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Pregnant Onions, Grains, and Greens

Thanks to the kindness of my Patreon supporters and some folks who picked up seeds from my wishlist, fall planting is about to kick off.

Well, technically it already kicked off when I planted wheat that had grown from spilled chicken scratch, but then the black hen brought her clutch of babies out into the world and they’ve been industriously hunting every. Last. Seed. I planted back there. I don’t have the heart to run them off it with the hose since they’re such cute little puffballs, so I’m giving up for now. I also scattered some other forage seed on the grazing areas, including dormant alfalfa, forage rape, and some clovers to help fix nitrogen in the poor soil. I never go too heavy planting any one variety, since I prefer the goats and sheep to get a varied diet of weeds, grasses, brassicas, and legumes.

A glossy black hen, her feathers showing off their iridescent green sheen, kicks through waste hay alongside her eight tiny chicks -- five black, three yellow with brown stripes down their backs.
The black hen and her babies, hard at work destroying my tiny wheat field.

But I digress! I was talking about planting food for humans. I’ve ordered pregnant onions, a multiplier onion variety that doesn’t require me to plant from seed every year. Instead, you plant the small onions. They’ll grow up to be big onions and spawn more little onions. You can of course eat either big or little onions, as long as you’re mindful of leaving enough to make new onions.

I also ordered kale seeds, which should offer us fresh greens even through the winter, peas (They may not flower, in which case we’ll eat the tips of foliage and young leaves), and white einkorn wheat. Along with the beet and turnip seeds we already have, the garden will hopefully feed us more this fall and winter than it did this summer after the disastrous goat invasion.

A close-up of a the face of a brown goat with a white stripe down the middle of his face. He has a stick taped across his elegant black horns, and is peering up into the camera.
Frankie looks innocent, but was a cheerful participant in the destruction of our strawberry bed.

The einkorn wheat is almost as exciting as the multiplier onions. It was a staple of agriculture back when my Soay sheep were cutting edge wool growers. Compared to modern wheat it has less gluten and more protein. In fact, some folks who can’t tolerate modern wheat varieties can handle einkorn just fine. Einkorn is, however, apparently an absolute bugger to thresh, requiring vigorous flailing. I suspect either I’ll have a threshing party or we’ll end up leaving it in the hull and using it for feed. I’m all right with either eventuality. And I’m definitely planting it in the front garden, where it should remain unmolested, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise (and the goats and poultry don’t rebel).

I was going to pick up a mushroom spawn kit to establish in the straw mulch on the getting garden beds, but decided to splurge on a book instead. There’s always next month, the piedmont climate is quite kind and we have plenty of time before the cold kicks in.