Onions are used in cooking so much and if you are someone who enjoys them then it gives you even more reasons to grow some! They can also be grown in a way that you have them on hand all year round in your kitchen. That’s probably one of them best ways they can be grown.
Certain types of them allow you the storage time that they can be harvested in late fall and you can still have some left over for winter. Here are some great information for harvesting, curing, and storing onions!
Onions are categorized as “short-day” or “long-day”. Long-day onions are grown in northern US plant hardiness Zones 6 and cooler. These are triggered to bulb when sunlight increases to 14-16 hours.
The seeds are planted in January or February under grow lights, so they have plenty of time to grow before forming.
Onions can be harvested any time for fresh eating, but allow storing ones to mature fully for greatest storage capability. They’re finished growing once tops begin to flop over. Depending on variety, this usually happens in the first few weeks of August. Once tops fall over, stop watering and wait for a dry period to dig up the bulbs.
Try to harvest them on an overcast day to reduce sun damage. The easiest way to harvest is to use a digging fork to carefully loosen soil underneath. Once the soil is loose, grasp the neck of the onion stalk and pull them up gently trying not to tear roots, stalks, or bruise the bulbs.
Curing allows the outer layers to dry out and tighten forming a protective wrapping around the bulb. They cure best in a shaded, dry, and cool place.
Curing can take several weeks to a month depending on humidity level. They are finished curing when outer skins turn papery, foliage at neck constructs, and the foliage shrivels and turns brown. Test by cutting the stem about an inch from bulb. The center of cut area should not show any green. If it does, allow additional week.
Use scissors and cut stems cleanly an inch or two from the bulbs and trim roots. Brush bulbs gently with fingers to release any soil still clinging to the papery skin.
Inspect the trimmed onions carefully. Any blemishes, bruising, or damage to the onions will affect their storage potential. Set these aside and use first.