So once more I planted, I weeded, I watered (some), and I harvested. Two bags of onion sets went into the ground. One yellow Spanish, one white onion. And they grew, albeit slowly due to a dry spring.
They were smaller than usual by harvest time, but I had planted more than necessary, so I figured we should still have enough for our family of 7. Late summer rains made up for lack of spring rains, and the onions got too wet.
At last I finally made the time to go, pull them out, and spread them out on a makeshift table in an old ‘airy’ shed. Then forgot about them for a couple weeks.
Finally I realized winter was fast approaching, so I went to properly store them. Well, guess what? Approximately half of my onions were rotting! Disappointed, I nevertheless saved what I could and took them in. There weren’t a whole lot left, and I knew I would use them up fast enough.
But they continued to rot. Each time I went into our furnace room, a couple more were soft. This wasn’t a new problem. Fall 2019 seemed especially bad, but I always have a bunch of onions I end up throwing away. What am I doing wrong?
So I googled and researched. And talked to a neighbour lady. So now I am armed with some tips and suggestions for next year. So if you’re struggling with the same thing, let me share. And I’ll let you know if these things worked for me.
Tips on Preventing Onion Rot in the Great North.
1. Make a raised bed, before planting.
This should help with water drainage. Your onions need moisture, but not too much.
2. Plant in a different location.
Bacterial Soft Rot can infect the plants when it gets too wet, and once it’s in the soil, it’s hard to eliminate.
3. Water more diligently.
Especially at the beginning. Onions like water at the beginning of the growing season.
4. Harvest at the end of July, before August rains.
This is way earlier then what I usually do, and might be a big part of my problem. I usually wait ‘til September… We live in zone 2, so our growing season is short. However, smaller onions are better then none at all!
I’m concerned that they won’t have grown much by then, but maybe if I water diligently, they will be big.
5. Dry in the sun 1-2 days, but don’t let them get rained on.
Then move them to a dry shaded, sheltered area, for 7-14 days. After this you cut off the dried tops, then store them in boxes, in a warm, dry location. I usually store mine in our furnace room.
We’ll see what next year will bring. If you know of any tips on growing onions, please share. I’m always willing to learn.