Do you love the delicious taste of onions? These popular vegetables are easy to grow and are often found in backyard gardens. If you are growing onions in your garden, you might be wondering when they are ready to harvest.
Onions are different than other vegetables, and they actually give a great sign when they are ready to harvest. Let’s explore this and much more, below:
Knowing When Onions are Ready to Harvest
Onions are some of the easiest vegetables to harvest because there is almost nothing to it. The onion is made of two main parts: the leaves and the globe, or the onion, itself.
As onions begin to grow up from the ground, you can only see the leaves. Underneath the soil, the globe is growing, too. You might see the leaves shooting up, but you can’t see what the globe is doing.
All of this makes knowing when to harvest onions, confusing. Fortunately, there are two easy ways to know when to harvest.
The first signal that it is time to harvest onions is simply the season. As long as you plant your onions at the right time of the season, they are harvestable by mid-summer. Just keep in mind that they are likely going to be small.
Since this is the case, you should only harvest the onions when you need them. It’s best to let them keep growing until they are fully grown.
As the summer continues, and we start to move into the fall season, you are going to notice that the leaves of the onion begin to fall. That is the sign that they are fully grown and ready to harvest.
Harvesting and Storing Onions
If you have a lot of onions, you might be worried that if you harvest them all at the same time, you are going to have an overabundance of onions. After all, a little bit of onion goes a long way.
Thankfully, you can cure your onions, and then store them, and they will last a long time!
When you pull them out of the ground, and you don’t have to worry about rain or frost, you can pull the onions out of the soil, and then allow them to sit on the top of the soil for a couple of days.
However, if the weather is rainy, or there is a possibility of frost, you need to put them in a protected area.
One of the best places to store onions for a couple of days is the garage floor. You can also place them on a porch or even in the basement.
When you pull the onions out of the ground, you should make sure they are placed in a single area. You also don’t want to be too rough with them because they can bruise easily, which can lead to rot.
It is best to place them in an area that is warm and dry with a breeze. As the onions begin to cure over the next couple of days, you will notice that the skin will tighten around the bulb, and the stem and leaves will wilt.
You will notice that the neck becomes dry and tight, and then the stems will completely dry out. Once that happens, you can take a pair of scissors and cut the roots off. Also, at the same time, cut the leaves that have dried away.
If you notice that there are onions that are damaged and bruised, or there are onions that still have a green stem, you should toss them, as they won’t taste good.
When every onion is trimmed, you can bring them to the house and store them. How long? Well, that depends on the onion.
How Long Can an Onion be Stored?
The length of time that you can store onions depends on the type of onion you have. Mild onions, for instance, will be good and safe to eat for a few weeks after you cure them.
Onions that are more pungent can last much longer, up to a year, but you have to cure them longer. You also have to make sure that you are storing them in a cool, dry place, such as a basement.
What type of onion do you have? Well, mild onions are as you might expect, milder in taste. They peel easily and are often eaten raw on a sandwich or a salad. Again, these onions will only last for a couple of weeks after they are harvested.
The nice thing is, you can easily turn mild onions into salsa or other sauces, and they will last a lot longer. Some examples of mild onions include Bermuda, Spanish, and Vidalia.
Pungent onions, such as Candy onions, Ebenezer onions, or Copra onions, are generally smaller in size when compared to mild onions. These are the onions that might make you cry.
As you can see, knowing when to harvest onions is easy. Plus, as an added bonus, you can store them and eat them several weeks later!