Sweet Corn all Summer, Curing Onions, Sowing Fall Brassicas

Buckets of tomatoes and corn I posted on Mother Earth News Organic Gardening blog about Growing Sweet Corn for the Whole Summer. You can read it here:


If you search for the title of my post on the MEN Organic Gardening blog you’ll also find other posts on MEN about sweet corn.

If you are planning more careful succession planting of warm weather crops, see what Babara Damrosch has to say at http://www.organicgardening.com/tags/succession-planting/succession-planting-keep-it-coming

Another seasonal task here is harvesting, drying and curing onions. In the humid southeast we need to dry onions indoors with fans. Cool-climate methods of laying the pulled onions on the bed in the sun and leaving them there for days are absolutely not right for our climate! Onions bake if left in 90F sunshine. They don’t dry if the humidity is up there in the “sweat rolling off” level. They rot if they don’t dry. So we use fans and drying racks. At Twin Oaks this year we have grown only a few onions, so we are trimming ours and taking them directly to the kitchen.

If you are thinking of making onion racks, take a look at the handsome onions and natty racks in this photo from the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville, Virginia


I asked Todd how to make onion racks and he replied:

“The racks are super simple to make. They are basically just 4′x8′ sheets of 1/2″ plywood cut into quarters with 6″ blocks cut from 2×4′s for legs. The neat thing about using 6″ blocks for legs is that you can use up all those scrap ends of 2×4′s that always seem to accumulate after projects.

The shelves are modular, so you can make them as short or as tall as you like. Each shelf consists of one plywood piece with four legs attached at each corner. They link together kind of like Ikea furniture. The bottom center of each leg has a shallow hole drilled into it that is the diameter of a screw head. I then partially drive screws into the top of the plywood shelf at each of the four corners, so that the head of the screw sticks up half an inch or so. The screws nest inside the hole in the bottom of each support leg, locking each piece together. They’re surprisingly sturdy. I set up a template to mark the legs and the spot where the screws go, so that each of them is the same. Therefore any of the shelves will lock together. Hope the description makes sense.”

UACC operates three gardens in Charlottesville, near people who have limited incomes and may rely on federal assistance to get food. UACC’s Food Production and Distribution program provides organically-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables for these residents, helping them get good food and providing them the chance to help grow that food.

Our other big task has been to sow our fall brassica seedlings: cabbage, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, Yukina savoy, collards. Kale comes later. I wrote about sowing fall brassicas last year, so I won’t repeat that here. Just remember that timely sowing is very important at this time of year, so don’t put it off!