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Old October 3, 2017   #1
svalli
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Default Onions finally harvested

Onions have been one of the easiest crop I grow, but last years I have got some problems with them. Maybe I did not pay so much attention earlier and now I have been fussing too much and causing the problems with my own actions. Earlier I got problems with flower stalks and weeds, but those were overcome by buying sets, which were kept in warm location and storing them in warm before planting and using black plastic mulch to suppress weeds. Last season I got a lot of onion maggots, because same field has had onions growing for decades. This season I moved my planting to a new location and there is no onion maggots, but now there is a lot onions with thick necks and the leaves and stems stayed green and lush even it is getting late in the season. On Saturday I had to finally go and lift all the onions, because weather is getting cool and humid, so there was a risk of onions starting to rot or maybe even a hard frost hitting before I can go next time to the field. This is the latest time when I have lifted my onions. Usually I have done it in mid August.


I have read what causes the thick necks and late maturity and have determined that it was caused by the late start of growing due to dry June and too much calcium nitrate applied in end of July. Next season I will have to remember to arrange watering for dry periods and limit the nitrogen application. I have now learned valuable lessons of crop rotation, fertilization, mulching and planting material selection and handling. Maybe next year everything will go perfectly and I will get a superb harvest of onions

I am not totally disappointed for the harvested onions. Those are the largest ones, which I have ever got, but getting them to keep in storage worries a bit. I separated the ones, which look like giant spring onions to be used first and try also dice and dehydrate some of them. The bigger ones, with thinner necks are now on a wire rack in garage above a heater. I hope that those will cure even the stems had not started to fall over like normally before harvest. Varieties which I grew this year are yellow Sturon and red Braunschweiger and both kind were planted from sets.


Sari
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File Type: jpg onion harvest.jpg (501.6 KB, 145 views)
File Type: jpg onion size.jpg (216.7 KB, 147 views)
File Type: jpg onion cleaning.jpg (213.3 KB, 144 views)
File Type: jpg onions curing.jpg (204.0 KB, 145 views)
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Old October 3, 2017   #2
Salsacharley
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Looks like you have a nice harvest. You certainly put a lot of thought and effort into them. I bet you will end up with a very good store of onions for the next few months...not that I know anything about onions.
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Old October 3, 2017   #3
bower
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Those look lovely to me! Last year I tried onions but transplanted much too late, so many of them were thick necks or poorly developed bulbs. Instead of trying to cure, we kept them in cool storage with greens still attached and they remained good for a surprisingly long time - several months. Although a 'crop failure' lesson for me, they were still sweeter and better than onions you can buy, and my mom also really liked to chop the thick neck and green parts as well.
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Old October 3, 2017   #4
ddsack
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Svalli, nice crop of onions! I hope the drying and storing works out well for you, it sounds ideal.

Bower, I have a similar problem this year. I start my Ailsa Craig as well as some red onion from seed in containers early in the year and transplant to the garden in May. Last spring I had garlic growing in the old onion spot, and I couldn't decide where to plant the onion seedlings until all the extra tomato and pepper beds were filled. I got busy with other things and realized that they were still in their containers at the beginning of July!

I was just going to put them in the compost pile at that point, but since I had two unused garden spots left, decided what the heck, at least I can eat them as green onions. I was surprised at how well they grew, and I did make sure to keep them well watered, because the soil is very sandy there.

Most managed to make small bulbs and a few medium sized ones, but they flopped so late that the still green stalks don't want to shrink well. I lifted a bunch of the largest ones to dry in my greenhouse, but will have to pull the rest of them now after three days of rain. I think I will be using a lot of onions in my cooking this fall!
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Old October 4, 2017   #5
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Wow, I never seen such green onions at this date. For many years I've grown in tough conditions in a mountain area, probably not much better than your climate, and they always were done july, or august at most (really done, we usually pick them when they are almost completely yellow).
Yeah, that calcium nitrate was added much too late, after bulb starts to form it seems only P and K should be added if anything (your clay soil probably has plenty of Ca anyway).
Still a nice harvest. They look nice and disease free so should store well.
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Old October 4, 2017   #6
PhilaGardener
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Fabulous looking onions! Great crop! Congratulations!
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Old October 4, 2017   #7
bower
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In our climate onions are never ready before September. My friend grows onions at her farm every year, so it is not because of a mistake in timing or fertilizer in this case. There are two reasons - one is that we have cooler temperatures so it takes longer to get the "degree-days" for maturity. A second factor for tops staying green is that the season is usually dryer in June and July, with more rain coming in August and September.

I was at the farm on Monday and saw that they harvested half the onions the week before. The remaining half are still green though and are not flopped over. In other years I have seen them properly finished in the field ie fairly dried down, but not every year provides those conditions.

The same is true for garlic, that instead of drying down and losing half their leaves, many will stay green when you're waiting for clues to harvest. An experienced garlic grower told me, if you're counting leaves, just browning of the tips is enough sign for us, if three weeks or more have passed since the last scapes were harvested.
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Old October 22, 2017   #8
svalli
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The onions in the garage have been curing nicely. I spent couple of hours in the garage today and tried to string some of the onions. I have not done the earlier, so I looked videos in the YouTube about it. It was easy to do, but those strings become quite heavy and I do not know where to hang those for storage. I do have mesh bags and may just store the rest in them after cleaning.

I diced and dehydrated the ones with thickest necks and those turned out great. The taste of the dehydrated flakes is really sweet.

Sari
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Old October 22, 2017   #9
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Those are just beautiful. I hope that they store well for you. Enough to dehydrate too. Wow!
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Old October 22, 2017   #10
brownrexx
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Those onions look beautiful but I am not sure how well the ones with the thick necks will store. Let them dry really well before placing them in storage. The necks need to seal shut to prevent the bulbs from rotting in storage.

You can also dice onions and freeze them without blanching to use in cooking. They work out really well that way.
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Old October 26, 2017   #11
bower
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Those onions are gorgeous!
I braided my small onions and shallots last year without much difficulty, after searching the internet. But they were small and therefore quite light, so less risk of the greens breaking.

One thing I learned on the internet search, that the braid of onion greens is called in Italian a "fiasco". This has another meaning in English, which makes me worry about braiding without strings!
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Old October 26, 2017   #12
MdTNGrdner
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Wow, Svalli, those are beautiful! Nice work!
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Old October 26, 2017   #13
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I got myself a deep-fat fryer.. whipped up some batter.. and made home-made onion rings with mine. They were great.
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Old October 26, 2017   #14
Nattybo!
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Bellissimo!
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