potatoes and onions

Sunday, August 25:

   We are beginning to feel the near approach of the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, and the presentation we are making of our successes and failures in the sustainable smallholding endeavor.  Time to get out our notes and update them, and, what is much harder for us to do, to get out the camera and take pictures of the farm and its arrangements.  We are looking forward to spending time with other folks interested in reclaiming a measure of the independence natural for those who grow their own food, build their own spaces, chop their wood and carry their water.

   The sweet corn is in the freezer.  We only planted one hundred row feet of the hybrid corn – there is OP corn in the monastery garden – eating what we can when it comes ripe, and freezing the excess for winter.  Sweet corn out of season is a luxury food on our table, since it requires freezer space, and we only put up twenty pounds or so; our usual starch veg is the Irish potato, blessedly versatile.

   Shawn brought the onions up from the garden last night and spread them in flats in the summer kitchen to cure, propping the boxes on the thick sill plate to allow circulation underneath, and turning on the fan to increase air movement.  There are perhaps one hundred fifty pounds of sound yellow storage onions, twice what we stored last year, but Beth already thinks it will not be enough to last the year, not when the requirements of canning tomato products are taken into consideration.  Next year we plan to double the garden area committed to onions, aiming at harvesting at least three hundred pounds next summer.  Any excess – is there ever excess? – is just one more thing to feed the pigs.  In moderation, at least – we understand that too many onions may be toxic to pigs, or is it cows?  We don’t let the cows anywhere near garlic or onions; having once inadvertently given Isabel access to some garlic, we know very well not to let dairy animals have alliums, it makes the milk nasty.

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