Putting Away the Onions and Garlic

After some long weeks of drying and curing, the onions and garlic have been cleaned up and put away.


The garlic, all hardneck varieties, was dug up and placed in baskets hanging from the basement ceiling to cure out of the sunlight. Normally a basement is a poor place to cure garlic, but we run dehumidifiers and with the sticky weather we were having for a while it was drier down there than a protected spot outdoors would have been.


The onions got the same treatment only they were placed on galvanized nursery trays and spent the first few weeks outside in a mostly shaded spot. See how nasty those leaves were from the fungal attack? I spoke with a plant disease expert at the urban horticulture field day at the University’s local agricultural research station last weekend. He said the black, horrible looking stuff was probably a secondary attack after the leaves had been infected with another fungus first, likely Botritis or Alternaria. The good news is that since the basal plates were intact and the bulbs themselves appear OK they should still store for a while at least. I’m keeping an especially close eye on a few that didn’t seem quite right, though.

All Cleaned Up

To clean the garlic up for storage I broke the hard wad of soil and roots off each bulb, trimmed off the roots and stem, and gently rubbed off any remaining soil and sometimes a layer of the outer papery skin. The onions got essentially the same treatment but since they have finer roots they didn’t have the soil wad to contend with.

The onions should keep us for a while. There are more smaller ones than usual this year. The garlic we have more than enough of even when I subtract out the ones for replanting in October. These two crops are among the most satisfying to grow and I’m hoping we don’t have to contend with a repeat performance of the fungal problem any time soon.


15 thoughts on “Putting Away the Onions and Garlic

    1. I put them in my backyard compost which is miles from my garden plot. The spores are probably endemic in the community garden but good hygiene is always a good idea,

  1. A Really Small Farm

    Very nasty looking fungus! I agree with you that the spores are probably endemic. Some years conditions are just too good for fungus growth.

    I had a decent garlic harvest and almost no bulb rot so I’m going to have plenty to re-plant. Also, I’m starting new bulbs from the tiny bulblets on some of the tops. Hoping to get a lot of new plants that way and maybe even virus free.

    I cut the roots off my garlic right after harvesting because they seem to absorb humidity and slow down drying.

    1. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of your garlic growing next season. I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep saving my own bulbs to “perfect” some landraces for our garden.

    1. I don’t know if it’s the clay in the soil or what, but when everything is totally dried the soil just rubs off the smooth skin. So satisfying to start revealing those satiny white bulbs.

  2. Pingback: Putting Away the Onions and Garlic | Shady Character | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

    1. We’ve got a nice little room in one corner of the basement that’s insulated on the inside walls to keep it cooler. It’s worked pretty well so far for storing onions and garlic along with all the canned stuff.

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