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The cooler days of late Fall are perfect for digging up the root crops you grew in this years garden. Potatoes, onions, carrots and other root crops are all ready to be harvested.
After they are harvested, potatoes and carrots can go right into storage, provided they are dry. Onions need to be cured first. Here’s how to store onions so you can use them all winter long.
We usually grow at least two long rows on red and yellow onions. This gives us enough usually to last well into late winter, maybe even a bit later. I wait to harvest our onions until the tops have fallen over and then have started to yellow.
If you like you can knock over the stems a week or two before you are ready to harvest. This will help them begin to dry so they can be pulled and cured.
I had already pulled the row of red onions when I took this picture. You can see how the tops have fallen over on the onions still in the ground.
You can also see Chickweed in the foreground. This stuff really got out of hand for a year throughout the whole garden. We spent a lot of hours pulling Chickweed to try to get rid of it.
Look at those huge onions! Graham will love having these to eat over the winter. We should end up with a couple sacks full ready to be stored away.
I grow all our onions from sets instead of from seed. Onions grown from seed take a much longer time to grow to maturity; here’s what we do to grow onions here in the Cariboo.
There are a few ways to cure onions so they will last over the winter. You can braid them so they hang together. Lay them out on newspaper or spread them out on racks.
You can tie 10 or so together with rope and hang them in an area where they are out of the sun and weather. If you can find a spot where the breeze can get at them, all the better.
However you choose to cure them, put them in a cool, dry place. Leave them alone for a couple of weeks, even three. Check on them during that time, rotating them is a good idea.
Try and brush the garden dirt off of them. Don’t worry if there is still a bit left on there; as the onions dry, the dirt will fall off. You can give them a final brushing or wipe them off with a dry cloth before putting them into storage.
Large red onions curing on newspaper. I leave room between them so they cure faster. The onions will pull whatever moisture they can from the green leaves. As the leaves start to dry, they turn yellow.
Small onions and bigger onions set to cure on newspapers. After a couple of weeks, the tops will have dried and the onions should be cured and ready to be stored.
At that point, I will cut off the tops. I like to put my onions into mesh bags and I save any from the grocery store (the bags that oranges come in). Don’t store your onions with your other winter stored vegetables, because they will pick up the odor of the onions.
I keep my onions and garlic in one room downstairs and all the other veggies (potatoes, carrots, etc.) go into the cold room.
Squash is another vegetable that should be stored separately, it likes a warmer temperature than most cold rooms provide. In general, we eat our garden potatoes, carrots and garlic until at least March.
Grocery store prices skyrocket in the winter time, especially for fruits and vegetables, so start looking into building a cold room or root cellar of your own. It will save you money and the food you grow is healthier for you.
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