This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

Soaking it Up

May 3rd, 2018

This time of year really is the sweetest. It’s warming up, the soil is ready to be worked, there aren’t many insects, and there aren’t many weeds either. Yesterday, it was 85 degrees here and perfect. I spent the day madly planting seedlings the main vegetables garden: onions, spinach, lettuce, beets, etc. I worked until I could barely see.

I planted four trays of alliums: Patterson, Redwing, Red long of Tropea, and Conserver Shallots (all seeds from I’m really looking forward to fresh onions, the ones in the root cellar are starting to sprout and the stocks are getting really low. Luckily, chives are coming on and those give a great onion flavor. I’m starting to get excited about this summer and what the garden will bring.

What are you transplanting?

Harvesting Onions

August 9th, 2017

I finally got my internet back up and running, the technician said that pretty much every modem in our town was zapped by the big storm. After furiously catching up on work, I’m back to being able to post to the blog. The good thing about having minimal internet, is that it gave me time to get my onions harvested, which needed done…..last week. Storage onions should be given minimal water in the weeks leading up the harvest, this will help them store longer and better. I always try to harvest them early if a lot of rain is in the forecast. We had rain last weekend, a half an inch. So not tons given the dryness of the soil, but still more than I like for them to get. Ideally I prefer to harvest them after a long, hot dry week (which we had last week).

Even though the conditions weren’t ideal for harvest, they will store fine enough. Most likely they won’t last until next April, but they will last long enough to be used up. I should weigh my storage onions one of these years. It always seems like there are way too many of them to weigh. It would be nice to know how much I end up growing each year.

What are you harvesting in the garden this week?

Uncommon Pests

May 8th, 2017

This year I purchased onion plants for the first time. In the past, I’ve started onions from seed and have always been happy with the results. Since I’ve had a busy spring, I thought purchasing plants would save me time. Little did i know that the earthworms around here do not like onion plants from away. Every single morning I go out and 30-40% of the onion plants have been dug up, reburied, moved, or just are just slightly lifted from their spots. At first, I thought it was birds. Then I did some research and with observation, spotted the nightcrawlers digging up the onions. I thought about letting the chickens in the garden, but they dig holes and in general make such a mess I don’t want to do that.

My onion crop may be non-existant this year. For two days I’ve moved the dug up plants to different spots in the garden, those are getting dug up as well. It’s probably too late to direct seed onions, but I may pull all the plants and count the $40 a lesson learned. I may also just forgo onions this year, which will be very sad. It’s interesting that these plants are not liked by the worms where my homegrown seedlings are left alone (I have a few in the back in the same row as these plants, no unearthing of these). Makes you wonder what it is about these plants that the worms don’t like.

What strange pest problems do you have in the garden?

Stocking the Pantry

September 29th, 2016

This time of year the pantry, root cellar, and freezer start to fill up once again. I always am amazed by how full the freezer gets, I think I’ll never be able to eat all the vegetables tucked away inside. Then, come March, I’m thankful that I spent the effort to freeze all the garden bounty. For the most part, the vegetables I freeze last us until spring greens are available from the garden once again. While I do buy a few vegetables here and there throughout the winter months, the majority of it comes from the freezer.
One of the things I’m most thankful for in the winter: onions. I grow loads of alliums: leeks, onions, shallots, potato onions, and scallions. Having a full year’s supply of onions in the pantry is a wonderful feeling. Most of them get put into baskets and are stored in an unheated bedroom upstairs, but I can’t resist making a few braids to hang in the pantry off the kitchen. Every time I come and go they bring a smile to my face.

What’s your favorite item to grow for storing?

Using up Seeds

May 30th, 2016

I start onions from seed each year, mostly because I can find varieties that I can’t get in sets/plants and because they store longer than onions grown from sets. I like to grow 4-5 different varieties, which means I always have loads of extra onion seed.
seeding onions 4
Since it doesn’t store from year to year, I plant all the seeds thickly in rows and either harvest them as small set onions for quick growth the following spring, or as scallions during the summer/fall.
seeding onions 1
seeding onions 2
The direct seeded onions have germinated and are growing nicely, though the ones I seeded indoors back in March are much larger.
seeding onions 3
This year I may try transplanting a few of the direct seeded onions to see how they size up and store. It would be nice to direct seed onions and save a bit of time, but I might have to experiment with different varieties. Either way, I enjoy scallions, pearl onions, and onion sets and I don’t have seed going bad.

Do you grow onions from seed, sets, or plants?


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.