Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Transplanting Onions and Other Reflections

I transplanted onions today. Walla Wallas. It isn't customary to plant onions in the fall, that I know of, but they were already growing and needed to be divided. Here's the story.

I bought young onion plants in the Spring of 2013 from Pinetree Garden Seeds and planted them upon arrival in a 4 x 8 foot raised bed. They were growing well, until the weather got really hot in mid June. This triggered the plants to go dormant. At that time, however, they were only about one inch in diameter. Walla Wallas usually grow to 5 or 6 inches in diameter. I left the bulbs in the bed. Just because. In early autumn of last year they began to grow again. Still too small to harvest, I left them in the ground over the winter.

This spring they grew, but they also divided and tripled! Instead of one large onion, there were two or three smaller ones. In August, I harvested onions from half the bed. These were more than we would be able to eat and as I didn't have time to chop and freeze them, I gave away more than half of these. Walla Walla onions are not storage onions. They are wonderfully sweet and mild, but don't keep for too long.

The ones left in the bed began to grow again in early autumn. I could not leave them where they were for another winter. The double and triple bulbs were so close together they had no more room to spread out. So today I pulled them out, divided them and planted them in a new bed, again filling a 4 x 8 foot area! I do hope that these will continue to grow next spring to that classic Walla Walla size and that I will have the time to chop and freeze some when they are ready. If not, you may get some too!!

I could get philosophical and say that life is  a lot like growing onions. That sometimes unforeseen events happen in our lives that stunt our growth.  Or make us feel stuck. Or unable to move ahead. And time passes. And maybe we don't realize it, but all of a sudden we are green and alive again! Or maybe we've become complacent. Not growing and thriving, but maintaining our small, familiar world. It is only when we allow ourselves to be transplanted, to move onto something new, that we feel freedom. We have room to expand. And when we allow ourselves to do so, we get to experience just what our true potential really is. But I think you already know this.

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