It is always rewarding, and in our opinion better tasting, when you grow food yourself on your own land. You know where it came from, what you put in to it, and each step in between.
“Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
1 Cor. 3:8
Getting Your Onion Sets
You should be able to find onion sets at most local farm stores. You will usually find yellows, reds, and white. In our experience, the reds (AKA purple) store the worst, yellows the best, and whites in the middle. We usually plant three of the bags that the farm store has. We have a good time each year playing ‘How many are in the bag’ as a family!
Early Spring is the time to plant your onions. We prefer to plant our onions on little hills. We found that planting them in little ditches makes them hold the moisture in. In our experience, this causes the onions to rot and not store well.
So, with a hoe, make small hills, about 6 inches tall. Once you have finished, push your onions one by one into the top of the hill, leaving only the stem sticking out of the ground. You want to place them about 4 inches apart from each other, so they have room to get good sized.
Nourishing the Plants
We like to put grass clippings (from the yard, not hay necessarily) in between our onion rows. We add another layer every couple of weeks. This helps to add nitrogen to the soil for the onions, as well as keeping in the right amount of moisture for the onions as they grow. This is very important when the heat of summer comes. The grass clippings also help a lot in keeping the weeds down in the onion patch. If you start to see buds come onto the tops of your onions, clip them off if you do not want them to go to seed. If they go to seed, the onion itself will not be good for eating. But if you want to keep seed, you can let a few go ‘bolt’ and there will be seeds for you at harvest time.
When the tops of your onions bend over (die), it is time to harvest! The onions will not continue to grow after this happens.
To harvest your onions, all you have to do is pull them out of the ground and lay them out to dry. The below idea will help them to dry out as fast as possible. Make sure you have them under a roof, out of the weather. You don’t want them to have any moisture in them when you store them, or they will rot, regardless of the color.
If you decide to lay them on a flat table, you will need to be flipping them every few days so they will continue to dry and not just send the moisture deeper into the onion.
Pulling your onions and seeing how much they have grown is a VERY rewarding time, and it is a great time to Praise Yehovah for your blessings and give him thanks!
Storing your Onions
When most of the tops of your onions are brown and there is no moisture left in it (rather than being bendy, the tops will be brittle) it is time to store them.
We like to braid our onions, the same way we do with our garlic. See below, and also our Garlic post.
When you have finished braiding your onions tops, hang them in a cool, dark, dry place.