Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Onions, Onions, Onions!

This year, I grew onions for the first time.  Someone at school offered me "some" onions and I said sure.

About 80 bulbs later, I had quite a crop on my hands!  They were in little pre-started bundles and I thought there were maybe a dozen in there.  What a surprise!  There were yellow, white and red onions in the bunches and they were all labeled.  I was really good about knowing what I planted where (alphabetical order again!) but when it came to picking them, I didn't care what they were called.  The only kind I new for sure were the reds and they actually were the smallest of all that I grew.

I planted them in both gardens to see if there would be much difference.  Garden #2 gets much more light, has looser soil and is really my favorite garden theses days.  It's a big square, it has symmetry and it's more accessible.  (don't tell garden #1)

Overall, the onions in garden #2 did better, although the only difference was in size.  I don't think any in either garden actually died.  Some are veeerrrrrry tiny and some were about the size of a plum.  None got super huge.

One thing I learned in this endeavor is that onions, and also garlic, "lay down" when they are ready to be picked.

I was so glad to read that because one day, just about every onion top was flat and I thought they all had a disease.  The picture on the website that I was reading was exactly like this so I breathed a sigh of relief!

They suggested that you pick them all, lay them out and rinse them and leave them to dry in the sun.  Then braid their tops together in bundles and hang them to dry, if possible.

I don't really have anywhere dry and not hot to let them hang, and some of mine didn't have tops anymore.

The other suggestion was to just lay them out somewhere cool and dry.  I thought about this for a while and the best solution seemed to be under the tables in the greenhouse.  They will still get daylight, but not direct sunlight.  And it's about as cool there as anywhere else I could come up with.  We have a dirt cellar that is cooler but very moist and I didn't think moist would be good.

I laid them out in the little trays that I had, and for those that were small enough that they might fall through the holes, I put newspaper.  Then I slide them under the tables to see what will happen.

So far so good, but it hasn't been a whole week yet.  The website said they could be left in the ground but I was worried about bugs getting into them and that if the tops dried up, I might not find them.

I will probably end up using these pretty soon since they are small and I use a few at a time.

I will definitely grow onions again and probably this same amount because they didn't grow too large before they were ready to be picked.

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