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Preparing Soil to Plant Onions

Posted by David Grau on

Originally Posted on November 09, 2013

Welcome to the Valley Oak Tool Company gardening tips newsletter for early November.

sprouting garlic shootThe hardneck garlic that we planted in the garden at Valley Oak HQ has sent up leaves through the thin layer of mulch. The softneck has yet to show the lovely green shoots, but we estimate they will not be far behind the hardneck. Once the leaves grow taller, we'll add more mulch to help conserve moisture, protect the soil from hard rains, and help prevent the growth of weeds within the garlic rows. We're also going to plant some onions!

Preparing Soil to Plant Onions

preparing garden soil with a broadforkWhen we prepared the soil for planting the garlic we determined that it was not compacted and we did not broadfork it. We just used the Wheel Hoe to cultivate and furrow the rows. We did use the Broadfork on the section of the garden that had David's staked tomatoes though, and we'll be planting onions in a section of that area.

Kyle added compost to the area before broadforking. This allows the compost to trickle into the soil as the broadfork opens it, helping to add nutrients and organic matter for the soil microorganisms. This will aid the growth of the onions. After completing the broadforking, Kyle used the Wheel Hoe with the Four-Tine cultivator attachment to help break up any clods. Then he used a bow rake to smooth the soil into a nice planting area.

When we are ready to plant the onion starts, we'll use the Furrower attachment to make the furrows, and we'll plant the onions. We find that when we have the best tools to use, soil preparation is a pleasurable experience, rather than a burden.

What We're Reading

Fields of Plenty - A Farmer's Journey in Search of Real Food and the People Who Grow It by Michael Ableman

Fields of PlentyMichael Ableman left his farm during the peak growing season to visit many different farms and farmers across the US and in Canada. His search for local, organic, sustainable food revolutionaries is thoughtfully relayed, with anecdotes of his own farming experiences sprinkled in.

Along the way he is plied with crates of fruit and vegetables from farmers, fed delicious meals by his hosts, and is treated with warmth and generosity from the farmers he visits. From the Northern California grain farmer who ploughs with horses, to the rooftop greenhouses in New York City, and the artisan cheese makers in the Midwest, Ableman shares the stories of the farmers and their operations. It is a journey that is enjoyable and educational.

Until next time, all of us at Valley Oak Tool Company wish you many abundant harvests.

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