So, today I thought I’d get the onions, which have been lying on an old sheet, on the floor of the enclosed back porch, ready for storage. This spring, I was so busy planting all six gardens that I almost didn’t get the onions even planted. But, kind of at the last minute (in July), I socked in a 50-foot row of sets, figuring maybe I’d get some smallish onions to store over winter. (I can’t imagine an onion-less week!) After all, they’re my most-used vegetable, other than potatoes. They didn’t get much care as we struggled against the drought in all of the gardens, adding lots of extra mulch here and there, trying to hold in all the moisture we could. Creeks were going dry, lakes dropped feet, and we didn’t see any rain for weeks.
When late fall came, I knew I had onions but really hadn’t paid much attention to them. Before freezing weather hit, I went out and pulled the row. And I was very surprised to find I had a decent crop! They filled a 5-gallon bucket and then some. Of course, they still had on some tops. But still … The fall rains had come so I couldn’t just leave them lying next to the row to cure for a few days. So I hauled them in to the house and spread an old sheet on the back porch floor and placed the onions in a single layer on it.
Well, it’s been about two weeks now and because it was so nasty out, I decided I’d ready those onions for storage as cold weather is coming and eventually, the back porch, even though it’s enclosed, will reach below freezing temperatures as we close the door between it and the greenhouse part. I took a basket out as I usually store my onions in a basket or onion sack, so they have plenty of airflow around them. I also took a big bread bowl to receive the tops and a sturdy pair of scissors.
I would pick up an onion, rub as much dirt and old skin off as possible to avoid bacterial contamination, then clipped the dried top off about ½ inch or so from the onion bulb. It was dropped into the basket and another one was done. Any with green tops or thick necks were also clipped (including the roots), but those were put in a separate pile to use soon. Onions like that seldom will keep and usually soon get rotten. So, they go into the kitchen, where I’ll add them to stews, chili, salads, or fried potatoes within a week’s time.
All in all, I ended up with a heaping basket full of very nice (and some giant!) onions. So it goes to show you, plant, even though you think you might not get much for your time and work. Plants often surprise you! — Jackie