Sunday, June 17, 2012

Alliums


Gnome and chives
I like alliums: onions, leeks, garlic, chives, wild garlic, wild onion... It doesn't matter what they are or where they grow. They have cheerful flowers and many of them taste good. (We won't address the mild allergy to garlic...)  This year wild garlic was prolific in the shade of the wooden dog pen. I felt guilty digging it up to put in the new raised bed for the cantaloupe and watermelon. Ah, but there are others in my garden. Chives wintered over again and are growing enthusiastically. The garlic that I planted as an afterthought last fall produced nicely.
Dried onions from 2009
Drying onions, 2012
The onions that I planted with my tomatoes last year got away from me. The tops died and I only found about half of them when I harvested. As usual, they were tiny: about the size of golf balls. This spring, all those missing onions sprouted and kept growing. When they went to seed, I enjoyed the balls of flower on the ends too much to harvest them. A few days ago, I broke down, dug them and braided their tops to dry. They are huge! Do onions need two years to make? Was it the organic fertilizer I used this spring that they liked? I know that you aren't supposed to harvest alliums after they go to seed, but what the hey? They were lost last year. Maybe they will be worth something this year. If not? Well, there is always the compost pile.
Leeks in bloom 2012
The leeks got away from me, too. I don't even care. They are so pretty! I enjoy going to the garden and watching the pollen gatherers at work. There are always honey bees working the leek blossoms. Wasps visit, and twice I have seen bumblebees at work. It gives me a charge to see the honey bees. My dad was a bee keeper. He had three or four hives in the garden, not to far from where I have my blackberries. When the hive would swarm, he would have to catch the new queen and her helpers to start a new hive. Who knows? Perhaps the bees working my garden escaped from Dad's hives.