Growing Onions and Garlic
I tried my hand at growing onions this year from bulbs. Two years ago I attempted to grow onions from seed, but I started the seed outdoors, and they are just so fine that they got mixed in with weeds, and everything went to pot. (Is that still a phrase? If so, what does it mean? Is it bad to be a pot?)
I planted the bulbs in March directly in the garden, and we started harvesting them in late July.
Once the green stems started turning brown, I bent the stems over at the base and dug out around the bulbs to promote bulb growth, as they were not growing wide like a yellow onion you would purchase in the store. Bending the stem is supposed to focus all energy to the bulb and away from the foliage.
When the bulbs appeared to stop growing, I used a shovel to gently lift them from the ground. You need to avoid puncturing the outer skin, or they will not cure properly. I then placed the entire bulb in a dry, shady spot with good ventilation to cure for two weeks.
They are finished curing when the roots are dried out and the outer skin is papery. The foliage can be cut off and the onions stored in a cool dry place for future use. I'm told you can store onions up to 6 months. I have also read that you can use old pantyhose for storing onions. Place an onion in the hose, tie a knot, then place another onion until you have used up the entire leg of the pantyhose. Hang the whole thing in a cool dry place. I'll probably give this a try to keep the onions from touching each other and possibly rotting.
Two autumns ago my MIL and I answered an advertisement from a woman offering people to dig free plants from her yard. I can't imagine who wouldn't answer this ad! Among the many plants I procured from her garden were four garlic starts. She must have grown them from bulbils, because they were very small and not ready for harvesting until this year - almost two years later.
There are many different types of garlic, and I have no idea what type I grew. The stem reached over three feet tall and had a big head of small bulbils (often mistaken for flowers, but with a strong garlic odor).
I dug it up the same way as the onions, taking care not to puncture the skin, and dried it on the same window sill.
I'm going to try to propagate garlic from the bulbils and from a single clove. I have read that the bulbils take two years from planting to harvest, but planting a single clove should take just one year. This is all highly scientific as you can tell.