How to Harvest Onions & Garlic

By , September 6, 2009
How to Harvest Onions & Garlic

The onions have finished curing, and are ready for storage in the fridge.

I love growing my own onions and garlic. They’re such easy crops, and they store really well in the fridge. During the summer, I’m always overwhelmed with produce that must be eaten NOW, so when I harvest these crops, I’m always grateful for their long storage capabilities!

Onion & Garlic Harvesting 101:

When the leaves (“tops”) have mostly died back (turned mostly brown…no longer green and growing…though there may still be some green in a few of the leaves), pull or dig the onions or garlic out of the garden. (Click here to find out exactly when to harvest your garlic.)

Thoroughly wash off any clinging soil.

Put your harvest into baskets in one layer — so that air can circulate around them — and leave them in a shed, garage, or on a covered porch for 2-3 weeks. Make sure neither water nor animals can get to them. After 2-3 weeks, cut off the dead leaves and inspect each onion for softness or mold. Expect to lose about 10-20% of your harvest to softness or mold. Transfer the rest into a bag in the fridge (or wherever you store your onions & garlic).

Harvest garlic & onions when tops have mostly turned brown

Harvest garlic & onions when tops have mostly turned brown. Put them into baskets in one layer (unlike the picture above!) and leave in a sheltered, outdoor place for 2-3 weeks to "cure."

2 Responses to “How to Harvest Onions & Garlic”

  1. mary says:

    We’ve grown onions the past two years and both times they never bulb up good. We use them more like spring onions, which is fine for what it is, but there is obviously something we aren’t doing right. What’s the trick to your beautiful onions?

  2. Lindsey says:

    Hi Mary!
    Gosh, I’m not sure I have a trick. I guess I have luck! One thing I’ve heard is that onions are heavy feeders, but I just fertilize them along with everything else. Though, I do make sure they get an extra-good soaking with the Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed emulsion that I use. Plus, just amending the soil each spring with compost and various organic soil enhancements does wonders for the garden (even more than just fertilizer). Also, I get day-neutral onions (I buy the onion sets…I don’t bother with actual seed), which means they should bulb up no matter which part of the country you live in (and therefore how much daylight you’re getting).

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