Onions are one of our favorite root vegetables! They are high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. By midsummer, when the bulbs start to fatten up, you can begin harvesting individual onions as needed to use immediately. In late summer or early fall, the stems on your onion plants will start to flop over. This happens at the neck of the onion and it signals that the plant has stopped growing and is ready for storage. Onions should be harvested soon thereafter.
Digging and Storing Onions
1. If the weather is dry and there's no danger of frost, the plants can be gently pulled from the soil and laid right in the garden for a day or two. If the weather is wet or frost is possible, move the onions immediately into a protected spot. The floor of the garage or a covered porch works well. Spread the onions out in a single layer, taking care not to bump or bruise them.
2. Leave them spread out in a single layer. Warm (75-80 degrees F), dry and breezy is ideal. As the onions are curing, their necks will gradually wither and the papery skins will tighten around the bulbs. Once the necks are completely tight and dry, and the stems contain no moisture, you can use scissors to trim the roots off the bottom of each bulb.
3. The leaves can also be trimmed to within 1″ of the bulb. Cull any onions that still have green necks, or have bruised or damaged bulbs. Bring the onions indoors and store them in mesh bags, a bushel basket, orchard rack, or a flat cardboard box with some holes punched in it.
Stringing Onions to Hang
1. Once onions are fully cured, cut a thick string about 2 feet long, and tie the ends together in a knot.
2. Prepare onions - trim off the roots, and cut off the tops, leaving 3 inches attached to the bulb. Hang the string from a nail or equivalent, so both your hands are free.
3. Take an onion and place the 3 inch top through the strings from behind the hanging string loop. tightly wrap the 3 inch top around the string opposite the bulb, and once tied around, bring it down, gently sliding, to hang. Repeat the process switching string sides every 2-3 onions. Hang in a cool place away from sunlight. Should keep well for 8-12 months!