Growing onions we have found can be a little tricky, but simple. We are always trying new ideas to make gardening a little simpler.
Tips on harvesting onions
Harvesting onions this year went great! We had a really good crop and everything seemed to work pretty well. When we plant our onions we plant the onion sets or bulbs that usually come in a bag of 100.
We planted the sweet yellow onions and also the purple onions. I like to cook with both of them. I really like to have a variety and they each have their own flavor.
This summer was a strange growing season for us. We had a frost on the 12th of June and then had a hard freeze on the 2nd of July. You can imagine what that did to most of our garden, you guessed it, black plants froze right to the ground. So much for the squash, pumpkins, potatoes and beans. But the onions were awesome, but then you know they are pretty hardy when it comes to the cold.
When are onions ready to harvest?
Around the middle of August our onions started to flop over. We spoke with an elderly gentleman swapping gardening stories. He lived in a different area of the state with a growing season a little longer than ours.
We love to talk gardening with others. He told us the first of August if his onions aren’t leaning over then he walks on them so the greenery does lean over. When the plant it is ready to harvest it starts to fall over.
I am not sure what we did right but this year ours leaned over on their own. We have heard you should bend them over. We were so we were glad to find out our plants did it right on their own.
We noticed this year not as many of our plants had the big thick necks they sometimes get. We are not sure why, but it makes it a lot easier to cure them.
After we dig our onions
Usually when we harvest our onions we lay them on a tarp in our shop to dry the stems out. In past years it seemed they took quite a while to dry. This year we decided to try a little something different.
Instead of laying them in rows on a tarp on the shop floor we hung a piece of twine across the shop and draped the onions over the string. In less than 3 weeks most of the onions were ready to trim and put into bags to complete the harvest.
Preparing for storage
I spent a few hours this afternoon cutting the onion from the stems and cleaning them up. After trimming the roots, brushing the dirt off of the onion and some of the excess skin that was loose, I put the onions into a mesh bag for storing. Generally I use a pair of nylons and tie knots in-between each onion, but this year we are trying the mesh bag.
The onions with the thick necks that are not properly cured yet will be used first. I will be cutting them up into cubes and putting them in the freezer. I will also puree them and put them into the freezer. I may also dry some of the onions in my food dehydrator. Both of these methods are great to use when I am in a hurry cooking. These methods also keep the onion preserved very well.
The tip I learned this year when harvesting our onions: Draping them across a string works very well and they do dry or cure out faster than when we laid them on a tarp.
I would love to hear comments of what you do to harvest your onions. I am always happy to learn something new.