Catalogues & More on Onions

January 20, 2013

Credit: Celeste Longacre
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Seed catalogue companies mostly send out their magazines in December. This is the period when most gardeners have the time to sit and look through the colorful pages.

Much information is given about varieties, how to plant and space, "keeping" properties and sizes of harvest. I have found that these helpful hints are fairly accurate and I tend to return to these catalogues when I have questions.

Seed Catalogues

I get catalogues from many sources including: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Seeds of Change, Fedco, Territorial Seed Company, Pinetree Garden Seeds & Accessories, John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, Totally Tomatoes, R.H. Schumway’s, Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, Burgess Seed & Plant Co., Maine Potato Lady, and Vermont Bean Seed Company. It’s quite nice to have so many options as many varieties can only be found in a few catalogues. Prices also vary widely. I believe that most of these sources could be found through internet searches.

Planting Onions

This year, I will be planting my onions on Feb. 2nd or 3rd. These two days (as well as March 1st –after 12:33 PM EST, the 2nd and the 3rd –before 4:11 PM EST) are the best astrologically. The Moon is waning and in the very fertile sign of Scorpio. I love the variety, Copra, as they are very good keepers. You can refer to my former blog to see how to plant onions inside.

I always harvest my onions the second week of August. By this time, the greens are falling down and most of their energy has gone into the bulb. Here is a picture when they are almost ready...

 

I carefully lay them down on sheets in the Sun giving all of them space enough for the light to shine on them. They will need to be “sunned” for 7 sunny days before they are ready to hang in the pantry. These onions are just about ready.

Every night, I put them into baskets and take them into the house. This prevents the dew from getting them wet. As I put them into the baskets, I gently pull on the greens (if they still have them) until they all look like the onions in the store.

Once they are ready for storage, I sort through them, removing any damaged ones, “paper”-less ones or ones that I have dropped. These go into the kitchen for immediate use. The rest last all winter long and into the spring (they usually start to sprout sometime in May). If any sprout sooner, remove them from the bag right away. Otherwise, they can cause spoilage of the onions around them.

For southern gardeners, it will soon be time to start your plants inside or out. Check with your local extension service or garden centers for exact dates. Again, for February, the best days for planting below-ground crops are the 2nd & 3rd. The best days for planting above-ground crops are 11th, 12th, 20th, 21st & 22nd (before 5:12 PM EST). Happy planting!

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Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens.

Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer! A personally autographed copy of her book, Love Signs, is available in the Almanac.com General Store. You can also find an ebook version on Amazon.com for $2.99.

Celeste is currently writing a new book on how to live lightly on the Earth. It is due out sometime this spring.

 

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Comments

great article, will try the

By lu ann watson

great article, will try the preserving measures, thanks

Celeste, I get lots of onions

By Andy Fox

Celeste, I get lots of onions from my CSA. But they never seem to last. They get soft or rot or grow those green things. How do you store your onions so that they last all winter? Can you give me some tips? Thank you. Your pictures are amazing.

Hi Andy, To get onions that

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Andy,
To get onions that will keep a long time, you need to plant varieties that are known for their "keeping" qualities. Copra, I have found, is the best. However, I'm sure there are some others that are good as well. Then, you have to "sun" them for seven sunny days. I bring them in at night so the dew won't get them wet. I put them out on sheets during the day. For my area (New Hampshire), I start this the second week of August.
Thanks for your great compliment on my photos!

great harvest! One of our

By Dia

great harvest! One of our staple dishes is onion soup and the site of those baskets makes me drool! Do you make onion rings for the freezer or dehydrate any for cooking? Just asking.

yes, Dia, I do dehydrate some

By Celeste Longacre

yes, Dia,
I do dehydrate some onions. Mostly I use them for onion dip. I also make onion soup. I fry onions in butter, then add the stock (my Mom used to say that true French onion soup was made with turkey stock). It is also best if made the night before...
Eat the next day for best results.

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