penny nail or Ice pick size - or so ). Fill the Coffee Can full of sand (childrens sand OK). Add enough water to make the sand wet and allow to drain.

Push the cut ends deep into a coffee can of wet sand. Keep the sand damp and put the can of new sprigs into a semi-shaded or partial shaded sheltered area outside to sprout.

If, when you pull on the twigs and they tug back, they are most likely making roots. Give them fresh water every day. Just pour it into the can and let the excess drain out the bottom.

Within a 2 or 3 weeks, nearly all the twigs should have developed roots and started to grow. At this point, you could just put them into a jar of water and add a very dilute mixture of Miracle Grow(R). About 1/4 the recommended mix for potted plants). Let them grow for a week or so.

After the new trees have developed a fine mass of roots, you can then plant them into 6 inch pots for further growth until planting them into regular soil.

The pots should grow fine little trees using a potting mix with a half sand - half soil mixture. Fertilize with 1\2 diluted Miracle Grow(R) or other fertilizer as recommended for potted plants. Gradually harden them off with more and more sunlight. A little more each day for about 10 days until they can stand full sunlight all day long.

Transplant after a few more weeks. Have Fun!
Willow trees like to be watered often. that's why you will aften find them next to rivers, creeks etc. in the wild. Also, a little known fact. Willow trees were the first source for "Aspirin" The Native American Indians first used Willow Bark for headaches and menstrual pain. Etc. Dr. Bayer discovered how to synthisize it in Germany in the late 19th Century and put it into pills.


Copyright Robert Mader 1009
All Rights Reserved