It is working up to a soggy Spring again this year. My good gardening friends, who brought me a huge harvest of green beans, warned me that my onions might be rotting in the ground due to the rainfall. I was waiting for a few dry days to harvest, but decided to go ahead and heed their warning. See, I occasionally listen to people that I think know what their doing. Apparently my raised beds saved the day! Another reason to make raised beds is because they drain well. My onions were perfectly bulbed up and ready for harvest! If you planted onions along with me in January then your’s are ready too.
This is what your onions will look like when they are ready to harvest, all sad and laid over like they have breathed their last breath. Pull up one for dinner and see if it has a bulb on it yet, if so then chances are the other onions do too. Go ask your kids(or bribe them) to help you pull onions. Seriously kids LOVE to do this and there is no way they can mess this up. If it is a clear day let your onions rest in the shade, then brush the dirt off. As I brushed the dirt off I sorted them into two piles; onions I though needed to be eaten right away or soon anyway and onions I thought would store well. It is hard to describe which is which, but I
will try. If your onion has a strong stalk coming up through the top then it has tried to set seed and is a quick rotter.
Also if it has a thick soggy stock right above the onion head it will have a hard time drying out all the way and will rot easily. These onions I keep separate to use in the next few weeks. I give some to neighbors/ friends or chop and freeze these onions in baggies. The rest of the onions are ready for long term storage.
This is where every gardener wishes they had a root cellar. I tried storing my onions in the garage last year. Let me just say; that storage option will NOT be repeated. You are looking for a place that is cool and dry. Not hot and muggy like your garage!
This year I put my onions on old window screens and took them inside where they are hanging out like a bad smelling family member in the air conditioning with us. “Come in, take a seat. Don’t mind the onion.” Kidding, it really doesn’t smell. Either that or I am used to it. One screen full of onions is by my back door and the other is, believe it or not, in my living room. My family is patient with me or maybe they realize the taste factor that an onion can add to a dish. More likely they know that, if they ask me to clean up my mess then I will ask them to clean up theirs. With the exception of my one neat and organized son ,who will no doubt be spending some time in a neat and clean therapist office describing what a mess his family is(in more ways than one), some time in the near future. Sorry John, back to onions.
When the tops are all dried, I am going to try to braid them together and hang them in my kitchen. Here is a video on how to braid or plait onions as the British would call it.plaiting onions My dad was from Scotland so I am in love with all their unique expressions. I was just enlightening my son the other day on his Grandfather’s expression of; “It is just a good stretch of the legs.” meaning; It is a damn long way to walk, but you can for sure buck up and do it! A man/woman from Scotland NEVER admits defeat, never! Maybe that is where I got my plucky determination from. Or maybe it is my mom’s American determination for independence. I have a feeling that most of America has turned from independence to dependence, on big government. Could be wrong, just my view on things from where I’m sitting.
Another option is this nifty long net bag I bought. The idea is to put one onion in then put a twist tie on or tie a knot in between each onion. That way air circulates all around them keeping each onion fresh and dry. The best part is that when you want an onion you just take the tie off the end and slip an onion out. The sales person said to cut the end off each time you wanted an onion, but you and I both know she only said that so I would have to buy this long, nifty net bag again next year. Hey we are all trying to make a living, right? I got this nifty net tubing from Northhaven Gardens in Dallas when I bought my onion sets. So if you find the onion plaiting is not for you than try this option. I tried to find this nifty onion storage net on the internet for sale with no success. I did find mesh onion bags to hang. That would be my next choice of storage. Find them here:Simple Ecology Organic Cotton Mesh Produce Bag – Large (3 Pack)
A friend of mine says she stores her onions on plastic storage bin lids under her bed, that way they can be spread out to breath. I might try drying a small batch this way to see how they do, however I am not sure that my hubby would agree that this is the best option for onion storage. I can picture myself telling him that the smell of onions was all in his imagination for weeks, until I would eventually here the call; “Lucy!” or in my case,”Dash!” , as he discovered it was not his imagination after all. 🙂
I am so glad my onions are all harvested because now I have room for my butternut squash, Egyptian spinach and cantaloupe! My best garden helper was planting cantaloupe, which are his favorite, with me when he spied the first ripe red cherry tomato. He let out a happy squeal, ran over and popped it in his mouth savoring it’s sweet/tart goodness. He is my pickiest eater, who could easily survive on bread, cheese and sugar if we let him. Victory in the garden! This truly is a Victory Garden. It is these little small victories that make it all worth it. Hoping you are having some victories in your garden this Spring!
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