Multiple onion harvests

qbush(6, NE MA)February 6, 2013

My DH loves onions, especially the pungent cooking onions. I can only store about 2 months/40 - 50 pounds, so I need to harvest several times a year. We live at Latitude 42.66 (gotta love google!) in zone 6. I have a small unheated greenhouse, and am exploring Coleman style tunnels.

So far I have tried sets, Home Depot. Harvested about ten pounds of smallish onions in July. Tasty but that's not even 2 weeks worth around my kitchen, especially when he gets into Sunday omelets.

This year I am targeting copra, for storage, and the 'makes excellent french onion soup' line from Territorial. Any suggestions on how to get multiple harvests? Other varieties? Culture? Suppliers?

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This fall, consider growing "Japanese" overwintering onions, which are started from seed in early fall. They stand through winter (preferably under cover) and bulb in late May. Mine stored until Oct. Varieties include Top Keeper, Bridger, Desert Sunrise and a few others.

I also grow a lot of bulb onions from seed, and have really been impressed with the storage performance of cippolinis, which store almost as long as shallots.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I agree with planatus about the overwintering onions for a second harvest, but those will only come in a few months earlier than spring planted ones. It really doesn't address the main issue of why you can't store onions longer?

My onions harvest mid-august (but can be eaten fresh a month sooner) and keep easily till the end of February. They keep like this in a cool, dark, dry place. Some people use a empty closet away from a heat source, or a basement room with a dehumidifier......

QBush, if you're growing your own onions, and they will only keep for 2 months, something is wrong with your curing process or storage system. It would be much easier to figure these things out as it's really only possible to grow onions in certain months of the year.

As far as varieties, 'Copra' and as Planatus mentioned, cippolini, are your best bets for long term storage.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 7:22PM
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I'd plant some eat-now, and some storage onions. Even in varieties that are supposed to be non-storage, I've seen comments on seed-sellers' web sites where people say they hold up much longer than advertised. So have a crop for summer eating, and a second crop that's just for storage. They should last well into the winter - six to nine months is reasonable. Check this video:

Here is a link that might be useful: U of Maine Extension Service - storing onions

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 7:58PM
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qbush(6, NE MA)

My problem with storing onions is shortage of space. I have managed to hide a small bag of onions, and as of Feb thy are fine. My husband will go through 5 or six onions in a meal, so I am aiming for 100 pounds this year.

Our water table is to high to use the crawl space as storage, so I am reading up on root cellar alternatives. Aiming for alternate onion harvest:: leeks, shallots, multipliers will just keep things interesting in the kitchen.

Planatus: Thanks for the info on Japanese. I started Bridger last fall in the GH so I am watching them with interest. And DH loves cippollini, so thanks for the storage tip!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:04AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

That makes sense, they do take up some space.
He goes through 5-6 onions a meal, huh? I think you should buy lots of stock in some very large onion producer! And maybe a mouthwash company


    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:18AM
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