Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Basement Onions: A Gardening Project

What in the world?!


I had walked down into the basement to grab an onion for dinner.  When I stepped over to the area that I hung my onions from, however, I was in for a bit of shock.

An alien lifeform had taken over my onions and planted their embryos inside, I decided.  Those green things were not young, sprouting onion stems.  They were tentacles.  My home had become the safe point for a currently unidentified lifeform that would begin a new breeding experiment on this planet, using onions as their incubators.

Hmmm.... I think I may have just come up for a great idea for my new book!

 Alright, alright... science fiction is fun, but I had to do something about the situation at hand.  I regretfully let reality take over again. 

Two of my organic onions had started to sprout from their bulbs.

On one onion, the sheath had already started breaking into several long, flat leaves.

My basement is very dark in that corner, since the window there had been boarded up long before I  moved in, so that wasn't the problem.

I believe there were two different factors at work here.  First, the basement is rather humid.  Second, we've had a heat wave in this area, so the basement is warmer than usual.  The combination of moisture and temperature seem to be good conditions for sudden onion growth.

I could get rid of these little guys, or...

I could have fun and do something with them!


I prefer option 2.  Who wouldn't?

I know absolutely nothing about planting onion bulbs.  I've planted them by seed, marveling at the results I encountered with that, but never in any other form.  I knew I'd probably get things wrong, but part of the fun of a new gardening project is learning from your mistakes, so...

I removed the dry peels of the onions.

They were sliding off, anyway, so why not?

I also noticed that one of the onions had started growing mold, so I rinsed them both off.  I wanted to remove as much of the mold as possible so that I could give this onion a fighting chance.

The onion on top is the one with the mold.  Look at the color change at the root end.

Now, if I was absolutely determined to eat any additional onions sprouting from this bulb, I wouldn't have tried.  This is an experimental gardening project, though, so I'm allowed to do things I normally wouldn't.

I decided to plant them in two entirely different locations, in order to see how that would effect growth.  

I'm certainly not following the scientific method, and therefore, this is not a true experiment, but it's a lot of fun, and that's what matters most, I think!

I planted the larger, moldy onion in the raised garden of the front yard.

I haven't done much with creating an edible garden in that location, having only planted mint in that bed, so this was a good place for it.


I loosened the earth, then dropped it in, covering the onion only as high as the sheath of the burgeoning plant.  Then I watered it.

This location is on the west side of the house, so it's far shadier than my other gardening locations.  I chose to place it there to see how this would effect its growth.

The lack of sun is generally a bad idea, but I figure that since we're in the middle of a heat wave (Again.  What's with that?!), this may actually be a benefit to the plant.  If not, well... it is the moldy one.  We'll see what happens.

The smaller, healthier onion was placed in the raised garden of the backyard.


This garden is as close as I get to full sun, which is what's required for onions.


My yard is largely shaded, due to the gigantic black walnut trees that surround it, so as the sun shifts throughout the day, this garden sometimes ends up with a small amount of shade.  Can I invent a new term and call this Mostly Full Sun?

No, probably not... I can hope, though, right?

Anyway...

The stems on this one are very thick, and aside from the white to yellow coloring, it feels very healthy.  I treated it the same way that I treated the first one, but because of the curved growth pattern (due to its position within the bag) I allowed the tips of the flat leaves to snuggle inside a small amount of earth.  We'll see what happens.

I'm rather excited to see what comes of this.

I did zero research, because for this gardening project I wanted to see what the basic approach of "drop it in the ground and see what happens" would do.  It may be a success, and it may be a failure.  I look forward to finding out which one it'll be!

How would you have planted?  Would you have done it in the same manner, or would you have done something totally different?

Or...

would you have just tossed these guys and settled for writing the aforementioned science fiction novel, instead?


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