onion harvest mistake

vaherbmomJuly 2, 2012

My dd was helping me harvest my huge, beautiful onions today. I told her to cut off the green tops and she left only about an inch or so of the top of the bulb on. I'm looking at the onions and the stems are so moist and big I'm wondering if this will cause spoilage now?

I'm curing them on a wire shelf elevated on blocks on a covered porch. Any thing I can do to make them last longer/keep better?

Likewise, I had harvested all my softneck garlic about 10 days ago. Then I read on a blog that you must harvest it at exactly the right moment and now I'm wondering if I did it a little too early. I had a terrific crop last year, it cured well and lasted until it ran out in February. But maybe I waited a little longer?

thanks so much for any advice

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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

As far as the garlic goes, earlier is better than later so don't worry much. If it's harvested early, it may not be as large as it could have been. If it's harvested late, it splits and doesn't keep as well.

On the onions, I'm really not sure how well they will keep with the tops cut before curing. Someone else should chime in with advice for you.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 12:30AM
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I agree with madroneb, you are well within the window for harvesting soft neck garlic.

In gardening it is more likely that best practices are discussed (for a lot of good reasons) rather than what is possible. From my reading commercial onions are flailed (mowed), lifted, trimmed, placed in sacks, left to cure in the field, transported, stored, transported, etc...

Yours should be fine. It does not get any better than family and gardening.
Best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 6:22AM
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Well, what she did isn't ideal, its better to allow the entire top to dry down first, but I think overall it won't have a big effect. Just watch them for rot starting around the stem and use any that do right away or process for storage by freezing or drying.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Ok, thanks so much all. I will keep a close eye on them. They are huge and gorgeous! Great crop this year.

I read in a couple places that onions should be harvested when 1/4 to 1/3 have flopped over (warm, humid climate). Is that not right? I should wait until they have all flopped over and dried up?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 7:31PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

My rule of thumb is when 1/2 the patch has fallen, knock the rest over, wait a week and harvest.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 1:09AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

sorry about the stutter, I guess I hit the submit button twice.....

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 1:11AM
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