I’ve been a little skeptical this gardening season because our weather has been unpredictable. It’s still pretty early to decide how successful the garden will be so I’m trying to keep a positive attitude but also be realistic.
Which brings me to our onion harvest.
I never planned to begin harvesting until the end of June but our last visit from mother nature was pretty brutal. I had to make some quick decisions on what would be staying and what should be removed.
This journey began in the quail sanctuary.
As you can see the onions took a hit and I knew they wouldn’t be very large because the soil has remained water logged far too long. I thought they may even be rotten because I had already experienced that with some of my other plants.
Now, if these beds were higher things would grow through the worst of weather because the water would have additional drainage space.
With the present situation I decided to harvest because even small fresh onions taste pretty amazing in just about anything you’ll ever cook. Their essential for most main dishes and if you store mature onions in the dark, with their skins attached they can last for up to 12 months.
When to Harvest Onions
During a healthy growing season, you would normally harvest onions mid-summer or for those of us further south the middle of June. This is when the bulbs begin to increase in size and enjoy fresh from the garden.
In the later part of the summer as we approach fall, the leaves of your onion plant flop over. This signals the actual harvest time; for some gardeners this time frame will vary depending on your planting zone.
Now as you can see, my plants are flat on the ground but this was caused from weather damage.
In a normal growing season, the stems would be dryer and mean their ready to harvest for storing. This is what I was hoping for but sometimes you have to take things for what they are and enjoy what you have in the moment.
How to Remove Onions from the Ground
Remove onions using a hand spade, I find this to be the best tool without slicing any onions verses digging with a large shovel.
If you have a lighter soil you may be able to pull them out by hand and remove any clumps of dirt back to the soil base.
I really wasn’t sure what I’d find because honestly, I thought they would be rotten since they’ve been sitting in wet soil for months.
To my surprise even though they were small the harvest looked good enough to enjoy fresh from the garden. This was a positive sign and a reminder to count your blessings no matter what.
Sometimes it’s those small blessings that really add up to something amazing.
Prepping a Fresh Onion Harvest
For fresh onions like mine prepping is pretty simple.
- Remove green stems and wash away the soil with clean water.
- Store in a cool place like the fridge and enjoy when you cook your next meal.
Fresh onions from the garden are amazing so make something wonderful and enjoy that flavor.
Curing Onions for Storage
If you’re lucky enough to have a mature harvest then go ahead and take those onions you pulled from the garden and let them dry in the sun on a tray for a day or two. Do this only in dry weather.
I normally place on trays and sit on a picnic table or bench during the day, then bring indoors at night.
The point of this is to allow the onions to dry out prior to storing. If it’s wet outdoors then let them dry in a garage or covered porch.
- You’ll want to lay them in single layers on trays and place in 70 to 80-degree weather, we call this the curing process.
- Their necks will dry out and the skins will tighten.
- Then remove the stems and roots with scissors.
- Combine dry onions into a mesh bag or crate ready for storage.
Cured onions can be stored in a shed, ideal temperatures would be 35 – 40 degrees. If it gets colder where you live then the basement or pantry might be a better option adn don’t forget they’ll last up to a year.
Harvesting onions is probably one of the easiest things to do because it doesn’t take that much time. But if truth be told I really enjoy eating them fresh from the garden because the flavor is just a little richer.
To get tips on planting onions read here.