OK, so I always expect a few epic fails when I plant the garden. But this time, it was kind of a double whammy. Or a cent-a-whammy. Or whatever you call it when you end up with about a hundred healthy, happy onion plants that arenâ€™t bulbing. Instead, theyâ€™re bolting and putting out flowers.
Either there are several huge vats of French onion soup in my near future, or I am going to be the proud owner of a big pile of soggy onions. All the info I found online about storing onions only addresses those neat, round bulbs like the good onion farmers seem to be able to get without even thinking about it.
Hereâ€™s where I blew it six ways to Sunday:
- I probably planted them too close together and didnâ€™t thin enough. I did pull a lot, and used the early spring onions in salads and soups, but apparently, I wasnâ€™t aggressive enough.
- I didnâ€™t pay attention to the type of onion sets I bought. There are short-day varieties that should be planted in the fall (thatâ€™s when I planted) and long-day/intermediate-day varieties that should be planted in the spring. Seems thereâ€™s an invisible line that divides the short- and long-day planting areas, running horizontally through San Francisco. North of the invisible line, use long day; south of it, use short day. Near it, try an intermediate variety. If youâ€™re right on the line, make sure to stop by North Beach for a cappuccino.
- I may have planted them too deep. Several interwebbers report that they just push the onion sets about halfway down into the dirt, so all that pesky soil doesnâ€™t interfere with the bulbing process.
- The weather this winter went from warm to cold and back to warm about 40 dozen times. This may have messed with the onionsâ€™ internal clocks. I canâ€™t really take the blame for this one, but it definitely could be a factor.
- I planted much too late for a fall planting. I should have done it before October, but the warm fall fooled me, and I didnâ€™t get my fall planting mindset on until November.
- I planted waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many onions. Seriously. I had visions of storing them in the basement, and never buying store onions again, but the combination of issues 1 to 5, above, really made this a bad idea. Note to self: do your onion research before taking up half your fall garden space with the wrong kind of onions.
What the heck am I gonna do with these? Iâ€™ll try to cure as many as I can, but it seems a dim, faint hope that they will tighten up enough for months of storage. Looks like my future holds a lot of chutneys and caramelization and onion gratin, oh my! French onion soup, anyone?