Boy am I still beat from this past weekend. I think the back-to-back weekends of building and filling two new raised beds (alongside my husband) on top of my already busy schedule in my orchard and veggie garden, pushed me to my limit. Age combined with my ongoing illness recovery has set the “work-limit bar” down a few notches lower than it was in my youth. Wait a minute… did I just admit that I’m getting older? Okay, time to move onto my intended subject… sweet delicious onions.
Recently hubby and I purchased 36 bulbing onion plants (starts) from a local garden and orchard extraordinaire, horticulturist Bob Morris. Both hubby and I follow his blog and jumped at the chance to buy onions when he posted that he was pulling together a bulk onion plant order for local blog followers.
We met Bob about four years ago at a presentation he did for an Organic Gardening group here on the north end of town. Just a few days prior, I had initiated an email to him seeking out info on recommended fruit trees for our area, and he’s the one who told us about the group and invited us to his presentation. Yes, this is where it all began and what kick-started our long-time fruit orchard dream into gear 🙂
Well, several fruit tree classes and demonstrations later, along with several weekends of volunteer work at the test orchard, a class or two at Plant World Nursery, and a few conversations later, we’ve come to appreciate and respect Bob’s expert knowledge, witty humor, and his availability and dependability as a gardening and orchard “go-to-guy” here in town.
The Order Pick-Up
On Friday, March 21st, we picked up our baby bulbing onion plants from Bob at ViraGrow, a local soil amendment company (i.e., compost, amendments, etc.). Bob’s been set up there for a short-spell while he and Sal, the owner of ViraGrow, work on some business together. By-the-by, ViraGrow is the company we use to deliver the orchard and garden soil we use.
During our visit with Bob, he mentioned that the onions we purchased from him were bought from Dixondale Farms in Texas and then proceeded to give us a quick onion presentation. Turns out, Las Vegas is a great place to grow onions… short-day, intermediate-day, and long-day. They all do very well in our desert area. He also gave us a quick tour of ViraGrow’s facility and products available and asked if we would be interested in testing a product in our garden. The product… Kelzyme. I rarely turn down an opportunity to test something in my garden and readily accepted.
With our 36 five-inch to six-inch tall baby bulbing onion plants (say that three times fast) in hand and a big thank you and wave goodbye, we headed home.
Upon arriving home, I promptly gave our plants a quick misting of fresh water from my hand-held sprayer and placed them in a cool dark area until we were ready to plant. I continued to mist them lightly 1x a day until planting day. I’m sure this was completely unnecessary, but it forced me check-in on the “plants in waiting” to see how they were doing, but more importantly, to make sure Jaspurr, our spunky Ragdoll kitty, had left them in peace (he liked the crinkly brown tips and skin).
Our onion order consisted of the following:
- 12 Texas Legend onion plants
- 12 Red Candy Apple onion plants
- 12 Candy onion plants
A Little About Kelzyme
First of all, I want to let y’all know that I am not being compensated in any way to test or promote this product. I’m helping out a friend and I’m curious, actually. I’m always on the look out for organic/holistic products that can make a positive impact on my garden and the nutrient density of my garden greens and veggies. My feedback on this product is just that and is my unbiased honest opinion.
Okay, with that said… I went on-line to do some quick research… this product is 100% OMRI certified organic and is labeled as a soil conditioner and plant stimulator and is fossilized sea kelp that is mined from a deposit of fossilized marine macro-algae mineral in the northwestern portion of the state of Nevada.
Here’s the packaging description…
Kelzyme® is an organic soil conditioner and plant stimulator derived from a one-of-a-kind ancient seabed deposit of fossilized marine kelp/seaweed rich in highly absorbable “ORGANIC CALCIUM”, with up to 70 trace minerals.
…and a few links for your perusing pleasure.
In addition to the instructions on the package, Bob mentioned that previous tests performed demonstrated that the product was much more effective when applied “dry” in the planting hole at the time of planting and then watered in well after planting was complete.
My plan consisted of the following:
1) Draw up a planting plan in my favorite graphics program
3) Plant test group 1 (applying Kelzyme to) on the southwest side of the raised bed and the other test group will be on the northeast side with approximately 2 ½ feet between the two groupings
4) Plant each onion plant about 6-inches apart and 1-inch deep
5) Side-dress each onion plant with blood meal (nitrogen)
6) Each planting area is approximately 6 sq. ft.
On Tuesday, March 25th we prepared to plant our baby onion plants in our new raised bed (Bed #3).
Group 1 (southwest side) was planted first and prior to planting, I measured out approximately 4 ounces of product for the 6 sq. ft. of planting area then portioned it out equally amongst the 18 onion planting holes. The Kelzyme instructions state that the 8.8 ounce package is enough to cover 15 sq. ft. of planting area, so if anything, each planting hole received slightly more than required.
Each onion plant was planted according to my plan, then watered in well.
Group 2 (northeast side) was planted next using an organic soil product that I typically use both in my veggie garden and my orchard. I planted this group according to my plan and watered everything in.
Irrigation: My raised bed is set up with four lines of Netafim Techline CV .9gph, 12” sp with 12” spacing between lines. The two outside lines are about 6” away from the sides of the bed. I am currently watering Monday, Wednesday, and Friday two times per day for 10 minutes each watering (approximately 1” of water per week).
It’s too early to tell, but both groups have new growth appearing. I’ve kept the raised bed soil moist and will be feeding my onions in the next couple of days with a foliar spray of fish hydrolysate (cold pressed, enzymatically processed, and biologically live liquid fish).
Keep an eye out for future updates.