Food & Drink

Blowtorch comes in handy with onion planting

Dean Mullis
Dean Mullis JEFF SINER -- jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Finished planting potatoes this week and have four rows planted. Each row is 300 feet long and on contour so the rows serpentine. I think it looks cool but my definition of cool differs from most. Got all 4,500 onion plants in the ground also this week. Decided to plant them into landscape fabric.

Laid the 3-foot-wide fabric down on the beds and pinned it. Laid a wooden template down on the bed with 1.5-inch holes drilled in it on an 8-by-8-inch spacing and then burned holes with a hand-held propane torch. Worked much better than expected.

Stuck four onion plants per hole. Ellie and Levi came and helped finish after school on Friday and saved me hours of work.

We got about 1,400 transplants on the back deck including over 400 tomatoes. I don’t need that many tomatoes, will plant less than half that, but I like to have plenty to choose from and for insurance. I will sell or give away what I don’t need.

Our early starts are on the back deck instead of greenhouse so we can bring them back inside at night if we need to. And the fact that our unheated greenhouse has our new flock of 45 Australorp laying hens running amok. They have scratched up the floor of the greenhouse and destroyed the big patch of poison ivy that grew under the west side of the greenhouse last summer, but I can’t wait to get them out on pasture next week. They will go nuts.

Dean Mullis writes from Laughing Owl Farm in Richfield.

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