HARVESTING  ONIONS

Onions are a great crop for most gardeners.  This year I didn’t grow any red onions because they didn’t last well in previous years. The shallots did well and they were harvested a month ago.  At that stage, I was worried about the regular onions as they seemed very small.  But in the last month they grew very well and it looks a great crop.  I grew them under Envirogrid that I purchased from Quickgrow.  I had put the onion sets in seed trays in the greenhouse to get them started as had found this fantastic the previous year.  I had to hold from planting them in the ground until late April because of the wet ground. They were more than happy to be released into the ground.   I found the Envirogrid  fantastic as the onions needed no weeding at all.

It is quite easy to know when onions are ready for harvesting.  The leaves start to turn colourful and flop over. Gently pull them by the neck or if necessary use a small fork. Drying onions, or curing onions as it is often called, is necessary before storing.   I took half the crop out a week ago on a sunny day and left outside for two days to allow clay to dry. I brushed this off gently.   Then I put them into the greenhouse for a week.  The staging worked very well for this.  Onions should be treated carefully.  They bruise very easily and it’s best to handle them as carefully as you would handle eggs. I lined them up on the staging not letting them touch each other.  After a week, I brought them into to the garage to dry them out on a flat surface as some of leaves were still green and the necks were still soft.  When they are dry in approximately 2/3 weeks,   I will hang them in the garage for the winter.  It is important that they are completely dry before putting into storage.   

I took the second half of the crop out yesterday when it was pouring rain.  I felt there was little point leaving them out.  Two tier Staging comes included in the price with all Landmark greenhouses.  I also have a freestanding staging .  I hung the last batch to dry in the garage.  I know it’s preferable to give them a couple of days in the fresh air before taking them indoors but weather did not allow this. I’ll see how they compare to the earlier batch.  I had a few onions that bolted and I will use these first as they won’t last.

I stored the onions in the garage.  It has two windows and they are near the light at the moment, but when they are dry, I will hang them in a darker part of the garage.  In fact this year I will cut the leaves off some of the crop and store them in plastic baskets.  It will be easier to check on them and remove any that are in bad condition.   If it goes below -4 degrees, I will need to take them into the house. In this case the baskets will be easier to manage.