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Can you leave onions in the ground over winter? Well, that entirely depends on your purpose. Read on to find the answer!

The onion is a key ingredient in a wide range of gourmet dishes. For those of you who grew your own this summer, you may want to save some for later use.

Onion Harvesting

As soon as an onion reaches a usable size, it can be harvested. When the leaves begin either to turn brown at the edges or flop over, you know it’s time to start harvesting for storage.

After a week like this, use a fork to delicately remove them from the ground. Allow the bulbs to dry for a further week in the sun, either on the soil’s surface or on a wire rack for improved ventilation.

It is preferable to dry them in a well-ventilated greenhouse or tunnel if the weather is damp. Onions should always be handled with care to avoid injury.

What Happens to Onions When Left in the Ground During Winter?

When onions aren’t harvested and left in the ground during the winter, one of three things can happen. A lot of them will die, some will start to grow again in the spring, and some will start to break apart into garlic-like sets that can be sown and used to grow scallions in the spring.

If you want to grow entire onion bulbs, do not use overwintered onion sets, which are fantastic for scallions, but they quickly bloom. All of an onion plant’s energy goes towards generating the flower, rather than strengthening its root system and producing bulbs when it blooms.

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Start with seedlings if you wish to grow full-sized onion bulbs, and when thinning, give each plant enough room to develop bulbs without intruding on its neighbor’s space.

Leaving a few onions in the ground at the end of the growing season is a smart idea if you enjoy producing scallions. Otherwise, you should harvest your onions when they’ve reached their full maturity.

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