Blog Musings While in the Wind

Lessons From an Onion

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I am a gardener "wannabee”. This is not a matter of self-criticism; it is a matter of fact.  I know little more than zero about gardening and I want to learn, but haven’t put in nearly as much time and effort into it as I need to if I truly intend to succeed. However, because it is Spring, the bug has hit again and I think I want to give it another try.


Two years ago, I put in my first garden with lots of help from a friend.  Ok….so I did little more than watch her till the soil and plant the starters.  We put in corn, green beans, tomatoes, squash, bell pepper, cucumbers, and onions. I was left to watch over and tend this garden, but since I really didn’t know much about how to care for one, I did the best I could to remember to water it regularly and keep the weeds out.  I was determined to do this without the usual chemicals; I felt using natural pesticides and weed killers would be much healthier.  There again, my lack of knowledge did not help much.


But, you know, sometimes good intentions (mixed with a heavy dose of ignorance) still works out fine. If the heart or motive is pure, then Providence will smile upon those awkward attempts and bless them anyway. No, it doesn’t usually end up as great as we want, but it isn’t usually a total failure, either.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  If we expect perfection but do not do things perfectly…we need to know that’s just not gonna happen.  If we try to get all A’s on our report card and end up with one B or even a C, then we have STILL done well!  We need to lighten up on ourselves and give ourselves the credit for what we HAVE accomplished instead of focusing on what we have NOT accomplished.


The corn yielded a few semi-tough half ears (I think somebody said the inconsistent watering was to blame for not getting full ears) and one horned devil-creature that stung worse than a hornet when I inadvertently disturbed his dinner.  The cucumber plants refused to yield more than one cuke, and I had to fight the bugs for the tomatoes.  The beans didn’t do too awfully bad once I coaxed them to climb the corn stalks instead of the tomato plants (I got 2 servings of beans for my efforts).  The squash absolutely loved the area, and so did the bell pepper plants – so my experiment in living off the land was not without a bit of fruit for my labors. It brought a smile to my face to know I had not killed it all accidentally.


Oh yes – and the onion. That brings me to the point of this blog.  You see, I was under the mistaken assumption that the onion would naturally pay attention to when everything else was being harvested and it would let me know it was time to release it from its little cozy spot.  Instead, it said nothing and my friend’s admonition of "you’ll know when it is time” just did not work for me because I am vegetable impaired.  I do NOT know when it is time – as evidenced by my totally forgetting all about them.


Summer passed and everything shriveled up, so I quit going out to see if there was one last tomato or pepper.  Winter came and went, and when Spring brought thoughts to mind of my garden and what I wanted to plant, I decided to go out and do a bit of visual check of how much work would be needed to dig up the dried remnants and freshen the soil.  To my utter amazement, there were some beautiful puff ball type flowers on tall stalks where I thought I had planted the onion. "Looks like something went to seed!” my neighbor called out to me from the midst of his always-abundant garden area. He is one of those wonderful neighbors who always shares the bounty of lettuce he grows every year, and doesn’t like to interfere in whatever project his obviously non-green thumb neighbor tries to do. We’ll save the flower story for another time.


Upon closer inspection, I saw that those spindly things were indeed the onion I had forgotten and one of the puff balls had actually turned into a very cool flower that looked to have a bunch of tiny onions in it.  I wondered if those were seeds, so decided to experiment and find out.  I collected them when the flower appeared spent and scattered them in one small area of the new garden once I got it going.


Fast forwarding: another summer’s produce collected and enjoyed (with no evidence of anything growing in the area where I had sowed the onion seeds), and my garden once again did its own thing during the winter.  Today I went out to prepare it for this year’s planting, and while weeding it, I discovered something.  


Come back next week for what will be "Page 2 – the rest of the story”.

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Last Modified: Sunday 13 April 2014 20:54
Related Articles: Lessons From an Onion Part 2

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