Harvesting overwintered onions

I’m about to head to the plot to see whether there are overwintered onions ready to harvest.
Onions have a variety of habits: some are planted in the winter, do nothing (apparently) for months and months, and then shoot into growth in spring. Others are planted in spring, and others still are sown as seed in the winter and sit in the ground through the cold months, before appearing in spring. It can be very confusing.
Basically, the little sets that you plant in the autumn are overwintering onions, also called Japanese onions. They put down roots through the winter, which is when they appear to be in suspended animation, but they are working away underground.
They will be ready to harvest any time from mid May onwards, and you should take any that start to flower first, as they won’t keep. In any case, overwintering onions don’t store well because they don’t get that papery brown outer layer that holds in the inner moisture. You need to plant spring sets to get storing onions. Overwintering onions also have thicker necks, which don’t dry, so the crop will tend to rot if left too long, either in the ground or in storage. They are immensely useful to grow in the period before storing onions are ready, and we have both reds and whites, as we like their mild, juicy nature.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2 Comments:

Blogger Credit crunch chick said...

Are you supposed to see the onions pushing out of the earth in proper onion shape? Mine overwintered and have thick necks but no sign of bulb. Perhaps I planted them too deep?

May 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Sounds like you may have planted too deep. Dig one up and have a look . . .

May 29, 2012 at 9:23 AM  

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