Harvest Onions Before Trip...Or Not?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by emulkahi1, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. emulkahi1

    emulkahi1 Well-Known Member

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    Hello All--DH and I will be traveling for the entire month of September, and I've got a question about my onions, in regards to that.

    I think I remember reading that one should harvest onions when their tops fall over. Well, all of my onions' still-green tops are currently lying on the ground (a fairly recent development).

    I am wondering if I should go ahead and harvest them today and allow them to cure for a couple of days in the sun (we leave on Friday). I could then bring them in and store them (in the fridge? or would the dark pantry be better?). But it would be an entire month before one of them was used.

    Or should I just leave them in the ground? Would they keep alright that way? It might frost before our return, but it would likely just be a mild freeze (doesn't usually freeze hard until late October. We'll be back by the end of Sept). I believe onions are fairly frost hardy, right?

    Anyway, I would appreciate your advice. Never again will I make the mistake of planning a trip of this length for this time of year. Earlier in the growing season (before stuff needs harvesting every day) or during the cold months will be when we do our traveling from now on .

    Thanks Again!

    Erin
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Pull them right away! Let them lay in the garden until late Thursday or early Friday. Then get them out of the sun and inside. If there's a building with a wood floor, just spread them directly on the wood or a layer of newspaper. If cement floor, put down a layer of cardboard first. Failing either of those, a spare room with newspapers laid down to catch any dirt would also be good. Don't worry about them stinking up the house. If they are firm now, the two days of curing will seal them tight.

    Martin
     

  3. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Yes, pull them. Mine would have rotted if I'd left them in the ground (but I think you're in a much more arid location than I am). If the tops have fallen over some, pull them and leave them to air out for the whole month. They should be fine. I have onions hanging in the kitchen that I cured and then braided together. They've been hanging about a month, I think, and they're in great shape (despite being in the sun sometimes).
     
  4. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    I pulled my onions at the end of May, washed them with water, let them sit out for about three days to cure. I pulled off all tops and loose skins. They have been on my porch laid out flat on a hanging piece of 1 x 2 wire. Only now am I really seeing excessive rotting. So, yeah, they will last a pretty good while with even poor conditions. But, I would not leave them where there was even a chance of them being frosted or frozen while you are gone.
     
  5. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    Pull them. Mine are inside now. I pulled and left in the sun for a few days and now they are on the hay wagon in the barn. Easy to hang the tops over the wagon edge to dry faster.
     
  6. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pull them, but DON'T WASH THEM!!

    Follow Martin's directions, and you should have lovely onions when you return.

    Have a nice trip!! :)

    Pony!
     
  7. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't put them in the refrigerator until they are fully cured. Pull them, as advised, let rest until Friday on the ground in the sun, then you can spread them on wire as one of the posters is doing, or bundle them with their tops still on and hang them to dry. Since you'll be gone, hanging them from the garage rafters works really well. The tops will dry out and shrink so you may want to give each bundle a little mesh/net bag so they don't drop to the floor. (If you were going to be home, you could check and tighten the tie on the bundle every few days and forego the bag). Netting is really cheap and the bags can be reused year after year. (It's really fun to braid onions, however depending on the variety/size of your onions, this may or may not be practical.)

    If you have a shed that gets good air circulation, hanging them there works even better than a garage, which tends to have no drafts because it is so well built!

    BW
     
  8. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    I,too, always heard to not wash them. But because they were wet from the ground already, I went ahead and cleaned them pretty thoroughly. I cant say that it hurt them at all. But I did give them quite a chance to dry out.