We use a lot of Onions, so the Onion Crop is really important to us. If done correctly, the Yield will last us during the height of Canning through the Winter Season.
On March 21, Richard planted over 400 Onion (Sets and Plants) in the space which the Peas had occupied in the last growing Season. Varieties were: Red, White, Granex, Walla Walla, and Candy. Granex and Candy are our keeper Onions. We watched their variability in growing. We concluded that this was the best Crop of Onions that we had ever grown.
Onions are "Cool Season" so they grow rapidly from very Early Spring to Early Summer. As the Heat turns up, they quit growing and begin to "cure". Gardeners begin stages of Harvest. If they don't, Worms and Grubs in the Soil are putting on their Bibbs for Onion Snacks. We found this out the hard way last year. This year, we are moving a little faster and we know why.
These days, Richard has been watching the Onions closely for signs that they are ready to Harvest. When the Tops start to dry out and fall over, the Onions are almost ready. The book recommends that when half of the tops have fallen over, the Gardener should bend over the tops of the rest of the Onions.
The next step is to take the Onions out of the Soil and let them cure in the Garden for 2-3 Days. Then the Onions should cure another few days in an indoor location.
The 1st step is a little tricky. If Rain is in the forecast, the Onions need to be removed to a dry area. Rain was in our forecast today. In fact, we could see it coming. So Richard cleared out a space in the Shed for the Onions to finish the curing process. While he was clearing out the Shed, Melanie loaded the Onions into the Wheelbarrow, and into the Shed, they came. Richard estimated that we have about 75 pounds of Onions in this 1st go-around of Harvest. Since they are not completely cured as they come out of their protection in the Soil, we Humans will need to keep an eye on them, turning them on occasion so their Skins cure. We used to just buy Onions in the Store. If fact, I wonder how many Onions we have bought over a Lifetime. For years, we gave no thought to the overall process by which the Onions came to our Table, or whose Hands had helped to bring them there. Every time we determine that we are going to grow another Food Crop, we learn more.
The Plants and the Earth seem to be relatively patient Teachers. But there are lines that we do not dare cross if we are serious about growing our own Food. Sometimes we know the Lines and other Times we don't. We are slowly but surely finding our way.