Kitchen Garden

August is for Onions

Four main onion varieties in 2021.

The onion harvest is in, sorted, cured and stored. There will be plenty of onions through winter and beyond.

The main lessons this year were to plant multiple varieties, keep them weeded and watered, and allow enough garden space to produce an abundance. The best results were from the starts purchased from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I started my own from seed on Jan. 20, yet that wasn’t early enough. The fruit produced was smaller than the ones from the seed supplier, which are pictured above.

Onions started from seed, Rossa di Milano and Calibri Yellow, were small yet usable. I peeled, sliced and froze the yellow ones. They will be used mostly for winter soup. The small red onions are first to use for fresh eating in tacos and salsa, and sliced on sandwiches. Even though they are small, the flavor is outstanding. Every onion grown will find a home.

For the second year I produced a row of shallots, started from seed. They came out great. Shallots are long keepers and popular as gifts. If anything, I’ll plan to grow more shallots in 2022 and already bought the seeds.

I selected varieties mostly for storage qualities. I have had good luck storing Patterson, Ailsa Craig and Redwing, so they are repeats this year. Sierra Blanca is an experiment in white onions. All four varieties met growing expectations.

A bowl of onions is the heart of a kitchen. Growing one’s own onions is even better. There are four crates of onions in storage so our household is ready for cooking in the coming months.