When the onion foliage bends over and turns yellowy, it is almost time to harvest onions. Leave them for two weeks, and then pull them on a dry day.
The skin of the onion will turn shiny as it ripens, then it will be fit to store.
If the weather is set fair the onions can be left outside to dry and ripen:
- on top of the soil or
- lifted up so that the air can circulate round them, such as tied to the washing line or sat on netting
If it is a damp time, it is safer to move the onions under cover, where they can be hung up in an airy, dry place.
Onions can be stored in a cool shed or garage. The conditions necessary for onion storage are:
- good air circulation
- cool temperature
- dry air
Store onions in:
- open trays
- hessian sacks
- plaits – using their foliage to make the plaits, then hang the onion ropes up
Onions with thick, fleshy necks will not keep & should be eaten first and not stored.
If onions are not completely dry when they are put into storage there is a risk that they will develop neck rot. This is when a fungus starts to develop around the neck area and gradually rots the onion from the neck down. Onions must be checked for Neck Rot (latin name – Botrytis allii, B. squamosa and B. cinerea) regularly in storage, & removed, because the rotting onions will destroy other onion bulbs in storage.
White onion varieties are more susceptible to neck rot, but red and yellow varieties may suffer. Garlic, shallots, chives, and leeks are also affected by neck rot.
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