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When to pick bunching onions?

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When to pick bunching onions?

Post  Guest on 3/17/2010, 5:38 pm

I planted a six pack of what were labled bunching onions sometime in the fall (need to improve my record keeping this year). Today I dug down a few inches by one of them and can see no bulb, and my impression was that they were going to be like scallions. But these are now HUGE at 2' tall and 3/4"-1 1/2" around at the base and lots of plump hollow rounded stems coming up from each one. Also, each plant sent up a flower stalk and they all have a 2 1/2" flower that just opened this week. I've been doing a bit of research (sure do miss the wealth of old info from this site) and all I've come up with is to cut the flower stalk off as soon as you see them; and the web and friends have said to pull them up when the tops fall over and wilt. But when will that be? I thought they might be leeks so looked at pictures on Google Images and they're definately not. I'm ready to start spring planting and had planned on using the space where they are. I'm in coastal So. Calif. Any suggestions?
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Re: When to pick bunching onions?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/17/2010, 5:42 pm

I would say that they are ready to use. I used to be the produce manager at a small grocery store. What you get in the grocery are trimmed to a perfect size (for the box they are shipped in) They shouldn't make a bulb with out more light hours. They are ready now, they were probably ready through the winter.

Deborah ....enjoy
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Re: When to pick bunching onions?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/17/2010, 6:11 pm

I agree with Deb. Actually, I would probably have pulled them before they flowered. Scallion type onions can be used at any stage of development. Bon appetite!

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Re: When to pick bunching onions.

Post  Guest on 3/20/2010, 2:57 pm

Thanks for the advice. Lesson learned here: pull up scallion type onions when they look like the right size, e.g 1/2", and pull bulb type onions when the tops wilt. My neighbor also gave me a copy of an article from Harrowsmith A Country Life, July/August 1990 which he says completely changed his techniques and success in onion growing. If anyone's interested I can try to find a link.

As for mine, I pulled a couple up and I have Jack in the Beanstock size scallions, large enough for the giant's salad. They are 1 inch plus in diameter! I will taste them, but they smell so strong that I'm thinking I'll slice them about 1/4' thick, oven roast them and then dry them more if needed in a dehydrator. Then I can store them in jars to use like I do the roasted dried shallots and garlic I buy. And since the tops are so big and I hate to waste them I think I'll cut them like chives and dehydrate them, too. Another adventure in gardening!
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Re: When to pick bunching onions?

Post  OahuSFG on 3/22/2010, 10:47 pm

They freeze well and keep their flavor. If you dry out 1/2" of the bottom with roots attached for couple of days, you can replant them and they'll grow back very rapidly. Just trim the roots to about 1/2" and plant the white part about 1/4" deep.

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