Shave and a Haircut! Two Bits!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Table Grape Vines in Need of a Haircut
Springtime means big time projects in the Bird Back 40. Yes -- it also means gardening -- but it can also involve prepping for the upcoming summer fresh fruit season. If you had the pleasure of growing up in the Central San Joaquin Valley, you've had the pleasure of tasting some of the best fruit that our hot, dry summers have to offer. I am sometimes amazed by the bounty of fruit and produce that this valley produces, from southern Kern County to northern Shasta County.

Short and sweet? We can grow just about everything here. We help feed the entire nation when it comes to some crops. We're spoiled. And I like it that way!

Warning! Pruning Job Ahead!
One crop that grows particularly well in this valley? Grapes! Not just any grapes mind you -- but my favorite: The Table Grape. California leads the nation in both wine and table grape production. Wine grapes get most of the ink because this nation has a never-ending love affair with all things wine. I find it strange that I never did develop a taste for vino. After all, I love grapes. It should make sense, then, that I would love wine. Right?

Wrong. I can't stand the taste of wine. I love grape juice. I absolutely love any type of cider made from pomegranates, pears, apples, etc. But I can't do wine.

Color me strange.

Venus and Audrey with Fantasy Table Grapes
We are now headed into the fourth year of table grape production in the Bird Back 40. Last year was simply off the hook in terms of table grape production, even though I probably lost 40% to 50% of the crop to a scourge called powdery mildew. Even though I have no problem using controls to combat this problem, I discovered too late last season that the product I had been using protects against a bevy of diseases, except powdery mildew. By the time I finally did procure the right controls? It was already too late.

I won't have that problem this year.

I always encourage others to grow grapes in a backyard or side yard or even turn part of a front yard into a productive and pretty arbor. They're easy to grow and deliver a tasty snack for months on end. But if there's one thing I've learned? Grape vines need care. The more you care for them? The better they will be to you in terms of a tasty harvest. I've also come to discover that field hands who do this dirty work of tending vines deserve hazard pay. This isn't an easy task.

Red Suffolk Table Grapes Protected by Bird Netting
There are a multitude of ways to prune grape vines. It seems like commercial growers are always coming up with one ingenious way or another to prune a vine so it will provide a fatter harvest. The better the harvest? The better the profit margin!

In my case? I practice two tried and true forms of pruning: Spur pruning and Cane pruning. I find spur pruning works best with some varieties of table grapes, while cane pruning works better with others. In some cases? With some varieties like the Black Monukka? It really doesn't matter. The Black Monukka is going to deliver a whopper harvest no matter how it's pruned. Simply put? The Black Monukka is one of the best tasting table grapes that you can plant in your backyard.

Marquitos Points Out Two Year Old Wood
The fruit for this year's harvest is going to come from the spurs or canes that emerged during last year's growing season. It's the first-year wood that you're looking to save during the "shave and a haircut" process. While I've discovered, by accident mind you, that two year old wood will also produce fruit, it won't produce as much as the first-year wood.

Some table grape varieties will produce a multitude of new canes during the growing season. Some don't. For those that don't produce a lot of new canes during the growth season? I practice spur pruning. And then there are others like Fantasy and Flame that produce so many new shoots during the spring and summer that it's tough to decide what to keep and what to completely prune away.

Partially Trimmed Vines
Spotting the two year old vines is easy enough. First, the wood is a bit darker. Secondly, it's wood that I tied to my grape vine trellis with green stretchy tape last year. This is wood that I will want to completely cut away as it served as last year's fruiting canes. They aren't needed anymore.

The second step is locating and keeping the fattest and thickest canes that emerged from the trunk of the vine the previous season. With some vines, it's obvious. With others? Not so much. When it comes to spur pruning a vine, one only needs to keep two of the strongest canes that emerged the previous season. Sometimes you have ten to choose from, which means you're doing a lot of cutting.

Vines Pruned and Tied to Trellis
The Flame table grape variety, for example, must have produced 20 new shoots last season. It was probably the fastest growing vine out of the bunch. But I could only keep three of the best branches, which means 17 others got pruned away along with the old wood.

Another thing to watch out for? Bending a particular branch in one way or another can result in a whipping motion that leaves a nice little red welt on your face or neck. Remember what I told you about field hands and hazard pay?

But, the moment finally does come when you've completely pruned each vine and kept only the best canes. These are the canes that will serve as this year's fruit producers. The job isn't quite done yet. These canes need to be tied down, or trained, to move in one direction or another. Sometimes they don't want to move in the direction you want them to move in. They will remind you of this when slapping you across the face once you've made the mistake of letting go of a vine before you've got it tied down. Or sometimes that green stretchy tape snaps. Oh, the horror.

Vines in Springtime
There comes a time, however, when the job is finished. The canes and spurs are tied down against the trellis. The vines have been fertilized. Everything looks neat and tidy. You're ready for the new season.

As for the numerous canes that were pruned away and are now lying on the ground? Those serve a purpose as well. This is how you start new vines. Simply cut a section of vine about a foot long, stick it in a pot with a bit of soil. And, with any luck, that vine will begin to produce roots below the soil line and green shoots above. I farmed out a number of cuttings to people connected with the Sacramento Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG). I even had one request for canes from a grower in Chicago, IL.

Red Suffolk Table Grapes (Delicious)
Will California vines grow in a Chicago backyard? Good question. I don't really know. But a grower is willing to give it a try. Gardening really is an exercise in trial and error. Mistakes by the dozens are made in this journey.

But when you find yourself munching on a plate of fat and juicy Red Flame grapes this summer? It's well worth it.

Color Me Spring

Monday, March 25, 2013

Granny Smith Apple Tree in Blossom
Backyard fruit trees and a whole lot more are literally "springing" to life in the Bird Back 40. The brightest color so far? That would have to be my neck and arms: now a deep shade of red and quite tender to the touch. You may have guessed by now that I'm Irish. People of Irish descent do not tan. We burn. It's enough to drive the wife that is Venus downright crazy.

Wife: "And did you put sunscreen on?"

Me: "Uh, no."

Wife: "Did you at least wear a hat for the last six hours?"

Hungry Ladybug at Work
Me: "I was too busy to wear a hat."

Wife: "You're a moron."

Spring means it's time to get ready for summer. The yard is mostly clear of mud, but now it's weeds that are the big problem. Time to get that fallen citrus away from the base of the many citrus trees that grace the Bird Back 40 -- and while you're at it -- clear away those pesky weeds as well.

Spring is also the time to fix and repair those nagging leaks that inevitably appear in the drip irrigation system. And that's when you come to discover, after plugging the first leak, that you failed to spot that second leak. And then there's going to be a third that will shoot up from nowhere and strike you right in the eye. And just about the time you're done? There's a major league blowout on the other side of the yard.

Repaired Drip Irrigation Line with Brick to Block Dog
Point is, when you keep this many garden areas, fruit trees and citrus trees in the yard? One needs to practice drip irrigation to not only conserve precious water supplies (which is important), but to make sure that every last plant and every last tree gets a nice drink in the morning. I always believed running drip lines against the fence line was a master stroke of genius. That is until the neighbor's dog discovered that he could easily dig them up from the other side of the fence and shred them into itty bitty pieces.

Stupid dog.

June Pride Peach Blossoms
But as I use my weekend time to move here and there about the Bird Back 40, the yard pays me back with one dazzling show after another. The Granny Smith apple tree, now in Year 3, in full bloom for the very first time. This tree bloomed in exactly two places last year and delivered a whopper harvest of exactly two apples. Worse yet? The Honey Crisp and Fuji apple trees planted in the same raised bed failed to even flower.

But that's not the case this year. The old Granny is a mass of pink buds and white flowers. The Honey Crisp is about to flower for the very first time. The Fuji is slowly springing back to life, but I'm quite confident it will flower as well. Though the three trees are still relatively small and don't grow quite as fast when planted together in a confined area like a raised bed, they have developed strong trunk and branch supports. This is a nice sign.

Royal Rainier Cherry Blossoms
The Royal Rainier Cherry tree is now in full blossom as is the Black Tartarian, putting on a dazzling display of  white and yellow bloom clusters that honeybees simply cannot ignore. Hornets also race from one side of the yard to the next, sharing space with the carpenter bees that have taken a liking to a wisteria bush that is now in full bloom for the very first time. Ladybugs, meanwhile, feast on the bad bugs of spring. The yard is alive and buzzing after a winter that was far too long, but could have yielded more rainfall.

First to flower on the Flavor Finale pluot tree were actually the branches that I successfully grafted to this tree last spring. The Flavor Finale is the last pluot variety offered by Dave Wilson Nursery to ripen, so it makes sense that the varieties I successfully grafted would fire up first with multiple blooms.

Pluot Graft
Why graft? Pluots, like many of the newer introductions from the mind of Floyd Zaiger require pollinator trees. I had always believed that the Santa Rosa plum planted nearby in the front yard would be that pollinator. But as the years went by, and with less than impressive harvest results from the Flavor Finale, it dawned upon me that the marriage that I'd hoped for just wasn't going to work.

The next step then? Graft. Find a donor tree that will pollinate the Flavor Finale and graft, graft, graft and graft one more time. Those grafts hold varieties (which I've lost track of) that ripen earlier than the Flavor Finale which is why some branches flowered earlier than others. As the tree buzzed with the hum of pollinators moving from one tasty blossom to another, I hoped and prayed that those grafted branches would provide the spark that the Flavor Finale needed.

Flavor Finale Pluot Tree in Full Bloom
No need for prayer. The tree is loaded -- for the very first time I might add. The pollinator branches -- or grafts -- also hold fruit. This means the pollinator branches will also produce a tasty treat or five. Hey! Why do one pluot when you have can three or five?

As I move from here and there, much like the pollinators who do the same, the story is always the same. The growth is green. The growth is lush. Winter is over. The bright colors of spring are here to stay.

Spring Greens

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Asparagus Anyone?

Spring season means it's greens season -- and you will find no shortage of the good stuff popping to the surface right now in the Bird Back 40. Proof is offered to your immediate right. These are three of the fattest asparagus spears to ever sprout from a 4X4 raised bed that the wife that is Venus and I filled with asparagus crowns three years ago.

The bed produced a few tasty spears last year and then was quickly overtaken by weeds and forgotten up until two weeks ago, when I decided to clear a path through the weed jungle that had taken over a side yard to see what a season of neglect had wrought.

Now emerging: Tonight's Dinner!
Not to worry. The asparagus bed not only survived my neglectful ways, it also managed to recover from the Ultimate Digging Machine's (aka Bandi) attempt to dig a hole to China. Heck, I hadn't even fertilized the bed for a good six months! But as I began to chop and clear away at the neglect, one thing became abundantly clear: I may have neglected the asparagus bed. But it's not going to neglect us.

There's a bumper crop of fat and tasty spears from a myriad of varieties that we've planted through the years. Not all asparagus crowns survive the planting process, which is not a problem. If there's a bare spot there? Cram in some new crowns! Something will eventually take. We have the crops to prove it.

Purple Asparagus
Of course, not every part of the patch is throwing up fat and tender spears. There's still a few crowns that could benefit from a few more years of growth. The spears that are emerging from these root systems aren't all that fat and probably won't be very tasty. But that's OK! Because next year? Next year they just might catch on and then we'll have a bed in full production.

But there's far more popping to the surface in our raised gardening adventures than just tasty asparagus spears. Venus littered one of the 4X8 raised beds with a multitude of seeds just three short weeks ago. She still hasn't lost her touch. What was once bare earth is now flowering with green.

You'll find more than one variety of spinach in this bed. Yeah, you'll also find a French Breakfast radish or two. Standard Cherry Bell radishes more your speed? Easter Egg radishes? That and more is now ready for harvest. No need to pull up an entire plant for a spinach salad. Venus just clips the best and leaves the rest, and let me tell you something: home grown spinach is one tasty treat.

Guess what happens when you mix spinach with asparagus? It's called DINNER! It's finally that time of year when the spring gardens start providing the things we'd been forced to grudgingly purchase at the nearby grocery store. Nothing against the store mind you, but it's much easier to just go outside and pick what you need.

More Peas Please!
Not quite in production yet, but getting there? That would be the 2013 pea crop. Once again, a tip of the proverbial gardening hat to the wife that is Venus. Once again she has worked magic with nothing more than a bag of seed. She littered another raised main bed with pea seeds last fall. I've come to discover that the month of October is the perfect time for planting pea seeds.

The plants don't look like much when they first emerge and grow very little, if at all, through the frosty cold winter months. But what you can't see in these photos is the root development. Peas may not grow much above ground during the winter, but the root system gets quite extensive.

Flowering pea vines
And when spring hits? The party is on! These vines are now approaching five feet in height and will probably grow above the stakes that are currently holding the crop up. I'm happy to report that the colony of bees on the other side of the yard recently discovered this crop and are currently pollinating it like mad. That means peas. Lots and lots of peas and very soon now I might add.

Will asparagus season hold out for the pea crop? I think so. Three to four weeks of asparagus production isn't all that uncommon. By then? Those vines will be thick with fat pea pods.

Peas, asparagus, spinach, radishes and more. Sounds like spring greens season is on.

Bring Out the Zest Foods! Bring Out the Zest!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Zest of Meyer Lemons
No -- this is not garden prose about a jar of mayo. However, it is a catchy jingle from my childhood, so why not steal it? If you've come here looking for original thought, you are going to be sorely disappointed. This posting, by the way, is an actual ripoff of someone else's great idea!

Hey, if it works, why not?

My friends -- I cannot take credit for this little invention that the wife that is Venus and I are putting together using fresh ingredients grown in the Bird Back 40. Nope, credit goes to Jenn Hammer, creator and author of Jenn's Gardening Spot blog. You think I'm the only Sacramento gardener who blogs? Hardly. However, I am the one that screws up the most. Thus, my claim to fame.

If Life Gives You Lemons: Zest!
One of Jenn's latest posts involved the use of lemon zest to make a special herb rub mixture that, I must admit, sounded more than just a bit tasty. She claims it's good on chicken, fish, just about everything. And, after looking at her ingredient list, I'd believe it. That post leaves you drooling on your keyboard. It's THAT good.

It suddenly dawned on me the other day that I had tons of Meyer Lemons still hanging on one of two Improved Meyer Lemon trees in the Bird Back 40. I also had a large bush of rosemary which I'd recently cut back and shaped a bit (rosemary grows like a weed in the Sacramento climate). In fact, I really don't need to grow rosemary. Easily half of the public landscaping in North Natomas is that very popular herb called rosemary. Once you know what you're looking for? You'll see it everywhere.

Bird Herb Bed Springing Back to Life
Then, of course, there's Bird Herb Bed: Six feet long and two feet wide, it's packed with just about every herb under the sun. Oregano? More varieties than I can count. Thyme? Of course! French Sorrel? Are you kidding? Majoram? By golly, you betcha! Sage? I couldn't dig that stuff out if I tried. And this doesn't include the five varieties of basil currently growing indoors, just waiting for the day they can be set outside in the warm California sunshine.

Venus planted the herb bed about four years ago, reserving little spots here and there for seeds or starter plants. Since then? It's just all grown together and produces a boatload of herbs every spring and summer. We'll grab handfuls of the stuff and grind it up in the food processor, then cram as much as we can into an empty beer can. After filling that can with a little bit of wine? You have the perfect cooking utensil for one of our favorite meals: beer can chicken.

Rosemary Bush
After looking at what Jenn had done, I knew I could duplicate this tasty herb-blend recipe on a much wider scale, involving far more herbs, all grown straight from the backyard garden. We always grow far more than we need, which means we're always dragging tomatoes, herbs and other vegetables into work to give away to friends and co-workers.

Why not make up a spice blend, jar it, and give them away as Christmas gifts? Paired with a bottle or two of our moderately famous Roasted Garlic, Pepper and Heirloom tomato salsa and/or freshly prepared dill pickles, we think it's a gift that some family members might enjoy.

Of course -- what do we do with all those lemons once they've been zested? I'm a huge believer in this tried and true bit of advice: If life gives you lemons? Make something you can mix with tequila! Or, something along those lines.

We'll allow the zest to dry through the warm summer months, along with the rosemary, oregano, majoram, sage, basil and whatever other spice pops up unexpectedly (dill weed anyone?). We'll use a spice mill to grind up the rosemary, which doesn't grind easily even when dry. The food processor can handle the rest.

The end result? If you believe Jenn Hammer (and I do) -- the end result will be the most delicious and zesty spice rub known to mankind. And this is the reason why we grow at home.

But...But...But... All I Needed was a Bag of Fertilizer!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bag of Fertilizer and a WHOLE LOT MORE!
We've all been there before, right? Men are even better at this than women when it comes to shopping. It's called "straight line focus." When we need to buy something -- no matter what it is -- us dudes get in, get out and get on with it!

Well, some of us dudes do...

The mission on the weekend before last? Get thee a bag of fruit tree fertilizer! Rain was scheduled to move in later that week. There's no better way to fertilize a fruit tree than to spread out a handful around the tree before a gully washer. You can't get better a more equal shot of fertilizing a fruit tree than what Mother Nature provides with a good soaking. The timing was right.

Green Acres is the Place to be!
As luck would have it, the lovely wife that is Venus and I were in Roseville on this particular day, just a block or two away from Green Acres Nursery. A nursery is the best place to acquire the type of fertilizer I was looking for (I cried when Capital Nursery closed, taking my favorite blend with it). The goal on that Sunday afternoon? Get in -- get that fertilizer -- get out and get home.

Not so fast, pahdner...

The first thing that struck Venus and I as we pulled into the parking lot were the numbers of people who were flowing in and out of the store on a late Sunday afternoon. The place was packed. For those who predict an end someday to the retail nursery business, not so fast. Green Acres was hopping.

Leveling Out a Half Wine Barrel
The second thing that struck us? Hey! Look at those half-wine barrels made from oak! Darn! "Wouldn't that look good in that empty spot in the Bird Back 40," I mentioned to the wife. She nodded in response. Note to self: There's ALWAYS an open and empty spot in the Bird Back 40!

As we entered Green Acres on my quest for fruit tree fertilizer, it suddenly dawned upon me that the wine barrels up front just might be the ticket for that elusive Southern Highbush Blueberry that I've always wanted to grow, but failed miserably at in previous years.

Sharp Blue Blueberry Plant Starter
A quick check with the handy-dandy Green Acres sales associate confirmed that suspicion. Of course, had Green Acres been in the business of selling elephants, I'm sure he would have confirmed an elephant could indeed be grown in that barrel. It is his job, after all, to move product. And he spotted two suckers a mile off! That would be me -- and the wife that is Venus.

As luck would have it -- Green Acres had a fairly nice supply of blueberry selections grown by our friends at Dave Wilson Nursery. Nearly every fruit tree in the Bird Back 40 is a Dave Wilson Nursery special. They've only been growing and selling fruit trees for about a zillion years. They kind of know what they're doing.

Navajo Blackberry
And -- as luck would have it? Those blueberry starter plants were located right next to blackberry starter plants! Who would have thought to pair those two together? Certainly not us, the suckers. I'd heard a lot of nice things about that Navajo Blackberry plant, and with yet another empty spot in the Bird Back 40, we could pare it with the purchase of a Sharp Blue Blueberry!

Ah -- but that's not all my friends... I've learned from harsh experience that blueberry plants will not survive unless they are treated with loving care and planted in a soil with a low pH. The higher the acid content, the better, and the clay soils that dominate our North Natomas spread just don't offer that pH requirement that blueberries need to survive and thrive.

Southern Highbush Blueberry
They would do well, however, in that half wine barrel (made from oak no less). But I would need more than just a barrel. I would need a special soil that blueberry plants thrive in.

Guess who came to the rescue? Why, our helpful, handy-dandy, Green Acres sales associate. Are you surprised? Cash registers were lighting up in this associate's eyes. I had come in -- after all -- for ONE (1) bag of fruit tree fertilizer. I would exit Green Acres with so much more, making said sales assistant quite happy in the process.

If you've ever wondered why children -- they made us do those stupid word math problems in school? This is the reason why: One half wine barrel (made from oak, no less) holds 4.5 cubic yards of soil. Each bag of the special mixture that I would need, contains 1.5 cubic yards of a soil high in acid content. How many bags of soil do the suckers need? If your answer was three, congratulations, you passed sixth grade.

Specially designed for blueberries AND Azaleas
As we exited Green Acres that late Sunday afternoon with one half-wine barrel, three bags of soil, a Sharp Blue blueberry starter plant, a Navajo blackberry starter plant and ONE (1) bag of fruit tree fertilizer I suddenly realized I should be allowed near any nursery again until spring has come and gone.

But as for that Southern Highbush Blueberry? I must admit -- it does look good. And with the fruit trees and vines now planted and properly fertilized, bring on spring and summer and those wonderfully delicious home-grown fresh fruit months...

From San Diego With Onions

Sunday, March 3, 2013

007 Likes Onions in his Martinis
OK. So it's not quite as flashy as From Russia with Love. It may not even contain the intrigue, action, drama, special effects (OK, none of that). It doesn't even have an Auric Goldfinger or Rosa Klebb -- though SMERSH (Death to Spies) just might be involved here. What this blog posting does have, however, is a mystery. It's a deep, dark, somewhat smelly mystery that might never be solved.

Not even by the great 007, James Bond.

Onion Plant Starters
I bring you the case of the Missing Madcap Onions. The no-show scallions. The ghostly gibbons. OK, that's enough. They are like the onions you see pictured to your left. These onions are now planted in the Bird Back 40. There are three different varieties here, representing red, yellow and white.

So what's the mystery you ask? I'll tell you. The onions sets you see planted in the Bird Back 40 are "replacement" onions. They represent a second, rush shipment from Dixondale Farms in Texas. As for the first shipment? Where is that first shipment? Nobody quite really knows. And that's were the mystery begins.

It was South Natomas gardening zen-master Nels Christensen who first suggested last fall that we "tag team" on our order of onions this year. It made sense. Why pay for two shipping charges instead of one? Plus, the onions get somewhat cheaper when you buy more of them. So, by combining the order we paid less for them and avoided an additional shipping charge. As Wile E. Coyote once summarized: Our thinking was "genius."

Online Tracking for Onion Plant Starters
And then, the United States Postal Service got involved.

I love online tracking. I'm not sure who started it first, but everyone uses it now. It allows you to track a package or special order as it makes its stops here and there before arriving at your front door. Online tracking even informs you when that package will arrive at your front door.

In the case of Nels Christensen and Bill Bird, online tracking told us our 2013 shipment of onions from Dixondale Farms had arrived at the West Sacramento Postal Sort Facility on February 9th, a Saturday. With this information, we could expect a Monday or Tuesday delivery.

Super Star (White) Onions
The package never arrived.

This prompted a worried call from Nels to the West Sacramento USPS office where he received the response of: "Onions? We don't have any onions."

It seems our onions had vanished. Nobody was quite sure where they went. Five long days went by and still no onions, and worse yet, no response from the USPS. But, on February 15th, a single-word item appeared in our online tracking system: "Missent." Well! Where did they send them we wondered? Mars? Why would it take five days to locate a box of fresh onion plants? They'd certainly be stinking up a storm right about now.

Red Candy Apple Onion Starters
More information appeared in our onion online tracking that very same day. The missing box of onions was reported at the West Sacramento sort facility again. Well, this was good news! Right? This meant we could expect delivery by the next day!

Or so we thought. Two days later we learned that our wayward batch of smelly onion plant starters had been shipped to San Diego. It's not Mars, per se, but gardening is rather local. Nels and I don't have garden plots in San Diego. We have them in Sacramento, Natomas to be exact.

Replacement Box of Onion Starters
So how did the onions wind up in San Diego? That's a good question. Not even the USPS could tell us. In fact, if you called the USPS sort facility in San Diego they would claim: "Onions? We don't have no stinkin' onions," or something that effect.

You would think that the online tracking system would be updated with the message of "Really, really Missent," or "We screwed up bad there, bud." But nary a word crossed the online tracking system for four days. At that point? Our missing box of onion plants was on the move again. This time they were destined for  Carrizo Springs, Texas. That is where they had been shipped from originally two weeks ago. But instead of turning around and heading back to Sacramento, the USPS decided to send our quite-ripe box of onion plant starters back to the grower.

Venus Plants
Why? Good question! I told you this was a mystery! Ah -- but it gets even better.

I emailed Dixondale Farms with the request for a photo of our missing box of onion plant starters because I wanted to see the damage that had been done to it after two weeks of moving from one USPS sort facility to another. Dixondale Farms emailed back with the response: "We can't. The box was empty."

So where is that first shipment of onions? We can only deduce that someone, somewhere got a surprise delivery of half-dead onion starters with the code names of "Candy Apple Red" and "Super Star." And this person is now wondering if they've become the unwitting target of SMERSH (Death to Spies). Think about it for a moment. How many people get deliveries of smelly, half dead onion plant starters? Would you be a tad bit concerned?

Where are the onions? Rosa Klebb might know...
I'm pleased to report that during this Great Onion Adventure, the good folks at Dixondale Farms rushed a second delivery to our front door and this one actually arrived, on time, and in fairly good condition. The onions are planted. The onions are growing. And there's nothing quite like an onion starter from Dixondale Farms. Venus and I planted our first bunch of onion plant starters last spring, and we were munching on a whopper of a harvest through late fall and early winter.

You'll even find a bit of "Super Star" and "Candy Apple Red" in our moderately famous "Roasted Garlic, Pepper and Heirloom Tomato Salsa." Yeah, those onions are THAT good.

But as for that first shipment of onion plants? You're guess is as good as mine, 007.