Sunday, 17 July 2011

Learning Curve 
 The other day at work we were discussing how to cut onions.  Can't remember how we got there but never mind.  A couple of us cut the top end off first, leaving the root end intact, then cut vertically in half and peel.  The next step is to lie the half flat side down and chop from top to bottom, perpendicular to the rings, without chopping through the roots, then chop crossways, parallel to the rings. This way the onion is held together until you have finished cutting, making it quicker, easier & safer (my fingers don't get in the way as much). According to one of the participants this also reduces the amount of crying because the most potent store of the aromatics is in the base of the onion, she could very well be right.
Now it is fairly recently (in the scheme of things) that I learnt this method, but once you have learnt it you wonder why it took you so long, it seems so obvious.  And this is how another participant felt, she had never come across this method before. 
 To reassure her that she isn't the only one who doesn't recognize what later appears to be blatantly obvious, I had to admit to planting whole bulbs of garlic without separating them into cloves!
 It seems obvious now, having seen my friends plot, that you should separate each clove which then becomes the starter for a whole new bulb of garlic. But no, it wasn't stated anywhere so, although I puzzled about how the new bulbs would form (thinking it would be like daffodils), I just shoved them in whole.

Daffodils - not garlic

The right way!

Today I rectified that - digging up the already sprouted garlic, separating the cloves, and replanting them with space for the new bulbs to form.  Hopefully the majority of them will survive the disturbance!

I did notice one odd thing, one of the last bulbs to sprout was covered with soldier fly larvae.  We get these all the time in our compost bin & occasionally in the worm farm. When looking for a picture I found this site - now I know so much more about them! I know they were near the garlic because they feed on rotting matter & manure - and what is my no-dig bed constructed from? Straw & manure.   I'm never going to think of them as gross again!  The adult fly doesn't even feed!  I might even start to farm them (as part of the composting process) to feed to the chickens as suggested in the article. 

We live and learn.  I guess we just have to have an open mind, and not too much pride.

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