Harvesting the onions

There are two ways that you can grow onions - you can grow onions from seed or sets (small onion bulbs grown the previous year and sold for planting).  

This spring we attempted to grow onions from seed. We planted the onion seeds directly in the raised bed as the packet instructed. They did not germinate well. 

I have learned since that onion seeds should be sown in seed trays in Spring. Fill your seed trays about three quarters full then sprinkle the seeds on. Onions have poor germination rates so you need to sow plenty. Fill the trays with soil, water well and cover with cling film. The seedlings need to be warm so keep them where there is a little heat.  When the seeds have germinated, remove the cling film. You can now begin to harden off the plants by placing them outside during the day and bringing the plants in at night. When the shoots are around 5 inches tall, you can plant them out.

My knowledgeable neighbours came to our rescue and gave us some onion plants that were ready to plant out so we do have onions to harvest. You know the onions are ready to harvest when the tops fall over and begin to wither. This means that the plants are ready to store the energy from the tops in the bulb. Pull your onions up by the tops and shake off the soil. Tie them together by the tops and hang them up for up to 14 days to allow the 'goodness' to go into the bulb.  

So often onions get 'lost' in a dish but in this Onion Soup with Garlic Croutons, onions steal the show-at this time of year onions and garlic also provide an immunity boost to ward off autumn sniffles.

Onion Soup with Garlic Croutons

You will need

For the soup
500g onions, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
50g dairy free spread
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp pink salt 
750ml water
2 bay leaves 
1 tsp sage
1 tbsp cider vinegar

For the croutons
1/2 wholemeal baton
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tbsp olive oil

Melt the spread and 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add the onions and sliced garlic.  Cover the pan and cook on a low heat until the onions begin to caramelise. Stir in the cornflour and add the water, salt, bay leaves, sage and cider vinegar.  Simmer for 20 minutes and serve with the garlic croutons.
To make the garlic croutons cut the baton into small squares. Place in a food bag and add oil and minced garlic.  Mix thoroughly then tip onto a baking tray. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. Serve with the onion soup. 

Janet x

You may also wish to read the other organic gardening posts from this year:-

'It's spring, the organic fruit and vegetable year begins!'- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/its-spring-organic-fruit-and-vegetable.html

'Organic gardening - The winter vegetable garden' -

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

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