Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thinning Onions

Ahhh! Finally two gorgemous days back to back!

After putting laundry on the line this morning, I did the first thinning of the onions. I planted seed of two varieties, Prince, which I bought last year and didn't manage to get in the ground, and Varsity, which I bought this year. I know that onion seed only has a one-year shelf life, but I figured I'd give it a try. The old Prince seed definitely had a lower germination rate. So much so that I hardly had to thin them at all. But what came up was also very weak and spindly compared to the Varsity onions. I suppose the old seed = weak seed = weak plants.

Thinning is so hard for me to do. I don't like the feeling of playing God with baby plants. "You must die even though you're a much stronger plant than the one I let live back there. You're just too close to this guy." It's cathartic to take out one's aggression on the weeds, but I feel remorse for each veggie I have to pull. I know, however, that if I want bigger, useful onions, carrots, lettuce, whatever, I need to sacrifice a few plants. At least the babies will wind up in tonight's salad.

Oh! In a DUH moment yesterday, I finally realized why I had such low germination rates with my lettuce. I could never figure out why lettuce I planted would have a tough time germinating while lettuce seed that just fell to the ground in the fall was sprouting all over the place come spring. I was planting the seed too deep. You're only supposed to plant it 1/8" deep. I was planting it at least double that. Duh. Read the directions, girl.

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