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Time for Planting Onions and More Newsletter




When the weather is still cold, it is a good time for planting onions and some other cool season crops.

Although they could have been planted in the fall, garlic (by rounds, bulblets or cloves), Swiss chard and other greens (by transplants and/or seed), radishes (by seed), beets (by seed) and carrots (by seed) can be planted now. Having floating row cover on hand to cover the plants on the coldest nights is important. In addition, it is the perfect time to plant onions (transplants), Irish potatoes (whole potatoes or pieces cut to between golf ball and baseball size) and asparagus (crowns). Soak all three for an hour in water with Garrett Juice added at 2 oz. per gallon of water.

Here’s a tip for your onion planting. Plant the transplants high in well-prepared healthy soil, apply corn gluten meal to the bare soil at 2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. and then cover the bare soil around the plants with a thin layer of shredded native tree trimmings. The corn gluten meal will feed the onions and dramatically reduce the weeds growing around your onions. By the way, this technique works for planting any food crops or landscape plants in bare soil areas.

Potatoes and walking onions

Plant the potatoes and asparagus just under the soil surface after preparing the soil with plenty of compost, rock minerals and sugar. See GUIDES on for the specific rates. I use whole potatoes but if you cut yours, treating the cut surfaces is not necessary. Planting asparagus in very well-prepared soil is all that is necessary. Digging trenches and slowly filling as the plants grow is a waste of time and money. Asparagus will produce impressively for many years by simply planting it in well-prepared sandy, loamy or clayey soils and mulching with 2-3½ inches of shredded native tree trimmings.

Shredded tree trimmings walkway through garlic and sugar beets.

The tough perennial herbs like thyme, oregano and parsley can be planted as well, except in the frigid parts of the country. There you will have to wait a while or plant in cold frames. Other herbs that should be considered include cilantro (coriander), chives, chervil, rosemary, salvia, winter savory, dill, chicory, fennel, borage, arugula, and salad burnet.

And, don't forget that pansies, violas and Johnny Jump-ups are edible flowers. So are dianthus and calendulas. However, none of the flowers should be eaten unless being maintained under an organic program. Toxins tend to concentrate in the reproductive organs of the plants. More of my edible plants information is under GUIDES on And - more about all fruits and vegetables can be found in my Organic Vegetable Gardening book; more on herbs in my Herbs for Texas book. My books are helpful coast to coast and border to border, by the way. Let's get to work!

To discuss this newsletter or any other topic, tune in each Sunday 8am - 11am central time to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show. The call-in phone number is 1-866-444-3478. Listen on the internet or click here to find a station in your area.

Please share this newsletter with everyone in your address book and all your friends on Facebook and Twitter to help me spread the word on organics.

Naturally yours,

Howard Garrett


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