When are Onions Ready to Harvest?
Once they reach an acceptable size after the overwintering process, onions are ready for harvest. For storage purposes, the time when the leaves start to fall over or become brown around the edges is the best time to harvest them. After about a week, carefully lift the bulbs out of the ground with a fork. For better ventilation, lay the bulbs on a soil surface or on a wire rack. Proceed to let them dry in the sun for another week.
They can be dried under cover if the weather is bad, such as in a tunnel or greenhouse. To prevent them from bruising, always handle onions with care.
Pick Onions and Store them Properly
You need to “Cure” onions to store them. This simply means that the outer skins must be dried completely. Move your onions undercover to do this. On racks, or on layers of newspaper in the greenhouse, polytunnel, or cold frame, you can dry your onions. You can also dry other alliums like shallots or garlic this way.
You should spread the onions as wide as you can. Make sure that there is enough air circulation to remove moisture and prevent mold or rotting. It may take two more weeks for the onions to dry completely. When the skin is papery, the leaves have completely shrivelled up, and the roots have become dry and wiry, they are ready for storage. This is the time to cut off roots and remove loose skin. Cut the stems of your bulbs to within 2 to 3 inches (5 to 5 cm) of the neck. If the stem is not cut to the neck, you can trim the stem.
Onions are to be stored in cool, dry, and ventilated areas that are not exposed to direct sunlight. Ideal storage locations are a garage or an unheated area in your house. Use the soft or thick-necked bulbs as soon as you can, and do not store them
Individual onions can be placed in net bags if they are handled carefully. You can use purpose-sold vegetable storage nets, or netting bags that were used to hold oranges. Hang the bags from the ceiling. You should check the nets regularly and take out any bad onions.
How to Braid an Onion String
Onion strings make it easy to store onions. Make one by cutting lengths of string approximately three to four feet long, or about a meter. To make a loop, tie the ends together and hang it from a hook.
To insert the first onion, place it in the middle of the loop. Then bend the stem around to return the string through the loop. To anchor the onion in place, push it down to the bottom. You can now add more onions by placing the stem through a loop, wrapping it around the string, and then pushing it down against the previous one. Rotate each onion to ensure they are in a straight line. Keep your string in a dry, cool place. Enjoy the onions whenever you like, but remember to remove the strings from the top, not the bottom.
There you have it! It is easy to prepare onions for storage. This will allow you to keep your bulbs warm throughout the winter. Share your experiences and ideas on storing onions by leaving a comment below!