Oh my, do we have ONIONS! For the first time ever in my gardening life, I decided to try buying onion sets in bulk, rather than planting by seeds. Seeds have always been vastly less expensive, but while they always germinate, I’ve never successfully grown and stored vast quantities, usually messing up somewhere along the way and ending up with either very small or very mushy onions. And with the amount of space we are blessed with in this garden – not to mention the amount of onions we go through in a year! – I thought this time I’d follow the pro recommendations and order sets.
Along with that, I did some homework on what varieties actually work best in not only the Northwest, but in coastal climates such as ours where the summer weather is much milder than the rest of the region. So with that, we planted: * Walla Walla Sweets – “famous for its sweetness” (our fave) * Redwing – the “ultimate red storage onion…especially adapted for home gardeners between 43-65° latitude” * Candy – “jumbo bulbs in less than 3 months…can be successfully grown anywhere in the US”.
They grew like CRAZY! Best crop EVER, with three full onion bags topping out at well over 60 lbs. And considering I planted a 12’x4′ raised bed with pure onions, thank goodness for that…!
As far as curing, I really wanted to follow this idea on Pinterest, and looking in our barn, sure enough I found a workaround to building one by using an old piece of fencing (still attached to the 2×4’s!), and stuck them on sawhorses. I’m thinking one could easily replicate this by using pallets as well, so wanted to share this awesomeness with y’all!
The important thing is to have them out of the sun while they are curing, then to store them in a mesh bag (my husband simply asked the produce guy at the co-op for leftover bulk onion bags, and they were happy to keep a few out of the landfill!) in a cool spot over winter.
Naturally we’ve gobbled up a number of them already (LOVE the Candies!), and I’ve got some set aside for salsa, marinara, relish, and other canning projects, not to mention pickling some of the red ones (hallelujah!).
Ah yes, and that’s me in the B&W photo my husband snapped. No, I don’t wear dresses in the garden but after coming home the other day I couldn’t help myself when I saw the onions were ready for harvesting!