Ripening

Wait until the tops fall over and start to change color, this is a sign they are mature. In cool, humid areas when all tops have fallen; in cool, dry areas when half the tops have fallen; and in warm areas when a third of the tops have fallen. Loosen the soil around the onion with a fork and gently pull it from the soil.

When and How

Whole Plant, 1-21 days after maturity

When: If you want to store the bulbs for any length of time, they must be fully mature.

When bulbing is complete, the tops turn yellow and die back, as they have no more energy in them. Stop watering your Onions at this time so they can dry out and cure. Some gardeners knock over any remaining green leaves at this point, to hasten their drying. Don’t do this prematurely though, wait until at least a half of the tops have fallen by themselves and take care not to bruise the bulb. Leave the bulbs for another week to die back fully.

How: Lift the bulbs and leave them in the sun for a few days to dry out. If the sun is very hot, you should move them to a shady place, as they can be cooked by very strong sunlight. If there is danger of rain you should move them under cover.

After the tops have dried out completely, cut them off, leaving 1˝ on the bulb (obviously if you want to braid your onions don’t do this).

Curing & Storage: Before storing onion bulbs, you should examine them carefully. The papery outer skin should be in good condition, there should be no bruising and the neck should be dry and papery. If the neck is still thick it didn’t mature properly and won’t store very well. These bulbs should be eaten first.

Store the bulbs in boxes, mesh bags (old panty hose works well), or make onion braids. Keep them in a cool dry place, at 32 to 50° F and 60% humidity. Excessive moisture can encourage sprouting.

Onion braids look great hanging in the kitchen, but it is too warm and dry to store them there for any length of time (they will dry out). I suppose you could make a number of small braids and bring them into the kitchen as you need them.

Plants/person:

15.0

Yield/plant:

0.3-0.5lbs

Yield/sq. ft.:

1.0-5.0lbs

Fruit Size:

5.0"

Exterior Color:

Light brown skin

Interior Color:

Light flesh

Nutrition:

Onions are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and calcium and contain a variety of beneficial phytochemicals. The green leaves are rich in vitamin A.