Harvesting And Storing Yellow Onion

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This is the first year I am growing yellow onion in my garden. Last week was time to harvest and store my yellow onion.


In Spring of 2013, I planted onion seeds in my garden. They didn’t grow so well, and at the end of the season I harvested little, baby onions. Basically, I had onion sets in my hands. I could have added them to a stew of some sort and used them as shallots but instead I decided to save them for this year’s Spring. At the beginning of April, I planted my sets, and last week harvested a bunch of beautiful onions.

I do very much want to figure out how to grow onions from seeds, since the seeds are much cheaper than sets, so I researched some more and discovered that some growers plant onion seeds in September (to remind you, I am in NC, zone 7b). The seeds germinate and grow few leaves, then stop growing in the Winter but don’t die. In the Spring when the temperatures start to warm up the onions start growing again. I think I’ll try this in the Fall. When do you plant your onions? From seeds or sets?


Last week was time to harvest the onions. It is very easy to figure out when to harvest onions….


As you can see, the tops fall to the ground….


They also start to yellow.


If  the soil is too hard around the onion, you can use a garden fork to loosen it a bit…


However, in most cases I could simply pull it out of the soil gently.

I used dry Fall leaves as mulch around my onions, and I have to confess that I did not weed this area once since I planted the onions. I would very much recommend that you collect as many dry leaves as you can this Fall. It is free, and will save you 70% of garden work if you use it around your plants next year.


I brushed the soil gently off of the onions…


And set them on the ground. Onions need to rest for three or four days before you cut the tops off. You can leave them outside as long as they are in a dry spot and not in full sun.

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After four days, I brought them inside and started cleaning by cutting off the top. As you can see in the picture above, there is a spot where the plant bends easily…

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I cut the leaves at that spot.

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Then I cut the roots as close to the onion as I can, and brushed it from dry soil taking care not to ruin the protective layer.

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I ended up with a nice harvest of onions. I read that you could wrap each onion in newspaper and store them in the refrigerator so they’ll last longer. I would love to do that, however, unfortunately, I don’t have enough room in my fridge for them. So I will just keep them in a cool area of my house, and hopefully they’ll last long enough.

I would love to hear about your experience with yellow onion. How and when do you plant? How do you store your onions? What verities you had success with?

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21 thoughts on “Harvesting And Storing Yellow Onion”

  1. ousteammece.science

    Hi Sarah So that your shallots will grow to full-size, harvest after the green stalks show brown at their tips. Then dig up the shallots and cure and store them in the exact manner described for onions. You might like to store some as Brad suggests in the comment below yours.

  2. if you take small batches of your onions, put them in small paper bags. You know, the lunch bag ones, punch some holes in the bags and just close the bags up. I store them like this in a dry cupboard in my kitchen. My harvest last summer/fall lasted a few months. None of my onions rotted.

  3. Home and Garden

    Those onions look great and fresh!
    Onion is one of my favorite ingredient in my fridge. Would love to try growing my own onions but at the moment I have only small balcony garden for herbs. Hope one day I could have a small garden where I can grow some of my favorite veggies πŸ˜€

  4. Perfect timing. My onions are ready to harvest. I too have done the onion sets. I’d love to go from seed but honestly that just intimidates me!

  5. These onions look delicious.I haven’t pulled mine either. I do sets but your seed idea is very cool. I am zone 7a or 7b.

    Thanks for sharing with GTT.


    Cottage Making Mommy

  6. Your onions look wonderful…. we are hoping to have many to save this year also… usually we use so many of the greens, but we are trying to let them get larger this year… so far, they look great. πŸ™‚

  7. We’ve always planted onion sets or starts – never seeds – but then, I never knew that they should be planted in the fall. Now I want to try it!

    The best way I’ve been told to store onions is in nylon. Put an onion in the toe of a pantyhose, tie a knot above it, put another onion in, tie another know, etc. then hang them where they’ll get plenty of airflow. When you need an onion, just cut the toe off, and work your way up.

    I’ve heard that they’ll store through the winter this way, but I’ve never grown enough to find out for myself. πŸ™‚

  8. I’ve been thinking about planting garlic and onions in my garden but have always been a little concerned about it. I can always tell when veggies above ground are ready but not so much below. Thanks to this article I feel a lot more confident. I think I’ll be planting some onions.

    1. Lori, look for my posts about garlic. It is not that hard and the best thing about garlic and onion is that they don’t have pests. If you mulch around them you won’t need to weed and water just a little bit if there is a dry stretch. So really, plant in Fall, harvest in the Summer. Easy. Come back to let me know if you got a nice harvest. Thanks for visiting.

  9. Hi Lee,

    Just wanted to tell you how interesting your blog is. Keep up the work when you can find time!
    You amaze me with having 3 little ones, a job, a husband and a garden. We all enjoyed our time with you Saturday. I felt this might be the beginning of a great friendship. Hope we can get together soon and let the kids play. You and David are a sweet couple and your kids are very adorable. Take care of yourself and don’t forget to make some “me time” for you.

    Debby Hopkins

    1. Thank you so much Debby! I am so happy you had a chance to stop by and take a look at the web site. We had a great time yesterday. YOU are the amazing one here, for all that you do. Hope we can meet again soon.

  10. My grandmother in Tennessee used to step of the tops of her onions and fold them over on the ground, but I don’t know why.

    I enjoy your stories. Thank you.

    1. Anna, just confirmed what I thought… The stepping on the tops of the onions speeds up their drying and maturing. However, I didn’t see the need to step on them, they just fell by themselves.

      1. Thanks! I always wondered why she did that.

        Both my grandmothers could pick wild greens in their yards to cook. And they could kill a chicken and have fried chicken for the noon meal. They were hard workers.

        Appreciate the responses
        Anna and Lee!

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