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Despite my earlier protestations, and with much appreciated assistance, I not only planted what turned out to be an overfilled garden, I har...

March 13, 2013

Fish Tank Garden Revisit with Side of Onions

2013 Tank Garden
I have put off using this method for a few years because of the success I've had with winter sowing my plants. Then around Christmas I started having conversations about the 2013 gardening season and what my plans were. The topic of onions came up and I quickly threw out the fact that I wasn't an authority on growing them successfully. In the past I have shared onion sets with my sister in-law and we just couldn't figure out why we only end up with tiny bulbs.

However, after some research and further discussions with professionals [ie.. a Master Gardener and the U of Minnesota extension service] I found out that onions in a zone 4a can be grown from sets successfully and we should have pre-ordered because we were getting and planting them too late. Also, there may have been an issue of not providing enough high phosphorus fertilizer and something about side dressing with urea.

So far this year the onions look great! I've started them indoors (BONUS: cheaper than sets) and I can direct sow more as soon as temperatures reach consistent 50° F. I'll be honest I haven't been brave enough to weather the elements or organized enough to start working in the soil that early in the season. 

Peas and greens I've started pretty early but my thoughts were that onions were too delicate to start when it was as cold as 50°. This temp may be a heat wave for most true Minnesotans but not for everyone. I'm speaking for myself!  This is why I keep my old dusty fish tank handy. So when the time does arrive to plant them outdoors I use less water to get them established (starting from seed takes lots of water) and I will already have something green to look at in the space. Plus, I hate to keep mentioning how running outside to water when it's 50° is just not my thing.

Besides Parma Onions, in my re-purposed fish tank I have growing Brussels Sprouts, Spinach, and Sweet William. I started all of the plants in early February and it only took two weeks before the initial starter leaves grew into true leaves. How great is that? 

The pictures below outlines the progress from February 12, 2013 up to now. Happy Planting to you all and please feel free to give me tips in the comment section or send me an email if you are an OGM - Onion Growing Master. lol

Spinach pushing through
Look at all those baby onions!
The true leaves are just beginning to show.
See all of the true leaves?