06 September 2010

The Great Onion Harvest

31st May 2010
Ooooh, not sure whether to show you my onions or beans today.... onions I think as I harvested them all last week.....

Back in March I picked up a packet of Setton onion sets (small bulbs) from Heatons in Carlow.  I was a tad unsure about them as I usually buy my seeds/bulbs etc online or from garden centres.  However, on a whim I paid my €2.00, brought them home and planted them.

June 2010
Onions like to be kept as weed free as possible and they are last in my four year crop rotation, so were planted in the bed that last year housed the brassicas.  This is because the soil can build up eelworms (and other pests/diseases) if onions are grown in the same patch year after year. I didn't manure the bed as I'd added a couple of barrow fulls before planting the broccoli.

So after what seemed like a slow start, they grew and the grew and they grew until the grew so much that I stopped them!

16 August 2010
You can tell when onions are ready to harvest as their tops start to die down and bend over. 

Although we've been using them fresh from the ground they were getting really big so I used a garden fork to ease them gently from where they'd rooted and then left them for a couple of weeks for the foliage to die down (almost naturally) before lifting them fully and drying them out (first in the garden and then moved into the polytunnel once the weather turned wetter.

 (Note: avoid bending the tops over to stop them growing as it increases the risk of rotting when they're in storage.)

29th August 2010 - Onions drying in the sun once they'd been lifted

Once they're fully dried out (the skins will feel like paper), I'll hang them in bunches in the shed. I'm not great at plaiting onions (garlic's easier as it's smaller) but a similar effect can be achieved by wrapping them around string.  If you missed my Facebook link, here's a great video on Garlic Braiding.

Last year we started to lose a few onions through rotting but managed to save them by trimming off all the bad bits then throwing the rest into a food processor, chopping them up and bagging them into meal sized bags and freezing them.  This turned out to be a great time saver as they could be placed straight into the saute pan from frozen!


  1. Very nice onions, I will have to try freezing any of our bad ones as you suggested.

  2. Thanks Mr H. They taste great too. Wish I'd planted more now as it's amazing how quickly they're used up..... will remember next year.

  3. I think I might do what you suggest re chopping them and freezing them this year as I found it hard to get them dry enough last year and quite a few rotted then. need a sun room or poly tunnel for that I think :) Going to pull them now in a day or two


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