Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Onions Harvested...and all is good :)


The summer has, once again, flown by and we are now into the cooler (and dare I say, much more pleasant!) autumn weather.  I’ve been away in Salt Lake City and, now that I’m back, it’s time for some final harvests and garden cleanup to begin.

The onions were the first crop on my “to harvest” list.  My intention had been to harvest them before I left, in the first couple of days of September, but I ran out of time.  I was actually quite concerned that they may not be fairing that well over the past couple of weeks as we’ve had a lot of rain.  Well, my concern was all for naught.

Hello my pretty...

These guys were gorgeous & it's definitely up there with one of the best onion crops I’ve ever had:


In an earlier post this summer, I mentioned that I was more than a little concerned about the onions as they just didn’t seem to be sizing up as quickly as they normally do.

Onions on July 20

Normally, by mid-July, we have some good bulb formation happening but this year I was still looking at a bed of large green onions.  Cooler than normal temperatures in late April/May meant that transplanting of most crops was delayed by a good 2-3 weeks and this included getting the onion seedlings in the ground. I couldn’t help but think that this had negatively affected them.

By early August, however, the swelling had begun.  All was not lost but I had resigned myself to the fact that this year, the bulbs would be tiny.  If I harvested a few small (i.e. not tiny) to medium sized bulbs, I would be more than happy.

Usually, I harvest the onions by mid-August but his year, I just let them be in the hopes that they would continue to put on some growth.  Many of the stalks were already leaning over (it gets windy around here!) but, thankfully, they did not bend enough to pinch the bottom bit, where the stalk attaches to the onion, which would have stopped the flow of sap and halt growth.

Onion bed on harvest day

Notice all of the wispy, grass like bits throughout the bed??  Those are self-seeded garlic chives that I spoke about in my last post and I’m STILL pulling out – doh!

The harvest is done & the onions are safely in the garage
to cure for the next few weeks.

The Golden Shallots were also growing in the onion bed.  While they flopped over and their tops dried out a while ago, I left them in the ground until now.  Normally, they would be harvested at around the same time as the garlic, which is the end of July, but they didn’t look any worse for wear, having been left in the bed this long.  In fact, just like the onions, this appears to be one of the best shallot harvests I’ve had – just look at the size of those bulbs:

Golden Shallots

I adjusted the spacing for the shallots this year, the end goal being fewer but larger bulbs and it appears I was successful. While I’m not weighing the majority of harvests this year, I will be weighing the storage onions and shallots once they are cured and comparing them to years past.  This was also the first year when I started all of the onions in April and I’m fairly confident the final numbers will re-affirm that an early start in February is unnecessary.

Lastly, there was one final crop in the onion bed - Tokyo Long, a green onion.  When I removed the netting from the bed, these guys stood tall & were still doing very well.

While I was harvesting the shallots, I decided a pic of the Tokyo Long green onions was in order...

Tokyo Long Green Onions

I’ll be chopping these up and freezing them to add to stir fries.  I may also try dehydrating some to use as a flavourful addition to yoghurt based dips.

And that’s it for now.  Next on the harvest list (hopefully this afternoon) are the dried beans – most of the pods are mature and in the process of drying out but, with all the recent rain, they are much better off in the nice, dry garage than on the vine.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

14 comments:

  1. That's quite a haul, Margaret! If I had more space - and more discretion in using water - I'd have a vegetable garden in addition to my cutting garden. Best wishes with your bean harvest!

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    1. Thanks Kris! I LOVE growing onions (such an underappreciated veg!). I'm paring down on how much I grow, though, as in some cases (such as with the onions), I was growing far too much. This year I only grew a single (8'x4') bed of them and it looks to be just the right amount to last us until next next years harvest.

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  2. Our onions are boxed up now hopefully to last into late spring. We are still using our autumn planted onions and we have planted more over wintering onions. It seems that there’s very little time when we don’t have onions in the ground

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    1. Can you believe that I still have a handful of onions from LAST year that are still fine?? Hopefully this years crop stores just as well!

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  3. Woah, that's impressive, Margaret! I'm glad things worked out (for the better!) by waiting to harvest until after you got back. We're having summer weather here this week, with a cool down by the weekend. September is a fabulous month, isn't it?!

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    1. I LOVE September! I must admit, I do enjoy the break that winter provides. The cleanup process - pulling dying/overgrown/diseased plants and getting back to a clean bed, all ready for a fresh start next year - is also very gratifyingly :)

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  4. That's a fabulous onion harvest and now you know that you can plant them a bit later and leave them in the ground a little longer, if time isn't on your side, without any adverse effects.

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    1. It's such a wonderful revelation! I actually think I may have been harvesting the onions too soon in some years - now I know I should just leave them be. The best discoveries always seem to be the accidental ones :)

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  5. Wow! That is certainly a very good onion harvest.
    I also wish you well with your bean harvest.

    Always plenty to do!
    Happy Autumn wishes

    All the best Jan

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    1. Happy Autumn to you too, Jan! One bed of beans is harvested & so far so good - only 2 more to go:)

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  6. Fantastic harvest! How long do they last after being cured?

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    1. Thanks Jason :) Usually, I'll have a few start to sprout in January or February and it continues, sporadically from there. I concentrate on using up those first but, believe it or not, I still have a few left from last years harvest, none of which show any signs of sprouting (!!).

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  7. This article really helped me to grow onions

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