Friday, October 5, 2012

Planting Potato Onions with Hex Spacing

On October first I planted the Potato Onions I managed to save from last years 8oz. starter package from Southern Exposure, as well as the largest cloves of the soft neck garlic I grew last year (variety unknown). 

This is the second time I have tried hexagonal spacing using my homemade guides.

They are just plywood with thin strips of wood attached to mark the edges, a cork to mark the middle, and a handle on the back.  The wood is treated with a preservative made from 5 parts mineral oil and one part bees wax, gently heated to blend, then cooled and applied as a paste.


I planted them in the big lasagna bed, in the row where we had all the squash plants earlier this season.

Starting in one corner, I used my 8" guide, and made an impression on the surface of the bed.

Then I simply filled in the pattern, leaving an onion set in the center of each hex so I didn't lose my place.  Working in this pattern takes a little more focus than working in a line or a grid, but I'm thinking it will be worth it as it allows the plants to better cover the soil and act as a continuous living mulch.

So these are all the onions I managed to save from harvest in July.  Pretty sad, but I'm hoping they'll divide this spring and I'll have lots of little ones for the next planting.  I continued the pattern, and planted the soft neck garlic along the rest of the row.
My first foray into hex planting was with the Brassicas this spring.  I made 3 different guides set up for 8", 12", and 15" plant spacing.  I used the 12" guide, but I in retrospect, the 15" would have been a better choice. 
The open space on the left side of the bed is where the potato onions were this season.  Overall it worked out nicely and we were able to harvest some broccoli and Kale.  An unseasonably warm late Winter into early Spring fooled me into planting early, only to lose my first two sets of starters to unseasonably late frosts, so it took me three tries to get the starts established.  The hot dry summer made all the plants bitter, and sent the broccoli to flower, we had to cut them back and allow them to regrow in the cooler weather of late August into September.  Then the Kale and Broccoli were sweet and delicious.  The Cabbages stayed small, and the Brussels sprouts never formed up, not really sure why.
We stuck Harlequin Marigold seeds in between the starters for some color, to attract beneficials, and repel nematodes.  It worked nicely, the tall marigolds started later and poked up between the brassicas.  The Red Russian Kale got a little chewed up, but the Curled Blue Scotch Kale and the Broccoli were flawless, no sign of any worms.


No comments:

Post a Comment