The Douglas Future Farmers of America held a hands-on work shop for local residents on how to plant, care and pick onions on Feb. 23 at the Douglas High School Land Lab.
The estimated 25 participants learned how to first test the soil texture.
“First place about two teaspoons of soil in your palm add a free drops of water,” FFA Leader Brita Groves told the group. “Kneed the soil until it feels like putty, add more water or soil if necessary.”
Correctly executed the procedure allows for rapid and frequent assessment of soil characteristics with little or no equipment, Groves added.
Then each group was given a cup and a hand shovel to dig up half a cup of dirt. The group was then taken into the FFA classroom to test the soil with chemicals.
“The preferred pH level is between 6.2 and 6.8,” she said.
The group was then taken outside to start the planting. They were giving onion plants and were told to plant them approximately one inch deep.
Groves also explained how to care for the onion plants. “About four weeks after planting the plants need to be fertilized this should be done every three to four weeks,” she said.
Onions are ready to be picked when the tops fall over. All you have to do is pull on them and they come right out the ground, she said.
The 4H club was also at the land lab getting ready to plant beets, radishes, carrots and onions. Once they are grown the 4H club will be selling their items at the farmers market one Sunday every month.
“We use raised beds and straw bales to plant our seeds,” Vicky Merritt said. “We are building a hoop house using PVC piping and then we’re going to add a sheet of clear plastic over it and that will be our greenhouse.”
This is a great way for the kids to learn where their food comes from, she said.
If you would like additional information about the FFA or 4H or for upcoming workshops contact the DHS Agriculture department at (520) 364-2447 extension 7600.