Onions in the Trenches

Last year we tried this method of growing onions. We dug trenches where we planted the onions and as the plant grew taller and taller, we filled in the trenches. This caused the plant to continue growing which created a larger bulb. For us that meant a Normal sized onion.

It’s a little challenging if they start to grow outside their space which is what is currently happening. We should be covering them with more soil but small aisle ways between the rows won’t allow enough space. This is also causing the onions to flower. They stop growing when they flower. We will continue cutting off flowers and treating them as though they will continue to grow. Worst case scenario is we are just storing small onions in the ground until we can use them.

I burnt a lot of last year’s onions in the sun after harvest and previous years they didn’t grow to size. Crossing fingers we grow good onions for sale rather a loss for the 4th year in a row.

Fresh Red Onions

A new item we grew this year was red onions. We tried to grow onions 3 times with little success for selling quality. On the post earlier this year we shared the new way we were going to try and grow the onions for a bigger, juicier bulb. We dug trenches to lay the onion sets in and as the onion grew we added soil to keep the bulb covered at all times. The bulb grew bigger with the added soil. In the end this strategy worked! It was exciting to finally pull up onion bulbs the size you would see in the grocery store.

Unfortunately, we learned another new lesson! We did a lot of research on how to store onions and went through the process of pulling them up, laying them in the sun to dry the outer skin, and then hung them up. What we found out too late is that the variety of onion sets I chose were not STORING onions. They are considered FRESH onions. What that means is they do not store well and are sensitive to heat and bruising. End result is I overheated 30% of the onions, bruised another 20% and was left with 50% of the onions that would only last a couple weeks out of the ground.

This is what should have happened. After the onions reached the correct size we should have been pulling them to order like we do with other root vegetables. That is how we will do it next year. And we will because the onions we had over the month they stayed fresh tasted fantastic and we did sell out!

First Seeds in the Ground

Planting Onion Seed

The snow is gone! I finally starting planting in the evening after work. Here is my first row of seed, an heirloom Walla Walla Sweet Onion! I also seeded bunching and red onions as well. The bunching onions can be eaten whenever you want. The other two onions will need to grow through to next year to get of any size. I also planted spinach and collards. A good start for a couple hours of work!

Tomorrow will be peas, carrots and beets!