Onions and the High Tunnel

onion plants planted outdoors in raised beds to the right, in the high tunnel to the left.

For the most part, I learn by doing. I read enough to get an idea and then take off. The high tunnel has taught me a lot this year and onions might be one of the more interesting lessons. The “Bridger” onions from Johnny’s Seeds we’re seeded last fall. They sprouted and grew to the size of regular green onions from the store. They hibernates the worst of winter away and then took off in late February. I pulled a few here and there in May harvested them in early June when they announced they were finished growing. Onions announce their harvest date by letting their tops fall over. When the greens are on the ground, they are done growing.

In earliest April, I planted onion plants in the high tunnel and also in the raised beds outdoors. To my surprise, the onions planted outdoors have done much, much better than their high tunnel counterparts. I can only attribute this to temperature. The onions outdoors have had a wet and mostly cool spring and the high tunnel onions have been warmer. The lesson I will keep is to seed storage and bunching onions in fall in the high tunnel for spring harvest and plant onion plants in the main garden in spring for summer harvest.

Onions are actually harvestable at any stage. Although they are not done growing, I pulled some avocado sized red and white candy onions from the outdoor raised beds to quarter and cook on the grill tonight along with a whole chicken and the first of the zucchini (from the high tunnel). They were delicious and a special favorite of Lily.

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