The Great Outdoors


I am sure that there is someone reading this that still has onions growing outside in their garden. Well, it’s time to harvest.

Onions do like to be cold when they go into storage but any temperatures below freezing (32 degrees) is just too cold so dig them up now and prepare them for storage. Usually it is best to dig them up and then lay the onions on the garden soil as long as it doesn’t rain or frost. If you are too late for outdoor curing then take them inside to a garage or a summer porch and lay them flat on the concrete or tile floor until they are completely dry.

Storage works best in mesh bags or a bushel basket. Cardboard box lids work well also. Very cool temperatures with a light breeze help the onions keep longer. Try using a slow oscillating fan across the room.

There are basically two kinds of onions, mild or pungent. It is interesting to note that almost all of the varieties we like are the mild type, which means they are not the best for storing. These varieties include sweet Spanish, Bermuda and Vidalia onions. These need to be the first ones eaten. The mild onions are the largest and are best for onion rings or sliced for topping your sandwich.

The pungent onions are varieties that we are not as familiar with such as Candy, Copra, Red Weathersfield and Ebenezer. Frankly, I have not even seen these varieties offered at any garden shop, big box store or even from the suppliers. But these are the strongest smelling, longest storing (up to one year or more) onions that I do believe are offered for sale at the grocers.

I am definitely going to take a closer look the next time I am at the store and in a garden center other than my own to see if I can find these for sale.

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Doug Hackbarth

Doug's is the former owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer