Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Harvesting and Storing Onions

Saturday, June 16, 2012

If there's one good thing about this warm, dry weather we've been having, it's that it's perfect for onions.  I've been hovering over mine for about two weeks now waiting for the majority of their stalks to fall over.  They reached a pretty respectable 2 feet tall, despite my moaning all spring that I am a terrible onion farmer.  I was really afraid that I had planted them too deep or that I had left them in the ground too long.  And, of course, there were the naughty onions that tried to flower.  But other than fretting over them, I haven't done anything to them other than throw some straw around them when I planted them on January 30th. 

That's almost 6 months of waiting, so onion farmers must be some really patient people.

Harvesting Onions

The big question I needed to answer as a first-time onion grower was "how do you know when your onions are ready to harvest?"  Here's what I found from extensive research.

You can actually harvest bulb onions at any time, as the green stalks are edible and great in salads.  But, if you are growing onions for storage, the rule of thumb for pulling up the bulbs is to wait until the majority of the stalks have fallen over and the ground is dry. 

No need for digging...just grasp the onion plant by the thick stem and pull.  They come up rather easily, as onions are shallow growers.  I only had one monster onion that gave me a little grief and I had to use the hand spade.

Preparing Onions for Storage

Once they're pulled, move them to a location that is out of direct sunlight (like your porch) and place them on a screen (like an old screen door laid flat) so that air can circulate around them and dry them out completely.  Some folks swear by leaving them out in the sunlight for a couple of days, but just be aware that white onions will discolor if you do this.  I'm moving mine onto the front porch.

As the onions dry, any soil remaining on them will also dry and fall off.  Brush off any remaining dirt to encourage the drying process.  When they are dry and flaky like the ones you buy in the grocery store, put them in a mesh bag and hang them in a cool, dry place.  They'll store for about 6 months if you follow these simple steps.

TIP:.  If you're like me and don't have any mesh bags, old panty hose are perfect for storing onions.  Just put one in, tie a knot in the hose, and repeat for each onion.  As you use the onions, just untie the knots or use scissors to snip the hose and free the onions starting at the bottom.
I'm pretty  happy with my first onion harvest.  A couple of them were about 2.5" in diameter and I had one set of sisters (2 onions that grew together), but the majority of them were pretty large at about 4 inches.  These are insanely easy to grow and can even be grown in containers, so I encourage you to give onions a try in your own garden.

It's gardening and canning seasons, everybody!  You can get some great ideas on the Garden Life, Farmgirl FridayOle Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Carnival of Home Preserving blog hops. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Clint! I was just reading your post about buttercrunch lettuce, which I'm also growing for the first time this year. Yummy, isn't it? But mine has bolted because of the warm weather and I am just letting it seed out so that I can try again in the fall. Hope you have a great Sunday!

  2. Your onions are beautiful! Thanks for this post because I had always heard to dry them in the sun and I agree with you I think the quality suffers a little from that but air drying sounds just like the thing! Thanks for linking up to The Ole' Saturday Homesteading Trading Post this week too!

  3. Did you really mean "rinse" and repeat? Rinse them after drying them out????

    1. Oh! I didn't think about how confusing that might sound. Thanks for pointing that out. You want to keep those onions dry as the Sahara! :-)

  4. This is how I store my onions too.

    Great post and thanks for linking it up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

  5. Glad to see you again, Laura! And thanks for hosting the hop. I hope you have a great 4th!


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