I always give myself a screw up first year of growing a vegetable. Well, this was my first year of growing onions. Let me correct myself. The first year to actually harvest an onion. As I mentioned in my how to plant onions, for years I have attended the onion seedling dance party and never was picked to dance with an onion. I sat lonely on my cold hard metal chair waiting for an onion to show up in my raised beds. All I got was this little sliver of grass. (*Sob.*) Gardening failure is just plain cruel. This year, I was armed with onion sets, which are onion bulbs. However, I wasn’t without my mistakes. Read on. (It ain’t pretty.)
Garlic vs Onions
I figured growing onions was a lot like growing garlic. Then all the sudden around the middle of July, the ears started to flop. Some of the bulbs even produced flowers.
Funny thing, onion leaves are supposed to flop in late summer. (Says the gardening experts.)
I guess I expected the leaves to look like garlic leaves when it is time to harvest. When garlic is ready to harvest about half of the leaves look withered. In fact, my onion leaves looked amazing. (And by the way smelled amazing too.)
What’s Up With Those Leaves?
To be honest, I didn’t give the leaves another thought. Thank goodness for Joey of the Wisconsin Vegetable Gardeners. He posted a video on GT’s Facebook page about harvesting the onions when the leaves fall over. Note, I thought the leaves are supposed to wither so I am wondering if it is because I grew the onions from sets? Jump in my gardening friend.
Joey suggested to snip the leaves before they get too tall so they don’t fall over. Do you just let your leaves wither or snip them off to enjoy?
Some of the onions that flowered were ones that I grew from seed last year. (Yeah, I got one from seed but really small.) However, some of the bulbs flowered also. Unlike garlic, when your onion flowers, the bulb is done.
How to Harvest
Once the leaves fall over, wait about 2 weeks to let the bulbs cure in the soil. (See my video above.) Then gently remove them. Lay them out in the sun to start their curing process for a day and then move them to shade. Be careful about rain as well as extreme heat. In fact, I ended up taking mine inside to cure for two to three weeks since rain was imminent.
Most articles I read talked about letting the entire leaves wither and turn brown. Joey told me that I could cut the greens and use them like spring onions. I left about 2 inches of the neck to wither. Catch my next post on how I stored the green onions.
Onions should be stored in a dark place at about 50-60 degree temperature in mesh bags. I will be using my panty hose for storing them. (Check out my other uses for old panty hose.) You can also use mesh bags so they can breath.
Oh, before I forget, use the “flowered” bulbs first. They are the first ones that will rot.
Join the Conversation:
- Do you grow onions?
- What are some of your onion failures?
- Do you cut off your onion leaves when it is time to harvest?
- Do you snip off the leaves to get them from flopping?