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the cold is here

Posted by OklaMoni 7A (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 2, 14 at 7:10

and a light dusting of snow too. My outdoor thermometer says 11, NOAA says 16 and it is 6:09 AM as I type. My heater is trying to keep me warm...

I am glad, I am not an early planter.

Edit/adding: Oh, no, it is dropping, now NOAA says 14, and mine says: 10, and it is only 30 minutes later....

:(


Moni

This post was edited by OklaMoni on Sun, Mar 2, 14 at 7:41


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: the cold is here

It was 11 when I woke up this morning at 7:15, and the temperature hasn't budged from that in the past hour and a half. The mesonet says the wind chill is below zero, and it's only going to get colder tonight. I drowned my onions in mulch and put burlap and a tarp over them, but I'm not holding out much hope. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to start over with my peas, too, even though they haven't sprouted out of the ground yet.


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RE: the cold is here

Moni, it is 8:37 in Broken Arrow, and it is snowing. This is still the worse winter I can remember. I need pretty sunny days. These days are so bad. I wrote down some temperatures for this week. After today, we should have some decent days -- at least days for school.

My sister in Indiana said that they will begin making up snow days, and will do that by making the kids go early and stay later each day. That does not sound like a good idea to me.

Sammy


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RE: the cold is here

It's 11 out here in NE rural Norman at 8:30 AM. Mesonet says it's 12. We've been getting light snow for over an hour. The sleet that preceded the snow didn't last for very long, thank God.

I have my onions under a frost blanket in my slightly raised bed. Mesonet says the ground temp is 40. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the blanket is enough to protect them.

Paula


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RE: the cold is here

Sammy, when they close the schools, the cafeteria/kitchen people stay home too. But we are on salary. Having the kids stay longer, and come earlier won't help us. We have to make up all the days school has been closed so far this winter, which for me means I loose a whole week of spring break. I am sure, we are not working tomorrow either. Wonder how they will make us make that day up. YIKES, we may have to work after school is out at the end of the school year... and I have plans....

I don't like this cold either.

But, at least, I had insulation blown in to my exterior walls in January. Hopefully my gas bill won't be to high because of this storm.

Moni


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RE: the cold is here

Being so far south, the weather arrived here later obviously and our temperatures still are dropping. It was 60-something and sunny yesterday afternoon and still was 40 degrees at midnight. It now is 20 degrees and we have a wind chill of 8. Our fire pagers first went off for a wreck shortly before 3 a.m. but the icing didn't really start occurring until the firefighters were returning home from working that wreck. The roads are slicker now and our firefighters are out on the interstate working a wreck undoubtedly caused by someone driving too fast on an icy overpass. I think it will be a long day for the emergency personnel.

I only have onions in the ground and covered them up the best I could, but doubt it will be enough to protect them from tonight's very low temperatures. The fruit trees started blooming Saturday so it is likely we won't get much of a fruit harvest this year, if we get anything at all.

The sad thing is that when most of us planted our onions, we did so at the recommended time and with good air temps and good soil temps. There really wasn't any reason not to plant them on time because the conditions were perfect for them. I looked at the onion plant supplies in the stores yesterday, and there's not much left. A lot of what is left looks so dehydrated I don't know if they'd grow if bought and planted now. If people's onions freeze here, they'll have to search harder to find replacements locally.

I don't know if this is the coldest winter overall that we've had here since moving here, but I think we've had more icy road days than ever before. There's been lots of times in previous years when Tim stubbornly drove to and from Dallas on icy roads even if it took him 3 hours to get to work and 3 hours to get home. This year, he quit fighting the weather and just packed a bag and went to work prepared to stay there as long as necessary. Luckily for him, his best friend always invites him to come stay in their guest room, which still is probably 20-25 miles from work, but that's a lot better than 80 miles. If the roads are really bad, Tim books one of the extra bedrooms at one of the airport's six fire stations. With the worst storm, I think he stayed down there 4 or 5 days/nights and worked lots of overtime since other police officers who lived some distance from work couldn't make it in to work on those days. I'm glad he quit trying to be superman and drive on awfully icy roads. I keep telling him that it isn't worth dying just to make it home in order to sleep a few hours. He was spending more time going to and from work on ice than he was spending sleeping.

I am so ready for winter to be over with, but I don't think it is. I have dragged my feet about seed-starting and haven't been in any hurry to even move plants off the light shelf and out to the greenhouse. I have a lot of seedlings to pot up from starter cells to larger containers, and once I do that, they grow really quickly, so I've even been dragging my feet on getting that done.

Our native plants and the plants we've deliberately planted here are not popping up out of the ground or leafing out or blooming nearly as early as usual, and I am glad about that. The wildlife is really hungry. We feed the birds, deer, bunnies and whatever other wildlife stumbles upon their food, and we have had record crowds this year. At night so many deer come that they look like a herd of cattle. I wish the weather would warm up for the sake of all the wildlife that is having trouble finding anything left to eat.

I don't know how all the schools ever will make up all the time missed, Moni. I am not convinced adding a little more time to each school day gives the teachers the time they need to teach the kids everything they've missed on all the school days. The teachers I know are feeling a little stressed by all the missed time.

I don't like cold either, and I run outside and stay out a lot on pretty days, and hibernate indoors a lot on the cold days. This winter I've had to hibernate indoors a lot more than usual.

I'm going to pretend March is February and wait until closer to the beginning of April to put very much in the ground because I don't think winter is finished with us just yet.

Dawn


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RE: the cold is here

Will snow and ice cover insulate onions from the single digit temps ?

That's bout my only hope. I watered and covered them with a heavy layer of leaves , then watered the leaves ( good thing I got that pickup load of leaves from a landscaping crew last fall ) . But I doubt its enough.


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RE: the cold is here

Well, I've done some Googling to my own question, and found this ......................................

" ...........A dear friend the late Mike Lowe who lived and grew roses in New Hampshire, told me he welcomed the snow in winter. It acts as an insulator for the roses and anything else underneath it for that matter. He told me the act of water freezing creates friction in the molecules and that creates heat. Because of this the temperatures underneath the snow never get below 32 degrees. Thusly the snow acts just like a nice blanket and protects whatever is beneath it.

That’s why citrus farmers spray their trees with water before a freeze. The ice, like snow, actually insulates it. ................................... "

Maybe there is hope, since we got a light ice and snow here in south OKC before the extreme cold temps.

I guess we find out soon enough.

Here is a link that might be useful: Let it Snow


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RE: the cold is here

Our forecast low, depending on the website, is 6-8 degrees tonight. I really need to buy min/max thermometer so I know exactly what the temperature is/goes down to. I only planted onions and luckily I just bought some frost blankets to cover them all. It says it provides 6-8 degrees of protection so I'm also hoping enough snow will fall to act as insulation.

Cynthia


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RE: the cold is here

I think you have to have more than an inch or two of snow for it to act as insulation from the cold.


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RE: the cold is here

I went out late last night in pajamas to cover as many onions as I could with rubbermaid containers (only got about 20% of them, sadly), but I don't know if that will have been enough to save them. My poor onions! I am in NE norman and it was 13F here at 9:30am when I checked. BRRR.

This winter seems like it has been the most brutal of the 7 years I've lived here. I haven't started any seeds yet. I guess the one hope is that at least some of the stores still have onions, so I may be able to replace some. Hopefully the stores are keeping the onions inside at the minute. I know Ellisons normally leaves them outside during the day.


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RE: the cold is here

update

Ice Rain
Thunder
9.9 degrees under my front porch roof


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RE: the cold is here

OSUEngineer, I'm hoping on the ice...... and hoping for more snow.


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RE: the cold is here

Blasted! At this drafty old cottage. Forget the onions my TOES are freezing. hahahah

It's definitely still February.


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RE: the cold is here

South of Ft. Smith we have freezing rain. It looks like it will get worse as the day goes on. The deck and cars are iced over, the generator is full of gas with a new battery, I hope I am ready for whatever is headed this way. The garden is on it's own.

Larry


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RE: the cold is here

I'm shocked the NWS was so off on this. They're STILL showing the low for OKC today to be 24....


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RE: the cold is here

Moni, when the school tries to give you or us work to do, the ideas do not come from those who understand what we do. Whether it is your profession in the kitchen, or mine with a foreign language, we will be asked to discuss things that will help someone with their PHD. It will do us no good.

Broken Arrow and Tulsa are closed. We are in the middle, and probably closed too. Another day in June!!!

LCDollar, insulation would work better if we were not in a drought. My roses are waking up. You can just make it unsnow. Ha ha.

Sammy


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RE: the cold is here

funny but its not me


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RE: the cold is here

The NWS in Norman has been showing single digit lows for the OKC area all day. Currently, the forecast low is 6.
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?map.x=36&map.y=132&site=tsa&zmx=1&zmy=1#.UxPDVIXEFoU


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RE: the cold is here

Mesonet shows 11 here in NE rural Norman. Shallot - what do you read in town? Our thermometer shows 10. The mesonet also shows that the ground temp has dropped to 35 degrees from 40 earlier today.

I think I can start crying now over my onions...and not from slicing them. Forecast low is 7.

Paula


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RE: the cold is here

Paula, Don't cry yet. Onions can survive temperatures between 10-20 degrees if well mulched and covered. There's no guarantee, and many factors are in play, but they often will survive down to 10 degrees even if they freeze all the way back down to the ground. With a couple of inches of mulch surrounding the onions and row cover over the top, the onions might stay in the double digits even if your air temp drops to 7. Now, surviving is not the same as being unharmed, but often damaged onions bounce back nicely from freeze damage one time. Usually a second time gets them--either killing them or making them bolt. Even when I was covering up my onions yesterday, I wasn't expecting to save them all---just hoping to save some, if possible. I also wasn't expecting to uncover them tomorrow and find no damage. I expect damage and probably some plant death.

Remember that official air temps are recorded at 5 feet above ground. The temperature at ground level usually is colder, but it is hard to estimate what sort of difference mulch and row cover might make. I've never gone out on cold nights and measured the air temperature under row covers, for example.

Maybe this is just a year where we will lose some cold season crops, and there isn't much we can do about it.

Our daytime temperature dropped to 15 at our house and 16 or 17 at our mesonet station during the worst thundersnow/thundersleet. Then it came up a degree or two after the snow and sleet stopped. The forecast low for us has fluctuated between 15 and 13 today, but it wouldn't surprise me if it drops lower.

I have had perennial onions stay green all winter and the lowest temperature I remember them being exposed to was 3 or 4 degrees back in January. They had a little leaf damage, but they seem fine. I wish we could expect that good of an outcome with our regular bulbing onions.

Dawn


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RE: the cold is here

Dawn - I don't have them mulched, just covered with the frost cover at a height of close to 3 ft at center of the PVC hoop. By the time I knew of this cold snap - I didn't have time to gather mulch, uncover, apply, cover again and hope it heated up. Blech. My raised beds are made of cement blocks. Hoping that helps.

It's so horribly cold outside. Praying this doesn't cause another hike in propane prices.

Gotta go focus on the "hope springs eternal" and draw out my other raised beds! ha!


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RE: the cold is here

8 days ago I dug up some more of that dreaded Bermuda grass. While out there, I found these daffs peeking out.

 photo 100_3421.jpg

Lets think spring!

:)

Moni


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RE: the cold is here

Nice. Not much longer.


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RE: the cold is here

It's 10 pm, and we're already down to 8 degrees. It's going to be a long, cold night here, probably several degrees colder than the forecast.

How much cold can daffodils tolerate? Mine are coming up, too. I piled a bunch of mulch on them just in case, assuming the wind hasn't blown it all off of them.


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RE: the cold is here

I have never had problems with daffs freezing to cause damage. In the past, I took pictures of mine blooming and covered with snow. They bounced back.

I would not worry about daffs.

While out clearing my walkway,

 photo 100_3423.jpg

I went out back to see about my daffs. Totally covered... but these are out front:

 photo 100_3422.jpg


Moni

This post was edited by OklaMoni on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 9:49


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RE: the cold is here

I may have had it a little easier than many of you. My thermometer is cover in ice and I cant get it to switch from ground temp to air temp, the TV said 12 and my min/max said the soil temp is 39.9 the rain and then freezing may have damaged the thermometer and it may read 39.9 from now on. I have 2 bundle of red onions under the hay on the right. The winter onions and garlic had no protection. I have 7 bundles of onions in the south garden that got very little protection. About all I can do now is hope for spring.

Larry

 photo 001_zps1090d670.jpg


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RE: the cold is here

I'm a lot later getting my onions in, this year. Would have been an opportunity to test out the potash theory I was reading about on the Dixondale site.
I had to had some extra heat in the greenhouse. So, far it's seems to be purring right along....


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RE: the cold is here

*This is a repost, I've no idea where my original post went lol

Pretty cold this AM in Custer County, we were at 3F this morning, I had mulched the daffs in the front like crazy saturday but they are close to bloom so tomorrow I will pull it all off and hope for the best.

I direct sowed my snaps Feb 25 and of course they hadn't popped yet but I will probably need to resow regardless.

I felt like I missed the boat on setting out onion sets but after this guess I will set some this week. Hopes for all of y'alls out there.

Michael


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RE: the cold is here

Only twice in recorded Tulsa history has the max temp for a day in March failed to reach 20 degrees. The lowest daily high ever in March was 17 degrees on a mid-March day in 1948. Today Tulsa is forecasted to reach 17.


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RE: the cold is here

I've been a bear since the snow returned. I want spring! My little perceptive one barks its beauty. Dragging me to the window she revealed an unwanted snowy earth complimenting a brilliant cardinal close to the house.

We tossed the first handfuls of bird seed and I quietly prayed it become a strong tradition.

I hope the distributors have enough onions to resupply. lol


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RE: the cold is here

My daffs were about 2 1/2 inches tall and now they are 2 1/2 inches under the snow. I don't like them where they are and they need to be thinned anyway, so it isn't a problem.

I took a ruler out today and measured the snow on my glass top table. It measured 5 inches but after I came inside and looked out the window, I could see that I didn't measure in the deepest part, but had measured where the sun was hitting it and had already caused it to pack down a little.

The Mesonet says our county went to 2 degrees with a wind chill of minus 13. Al couldn't get the front door open this morning although we had cleared the porch about midnight. He had to go out the back door and walk around to the front so he could shovel the snow away from the front door. Actually it is the prettiest snowfall we have had this year, but very dangerous.

I have used the time to start seeds and after tonight I should have all of the vegetables done that I normally plant in Spring. My first tomato seeds germinated today, and I moved the broccoli from the starter blocks yesterday. I'm a week or two late, but that is going to be OK this year.

I live too far from seedmama to order onions with the group and have not been satisfied with any transplants that I have seen. I was afraid to order this year because I had some timing issues in addition to the weather, so I don't have any onions in the ground. I am still using Candy onions from Dixondale from last years garden, and I will miss having them this year. Hope I can find some even if I am late.


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RE: the cold is here

Larry yours looks better than mine.


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RE: the cold is here

Compost pile


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Carrots, spinach and lettuce might still be under there under 4 or 5 layers of bed sheets.


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RE: the cold is here

Last one. I thought this was a cool picture.


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RE: the cold is here

Tulsa high today according to the mesonet was 19. That would be the third lowest March high temp in recorded history. 1948 had one bear of a 3-day cold snap in the middle of March that set some amazing records.

The first key to a good pecan season is a cold March. Looking good so far.


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RE: the cold is here

OSUEngineer, I think you are right. It looks as though you had more wind, more snow and lower temps than I did. Those are beautiful pictures and I hope you don't have any damage. I think my plants would be in better shape if the lawn mower had not quit while hauling mulch. My soil temp was 39.9 this AM, and was 39.4 at dusk. I am hoping it does not go more than 3 or 4 degrees lower and maybe I can save some of my onions and garlic. If they look too bad I will replant.

Larry


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RE: the cold is here

My onions are under the leaves, ice, and snow. It should thaw today and I can begin to find out if they survived.


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RE: the cold is here

LCDollar, I have high hopes for your onions, as well as mine. My hopes are that the soil had enough heat stored in it to help heat mulched items. My soil temp at planting depth is still above 38 degrees. I don't know it that is enough to save the onions, but there is nothing I can do about it now. Your mulch looks thicker than mine, but I doubt It got quite as cold here.

Larry


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RE: the cold is here

It didn't get as cold here as it did for some of you. Sunday night's low was 8 and last night's was 18. We had a thunderstorm Sunday morning which was really weird because it was thundering like crazy and "raining" ice pellets. We didn't get any snow at all and the ice is gone now. I just uncovered my onions and they're all okay. I'm not worried about tonight, but I may cover them again tomorrow just in case. After that, I hope I don't need to cover them again.

Leslie


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RE: the cold is here

I just uncovered my onions, and they still have their turgor pressure, but IDK that means anything. They are still green and have not wilted.

We had bout 2" of ice and snow and temps down to 6* Sunday night.


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RE: the cold is here

I haven't checked my onions yet, I'm waiting for all the snow to melt. I covered them with frost blankets that provide 8 degrees of protection and I put jugs of warm water underneath. I think we got 1-2 inches of snow on top of that. Our low for Sunday night was 6 degrees so I'm not sure if it was enough to save them. My forecast is showing rain/snow tomorrow and Friday's high is in the 60's so I will find out then.

Cynthia


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RE: the cold is here

Leslie, We had thundersleet and thundersnow too. I loved it. I'd never heard of them until after we moved here. The first thundersnow storm I remember was in 2004, and Tim was out of town and missed it.

I haven't checked my onions yet. I thought I'd leave them covered up until tomorrow morning, just in case tonight's low temps might drop lower than expected.

Larry, Our soil temperatures stayed surprisingly warm here, but then we'd had days in the upper 70s (and it hit 80 once) in the week before the storm hit, so our soil temperatures were wonderful. They were averaging in the low to mid-50s but had hit 60 degrees on a single day here and there. I am hoping that warm soil protected the onions underneath their mulch and row cover, because we didn't get enough snow/sleet here to adequately cover and insulate them.

Tomorrow will be even warmer than today was, and then after that we have a couple of nice days ahead.

Dawn


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RE: the cold is here

Neglected to uncover my onions this morning because it was quite snowy when I left for work. Now I'm afraid they will be steamed when I get home. :( Can't win!


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RE: the cold is here

Mia, I uncovered the onions in the north garden (hay and leaf mulch). They look ok. I have not uncovered the onions in the south garden. I ran into one problem I was not expecting, some of the onions were still frozen to the mulch and I pulled a few of them. I replanted the ones I pulled and will wait for the rest of ice and snow to melt before I uncover the south garden.

It is so wet here I need an air boat.


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RE: the cold is here

Mia - take heart!!! For what it may or may not be worth, I planted mine under a frost cover in one of my slightly raised beds. The ice we got formed about a half inch layer over the covered hoops. Mine look just fine this evening. I'm sure yours will be fine too.

I did this last year for cold crops and it worked great. In another week or so, I'll plant another bed with brocs, cauliflower & cabbage. That one will get a frost cover too. I only undo them when I water every few days or as needed. It seems to work well with the crazy weather we've had the last couple years. I'm just now eating the last of the brocs we grew last year.


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p-mac

I am doing the same thing this year for the cool season vegetables. I think it will work great.


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RE: the cold is here

I removed the row cover from the onion beds on Wednesday and they seem to be fine. I had "sprinkled" the straw mulch over them lightly so it was really fluffed up and wouldn't weigh them down. I pretty much covered up the plants entirely, though there were lots of air pockets in there, so I had intended to gently rake back the mulch with my hands to uncover the onion plants. However, they already were growing upwards through the mulch so I just left it on the beds. The rain yesterday morning probably packed down the mulch a little more, and tomorrow's rain, if it falls as predicted, likely will do the same.

I do the same thing y'all are doing with hoops and row cover. Last year I had the hoops and row cover over everything, except beans and corn, through the end of the first week in May. On warm, sunny days, I pulled back the row cover and let it lie on the pathways so the plants could have full sun, but that's because I mostly use a 3 oz. row cover that blocks a lot of the sun. On the beds with a 6-8 degree row cover that weights from 0.5 oz to 1.5 oz (I have different ones from different manufacturers so they all aren't the same) I could leave those on the beds all the time because they let a lot more sunshine through to the plants.

We've been using hoops for at least 5 or 6 years now, though usually only over a few selected crops and the more I use them, the more I like them. I used floating row cover as a floater for a long time before I tried hoops and for me it seems to last longer when used over hoops than when it floats. In our erratic late winter and spring weather conditions, row cover is about the best investment I've ever made in terms of gardening supplies.


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RE: the cold is here

I still have onions though I only covered them with the alfalfa hay and about half what I planted. The survivors have tripled in size. Some garlic is coming up, too.

My garden might be plowed to my desired 5,000 sq ft. That means I'll need to pull all these up and relocate them.

I have a good plan for an alternative bed, but I was wondering if I'm wasting my time moving them and should just plow them under or if there is any particular special behavior I should perform when transplanting.

I'm assuming transplanting is not an 'all-kill' since these types are transplanted every year. They are still small. Nothing bigger than a pencil.


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RE: the cold is here

Bon, Remember that onions (and all the other types of alliums that we grow for food) are biennials. This means that normally they grow the first season and flower at the end of the second season.

Their first season occurs when the seed is grown to transplant size and then the transplants are pulled, bundled and shipped to consumers. Once the consumer plants the onion transplants in the ground, the plants begin their second season. What should happen in the second season is that the roots grow, the leaves grow and elongate, more leaves form, etc. If nothing abnormal interrupts this second season, you will get harvestable bulbs, normally in the June-July time frame, though sometimes I have short-day types ready for harvest at the end of May. If you were to fail to harvest those bulbs, the leaves would die back, and then when growth resumed, they'd flower. The flower stalk would split the bulb and it would be of poor quality.

If something unusual interrupts the second season, the onions often bolt and send up a flower stalk. I won't say it happens to 100% of them. Sometimes a few bolt, sometimes most of them bolt. Once that happens, they won't bulb up because they are putting all their energy into producing seeds.

The something unusual that interrupts their second season could be something as simple as a few consecutive nights with temperatures below 45 degrees once the onions have at least 5 leaves, but also could be very heavy rainfall, overfertilization early in their growth cycle or anything else (like being transplanted again) that disrupts the normal growth that began to occur after you put the plants in the ground the first time.

Each variety responds to interruptions in different ways. Some bolt. Some seem to stall and just not grow well. Some seem to grow fine and don't bolt but produce very small onions instead of the nice big bulbs one expects.

There are so many variables involved that you cannot predict with certainty what will happen. DIfferent varieties respond differently, and even different plants of the same variety can respond differently, but when you transplant onions a second time once their second season has started, what happens most of the time is that you do not get a good crop.

Must you move them? Can't they just grow where they are now and then next year you plant that new crop of onions in the new, enlarged garden area?

To clarify, they tolerate being pulled from the ground, being shipped and being put into the ground a second time because they are biennials. If you then try to move them again, you're treating them as perennials. That interruption in their growth can cause split bulbs, rerooting, bolting, etc. Will transplanting kill them? No. Onions are tough and can survive being moved repeatedly at times, but the tradeoff is you likely won't get the bulbs you want. If you want onions that you can move around that way, you need to grow perennial bunching onions----but they give you little onions, not great big bulbs.

In the spring, I often take whatever onion bulbs from the previous harvest still are in storage and are sprouting green leaves, and I plant them in the garden. They'll give us beautiful flowers (because they are in the third season at this point) but they won't give us big bulbs. Usually after they flower, the bulbs will have split into many pieces. I have left those ornamental onions in the ground and often had onions come back, grow and bloom for several years in that location, but I've never tried to harvest them. I'm not sure if the new onion plants each year keep coming from those split bulbs or if they are from seeds that drop from the flower heads after they are through blooming. I like the allium flowers because they attract tons of tiny beneficial insects.

By attempting to move onions that already are happily growing, you're disrupting their natural cycle and there's normally a price you pay for that.

Dawn


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RE: the cold is here

Yeah, I'm really sorry they need to be moved, but the upcoming plow is a one-off. Having that 5,000 sq ft plowed at once and deeply can cut off about 5 years of soil amending if I follow up with a heavy buckwheat cover. It would be ready in fall and warm crops by next year. The entire area is decades-old bermuda except for my little worked area including the onions. I think it's worth the loss. I don't think a tractor with a plow could even turn in that area with them there.

But I think there are only about twelve of them left after the freeze. My family would require hundreds. So, it's not a huge loss. Flowers!

The learning has been priceless. I cannot resist adding that the three onions I started from seed last fall are the healthiest. The seed was old so only three germinated. They were slow to grow in an area of unamended soil, but nothing is holding them back. I am definitely creating a special planter for sweet onion starts this fall. I like the results compared to the store-held Dixondale onions.

I'd imagine buying direct from Dixondale produces fresher starts, but seed is cheap and when established onion starts are really low maintenance.


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