Yesterday was the second of two days that would be good for planting below ground vegetables, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, so that is what I did Saturday, only it necessitated taking out the rest of the onions, among other things. I've discovered that you can't really succession plant onions so successfully- they really depend on the light that comes with a specific length of day, so if you want big bulbs, get them in early- get them all in. I still don't know why some grew beautiful round globes, and why some grew bull necks instead. I've read that cool temperatures, poor stands, and late planting can predispose onions to growing bull necks, but it doesn't explain why onions growing right next to each other formed differently. I have noticed that the onions forming the best bulbs seemed to be more shallowly planted than the onions growing bull necks, so next year I'll take care to seed them shallowly. I think that I'll try direct seeding and thinning as well- it should be easier to keep the seed near the surface instead of risking burying the transplant too deeply.
Another experiment, one that I'm trying this autumn, is going to be kind of interesting. Several weeks ago I planted carrot seed in two rows between my winter kale and rapini. The carrots sprouted and then disappeared. Inspection seems to indicate that they were eaten by slugs. Autumn is prime slug season, with its cool and cloudy mornings- everything is damp longer so the slugs usually have a field day. So this weekend after planting carrot, beet and turnip seed, I anchored brand new knit copper over the soil- right over the planted rows. The idea is to let the seedlings grow up through the copper mesh, which should keep the slugs off. This summer when my brother-in-law Kent was here, he said that he'd heard that copper only works on slugs and snails when it's new and shiny. By the evidence of the slug snot left on the copper mesh I installed around the beds this spring and the extensive slug damage on the bed's contents, I would have to say that this is probably true. I do hope that the new copper mesh works long enough to give the seedlings a fighting chance. Now the only problem that I can see happening is that everything is going in so late that nothing will germinate!
While I was at it, I pulled all the bell pepper plants and managed to salvage only three bell peppers for freezing. This makes for an average that doesn't even equal one per plant! A great many of them rotted on the plants while I was waiting for them to ripen past green. I don't know if this is because the plants were crowded or because we had a really cool summer. I'm learning that bio-intensive method aside, some plants just don't do well crowded together, and since it's only Steve and me I'm trying to feed, I should probably back off the number of plants that I put in the ground.
The other thing I worked on this weekend was the hutch. I got the supports for two more shelves rasped, sanded, stained and put together this week, along with the shelves and their fussy molded edges, so part of yesterday and today were spent getting the new shelves up. I'm a little less than halfway done, at this point. I've resigned myself to the fact that it won't be finished by the time my mother gets here, but oh well. At least I'm making progress on it, but that will have to stop for a few days while I work on getting the house all spiffed up for Mom's impending visit.