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How to store your onions over winter and other tips


Having dried off our onions last month we needed to create a way of storing them. I personally favour plaiting them rather than hanging up in a net or old stocking. Plaiting allows the air to circulate around the onions and means you can simply cut one of the plait without disturbing the rest… So here is a visual 101 of how to plait (braid) your onions.

Sit yourself down at a table, preferably outside as this is a messy job. Lay out three onions as above.

Start to plait or braid the onions together

Each time you fold one onion stem over another add another onion to the plait

Keep plaiting until you have a goodly length of onion skein, by this time it will be rather heavy and you will have bits of onion skin and stalk on the floor.

Once you have plaited the stems together tie off with string or binder twine and hang up somewhere cool and dry to use over winter.

Finally some tips for what to be doing when in your vegetable garden!

Harvest all your main crop potatoes for storage on a root-harvesting day; the best days to harvest are 22 – 23 October. No potatoes should be left in the ground by the end of October.

Plant rhubarb crowns on a leaf day, 20 – 21 October are ideal days for doing this.

If you have a compost heap with a high internal temperature turn on 7 – 9 or 27 – 28 (am). The best day for turning is 8 October. However if you have a slower acting compost heap turn on 14 – 15 (am).

Dig over your ground and surface spread manure when the moon is descending 17 – 25 and 27 – 29 the best day to do this is the 18th. Leave the soil roughly dug in large clumps and the worms will break these up as they get the manure. The freezing and thawing of water in the soil will cause the soil to break up finely so becoming easier to handle in the spring.

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Good size healthy onions. Moon grower you impress me very much when I see you growing successfully so many vegetables in the north of Scotland. So it is not after all only grass and sheep.

7 Oct, 2011


Goodness no a lot of the vegetables eaten in the UK come from Scotland, never mind the Perthshire and Tayside raspberries and strawberries. Then there is the beef which is, in my opinion second to none!

I think this was the best crop of onions we've ever had!

7 Oct, 2011


Thanks for the inf on Rhubarb crowns. I have tried a few over the past years but they've all died. I'm going to try again on the dates mentioned. Do you think they would survive in a big tub for the winter ? I've got a place in the ground but I'll have to move what's there first, and I would rather wait till the spring to do it.

I always used to do onions like that, when there were more people to feed. I don't grow so many now.

7 Oct, 2011


Grass and sheep ! :D lol Costas :D

7 Oct, 2011


Fascinating to see the plaiting for storage ..

... sensible to be able to cut one off the plait without disturbing the others ...

7 Oct, 2011


Hywel you be better waiting until spring to buy and plant your rhubarb crown, they really don't like being move around. Remember to add lots of good compost and organic matter to the soil before you plant as this has to last the ma while and mulch in the autumn.

Terra the plaiting is very easy to do especially if you have long stalks on the onions... can be a challenge weaving in the short ones :-)

7 Oct, 2011


They remind me of our shed in winter when i was a child and who remembers the Onion Johnny who seemed to cycle all over the country carrying strings of onions which did not cost a lot. You got me wondering what happened to the OJ's and there is a very interesting history of them on this link

There is an annual Onion Festival in Roscoff in Brittany every summer.

7 Oct, 2011


I certainly do!

7 Oct, 2011


Sorry Moon grower. If you don't visit a place you rely on exaggerated stories from other people. I know a lot about Scottish history and geography but not enough about Scottish agriculture. Of course I heard of the famous Scottish beef, salmon and whiskey, although none is in my diet. What I said about grass and sheep may only apply to the Shetland islands. Unless I am wrong again.

7 Oct, 2011


reminds me of the onion seller from bretton. they used to come over every Oct/Nov selling their onions. My mum would buy at least a dozen and store them in the outplace.
happy memories mg.

7 Oct, 2011


Hi Costas so far as the Shetland Islands you've about got it spot on, though folk do grow their own vegetables up there there are none grown commercially that I know of - apart from neeps for the sheep.

Thanks SBG, I'm really chuffed with our onion crop this year - they are just about all really good size onions.

7 Oct, 2011


Thank you :o) I'll wait then ...

7 Oct, 2011


Excellent Moongrower. My Dad taught me a similar technique to string onions up. Do you grow your onions from sets or seed? I'm getting some well rotted horse manure to try but I'm worried it will bring weeds to tne plot.

7 Oct, 2011


We grow from sets... to cold to start from seed. Be extremely careful of bringing in any horse manure well rotted or not. There is a new chemical weedkiller, which I think has now been banned, can't remember the name but it is used on pasture horses are going to eat or produce hay/haylage for. This herbicide kills to weeds which are toxic to horses but remains in the rest of the vegetation and passes through the horse in its dung - result if you use the dung on your land composted or not it will kill or distort your plants and results in poor or no existent veggie crops... Damn my poor shot term memory Bamboo has named this at least twice!

7 Oct, 2011


I know ragwort is poisonous to animals. A friend of mine had a horse that died because of eating it. Apparently they think it was in the hay they gave the horse.
But I don't think animals will eat 'fresh' ragwort when it's growing, so why kill it off, and ruin the horse manure in the process ??

8 Oct, 2011


Anyway I've just thought of something else - If the chemical in question only kills plants that are toxic to horses, why would it affect your vegetables when you use horse manure ?
And it obviously doesn't harm the horses when they eat the grass etc, so it wouldn't affect us when we eat the vegetables

8 Oct, 2011


thanks Moongrower. The lady works at the garden centre who has the horse muck so you would think she would be aware of the damage the chemical can cause to plants but I will ask the question before I have any, thanks again.

8 Oct, 2011


You are right Hywel, horses wont eat ragwort when it is fresh growing in the field, though good practice suggested that it should be removed. However, they will eat it in their feed hence this new herbicide.

This herbicide called aminopyralid does not break down in the horses gut passing through in the dung and continues to act as a herbicide. Whilst it is used on land where hay/haylage is made for horses it affects other types of vegetation.

Right I've tracked down the Allotment Growing Diary Plus website again and here is all the info
He seems to think it can also be the straw mixed in with the dung that is a problem. Either way the problem exists.

This is the info and advice Horse & Hound gave out

8 Oct, 2011

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