The Drying Of The Onions

Dateline: 17 August 2016

(click picture for a larger view)

Once picked, onions need to be cured for a period of time before they can be stored for the winter. Specifically, the necks need to be perfectly dry. This curing process can take a few weeks.

When I was a kid, my parents had a barn with large doors that opened up to a drive floor on the upper level.  There was a smaller door opposite of the big doors. So we could open all the doors and have a lot of sheltered ventilation. We layered the onions on old boards that were set up between chairs.

I dont have a barn or even a garage to shelter my onions while they cure. But I have a makeshift woodshed next to my house. It consists of a roof and open sides. Good enough. In Upland we do the best we can with what we have. :-)

In the picture above, you can see my onions laid out on the boards. They have lots of good air flow around them. The green tops will dry down and I'll trim them to an inch (or so) above the bulb before putting them in net bags and hanging them in the pantry off our kitchen.

9 comments:

  1. Good looking onions Herrick. My Copras are starting to fall over so it won't be long here either.

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    1. vdeal—
      Excellent. I can't remember where you are gardening. Obviously south of me?

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  2. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    Have residents of Upland ever tried braiding their onions? How'd that go(molding or staying firm)? Also, I've read that good storage of onions requires 45 degrees fahrenheit. We only have woodstove heat in winter, and I know folks in Upland do as well (your home, ha,ha!). Ours is too warm to meet the 45 degrees seeming requirement. Do yours fare well to the last onion, end of winter? Like your blog very much, Herrick.

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    1. Hello Elizabeth,

      Yes, I tried braiding many years ago, and didn't do a very good job of it. I should try again. Maybe there is a good YouTube tutorial I can learn from. Our pantry is over the cellarway and starting around this time of year, it gets and stays cooler than the rest of the house. Also, an upstairs bedroom stays fairly cool and we keep some onions up there. Our wood stove does not heat the upstairs of our house real well, so it's always cooler up there.

      In the late spring the onions will start to get soft and sprout. When that happens, Marlene dices and freezes them. The Copra's are very good keepers for us.

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  3. Just pulled all my Walla-wallas as they had all bent over for their winter nap. I have them on a table and boards in the woodshed till they're done, then in the cellar they go. Last year I had planted and used Copras all winter, but as spring arrived I still had about 18 left. So I took them and planted them in one of the raised beds, and lo and behold each one of them put out at least three flower stalks. They have set there all summer and three good sized onions have formed on those 18! I did this to save the seeds, so today put brown bags over their heads as they are about to shatter, tied them tight and bent them downward a little so the seeds stay in the bag. We will see what has happened in a week or two. After reading of your Kale adventures I went right down to the High Tunnel and planted four seeds spots and covered it with Agribon. Also went to the Haxnicks site and bought two of the tents same size as yours. I am the worst type of copycat!! Let's all thank Herrick's parents and God for delivering him unto us!!

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  4. Hi Everett,

    Thanks for the positive feedback! Very nice of you.

    Some of the things I try in my garden are experimental, like the "Plant and Pick" gardening system, with the bog sheet of plastic. And they don't always work out like I think they will. So keep that in mind with some of these ideas I get. :-)

    If you get a lot of Copra seeds, I'd love to have a couple dozen of them. Unfortunately, the Copra onions are hybrids. The seed might be sterile. Or, it will produce onions that are not Copra. I think it's worth giving them a try on a small scale.

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    1. The seeds won't produce true-to-type onions but you can select for your own variety. Clear Dawn is an OP variety bred from Copra. http://www.fedcoseeds.com/seeds/search?item=2474

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  5. Well Darn, I forgot all about them being hybrids! We shall see what we get next year! I will be glad to send you a bunch of seeds. These seed heads look like they are producing a bunch of seed but I have opened a few of them up to see if the little black or brown seeds were visible yet. So far I haven't seen a one of any color. SO now I am wondering if they are sterile, and I'm going to get nothing for all my fussing around. I'll let you know! Everett

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    1. If you get some seeds you should be able to try sprouting a few in a damp paper towel. If they sprout, they ought to grow some kind of onion. Live and learn.

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