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Final Onion Sort

October 12, 2014

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The fall rains have begun (my definition of scant seems to be different than that of the weather folks, it started raining Friday night and quit this am, that is not scant showers) and I need to now get dry storage type of things sorted, and moved to dry storage.  We also need to start moving equipment into the barn for winter.  So that means onions on the floor of the barn are a no-no.

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It seems like yesterday when I snapped this photo, but it was June, now we’re at mid-October and the summer garden is but a memory.

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At harvest we did an initial sort, for keeping onions you want dry skins and thin, dry necks.  Any onions with thick, green necks go in the “use first” pile.  If possible I like to let the onions cure as long as possible, so I can check for culls before I commit the final sort to bags for storage.  One bad onion won’t spoil the whole bag, but it makes a mess, so we look them over very carefully for any soft spots or oddities.

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We sort by size and weigh by variety.  Above you see Stuttgarter from sets on the left, and Copra F1 from plants on the right.  This year Stuttgarter was the most uniform, with very few small bulbs, whereas Copra was all over the map in size, at least half of the Copras were smallish.  Both will easily keep until June.

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Now the bagging begins.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa G. permalink
    October 12, 2014 1:56 pm

    Aren’t they beautiful!

  2. Stumplifter (Andrea) permalink
    October 12, 2014 4:00 pm

    Damn I love onions. Mine were a bust this year- in too late. Thankfully we have a local grower, Tipi Farm, who keeps us in sweets until November. Nothing like onions on the stove to get the saliva flowing- sorry if that got too gross, but at least in my mouth- true.

    • Lisa G. permalink
      October 12, 2014 6:14 pm

      Oh, I agree! More than once, the aroma of cooking onions has perked me right up from feeling kind of draggy.

  3. Eric fritch permalink
    October 12, 2014 6:05 pm

    Growing up in Washington, we also had an International 444 tractor. I spent many hours on it doing custom hay work to help work my way through college. Go Cougs! 🙂

  4. October 12, 2014 8:04 pm

    Definitely with you on the end of summer here. We have already had frosts, but those that can endure a light frost have rallied but I don’t think it will be for long, another week maybe then more frosts. What equipment needs to be in the barn is already there and we use the greenhouse for curing, but that was a few weeks ago. Hubby strung our onions up on sticks, but I can see that would be too much work for you with all those onions. Our onions were patchy this year, as was everything else. Anything that germinated or put out shoots early either took off or were hammered by a late frost or the dry spring. Not a good start for any plants. Once July got under way then things began to take off, but a bit late for some stuff.

  5. October 12, 2014 9:14 pm

    Out of curiosity, how many pounds of storage onions do you typically grow in a season?

    • October 13, 2014 4:45 am

      I need at least 100# to get us through, the final weight was 148# so I think we’re good with some leftover. I still have some sweet onions in the garden and leeks to pinch hit with it I have to. I never weigh the sweet onions but we use lot with tomato canning and summer meals.

  6. Ben permalink
    October 13, 2014 8:58 am

    I grow cortland and ny early. The cortland seems to get bigger, so better yields. They both store well, cortland a bit better. When I tried the multi-block thing, they were all over the map on size, now I give them 4″ in the row and they are fairly consistent. I irrigate though. Size is funny though, folks at the market get kinda scared if they are too big and cost a lot, even though its priced per pound. If I wanted bigger I may go to 6″ spacing. Did that with the leeks this year and got better sized plants.

    • October 13, 2014 10:00 am

      I like the big ones, I think my size issue with Copra was my soil, they ended up in a symphylan area and those stayed smallish, I haven’t noticed any size difference in the clumps though, they stay pretty consistent. I watered these inconsistently, maybe 4 times the whole season. I’m ashamed I haven’t even really looked at my leeks 😦

      • Ben permalink
        October 13, 2014 10:36 am

        In the past I’ve had lame leeks, but this year I gave them a bit more space and they really sized up nicely!

  7. October 17, 2014 10:04 am

    I bet those onions last a lot longer in storage than the ones I get at the store. They are so beat up! And they mold fast. I have not tried growing my own yet, but I have some multiplier onions to plant soon. I’d really like to grow some yellow sweets, though. How and where do you store yours, and how long do they last?

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