7 Steps for Growing Your Best Crop of Onions Onions are on of the crops every self sufficient Gardener should be growing each year. Even if you only have a small garden it is possible to grow and store enough onions each year so that you never have to buy another onion again. Onions are …
We add it to soups, hamburgers and salads. When we peel it, it makes us cry, and we run for the mouthwash after eating it. It is the onion.
High in flavor and low in calories, onions are good sources of vitamin C and fiber, and they are rich in antioxidants. Yet, did you know this superfood could provide many other benefits around your household?
Here are 10 surprising uses for onions other than as a food.
1. Natural pesticide. You can rub a peeled onion on your skin as a simple – and smelly – bug repellent. You also can help keep bugs out of your garden with an onion spray.
Puree four onions, two garlic gloves, two tablespoons of cayenne pepper, and one quart of water in your blender. Set mixture aside. Next, dilute two tablespoons of soap flakes in two gallons of water. Add the blender mixture and stir well. Fill a clean sprayer bottle with liquid to keep insects and other pests away from your garden.
2. Soothe bites, stings and minor burns. Simply place a freshly cut onion slice on the affected area of your skin to soothe the pain and swelling.
3. Ease a sore throat. Onion tea doesn’t taste great, but it does the job. Boil one cup of water with the peels of half a medium onion. Remove onion and sip to soothe a painful throat.
4. Fight dizziness and fainting. You can use onions in place of smelling salts. Place a piece of freshly cut onion under the nose of someone who is feeling faint, and it will decrease the feeling of light headedness.
6. Polish metal. Mix crushed onion with water. Then dab the mixture on the metal surface with a soft cloth. Rub until clean.
7. Remove rust from knives. Simply plunge your rusty blade into an onion several times and then wipe dry for a rust-free surface.
8. Get rid of paint smell. Are you bothered by the smell of new paint in your home or workplace? Try placing a few slices of onion in a dish, along with a small amount of water. The onion will absorb the paint smell within an hour or two.
9. Clean your grill. Cut an onion in half and then rub it across your grill surface to remove food and grime. Then wipe clean.
10. Deter pets. If your cat or dog keeps visiting a spot on your property to dig, to chew or to use as a bathroom, place a few onion slices in that spot. Animals do not like the smell of onion, and they will stay away. Refresh onion slices as needed to keep making your point.
11. Make burned rice edible. Did you leave the rice on the stovetop too long? No problem. Place an onion half on top of the rice to absorb the burned flavor.
12. Prevent avocado browning. Place a red onion half in a plastic bag or container and then add the avocado. You also can keep guacamole fresh by placing some red onion slices on top of it in a plastic container.
Store your whole bulb onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place. Whole peeled onions should be refrigerated at 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) or below. Sliced or chopped onions can be stored in a sealed plastic bag or covered container in your refrigerator for seven to 10 days.
Do you know of other uses for onions? Share your tips in the section below:
When it comes to growing vegetables, it doesn’t get much easier than onions. Just plant them in the garden, give them a little water, and these distinctive, dependable vegetables are ready to harvest almost before you know it.
Once harvested, onions can last weeks and even months if they’re properly cured and stored, and you can grab one for the kitchen whenever you need it. Here’s how to harvest, cure and store onions.
Onions are ready to harvest when the tops begin to flop over and turn yellow. This means the plant has finished growing and the leaves no longer need to provide energy to the bulb. It isn’t necessary to wait until the tops are completely dry.
Don’t harvest the onions right away, though, unless rain is predicted. Instead, stop watering and give them a week or 10 days to finish maturing. If weather turns damp and rainy, then go ahead and harvest.
The best time to harvest onions is during the morning when weather is dry and sunlight is less intense. Loosen the soil around the plants carefully with a spade or garden fork, and then pull the onions gently from the ground. Lay the onions on top of the soil for a day or two to dry. If the weather is hot, cover them lightly with straw to prevent sunburn. If the soil is wet, put the onions in a protected spot like a patio or garage. Handle the onions with care to avoid cuts and bruises. You even can hang the onions over a fence if you live in a dry climate.
If you want to store onions, curing is a critical step that allows the onions to form a papery, protective covering. If you plan to use onions soon, don’t bother curing them, as there’s no need. Keep in mind that mild, sweet onions don’t store as long as sharp, pungent onions. If you grow both types, then use the sweet onions first and save the pungent onions for storage. Some popular onions that store well include Copra, Southport Red Globe, Redwing, White Sweet Spanish and Downing Yellow Globe.
To cure the onions, place them in a clean, dry, shady, well-ventilated spot with stems still attached. If you’re short on space and need to cure the onions outdoors, spread the onions in a single layer and cover them with a light sheet to prevent sunburn, and then anchor the rocks in place with rocks. Never cover them with plastic, as lack of air circulation can cause the onions to rot.
Allow the onions to cure for two or three weeks, until the papery skin is tight and crispy and the roots are dry. Turn them every few days so they cure evenly. Set any soft onions aside for immediate use.
Brush the onions gently with your fingers to remove remaining dirt, and then trim the tops to about an inch with scissors before you store the onions. You can also trim the roots.
Sort through the onions again. If any are bruised, store them in the refrigerator and use them soon. Like apples, one bad onion can ruin the entire batch. Also, do not store onions near potatoes.
Place onions in a wooden crate or a nylon or mesh bag – that is, a dark area — and store them in a cool, dry place where temperatures are kept between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but never freezing.
Check the onions every few weeks and remove any that are turning soft.
What your onion storage tips? Share them in the section below:
Fall is an excellent time to plant onions for a great harvest next summer! Fall onions grow much like a crop of garlic, becoming well established in the cool fall temperatures before going dormant for the winter. When Spring arrives
The post How To Plant Onions This Fall For A Great Crop Next Year appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.
some of my Vidalia onions During the time of the year when the harvest is plenty, it’s time to preserve the bounty. I have preserved batches of (Vidalia) onions with my dehydrator for my food storage, and here’s why and how I do it… (UPDATED and re-posted for your interest, since we recently processed […]
How to Grow Onions Vertically On The Windowsill I did this about 4 years ago with quite good results! Growing onions inside is very easy, they like the constant temperature and the light from the window. I grew 10 in one bottle one year and loved it. Check out this really easy tutorial from goodshomedesign …
When winter’s biting cold has faded into memory, but home-garden headliners like tomatoes still seem far off, early crops can be a much-appreciated moral boost. As far as these first-on-the-scene producers are concerned, few can compare with freshly ripe, home-grown strawberries. And while a perfectly manicured bed filled exclusively with eager little strawberry plants has a certain storybook appeal, you may be surprised to discover what many strawberry farmers already know: interspersing the patch with a strategically selected — and sometimes smelly — companion can make springtime even better.
Companion planting is the time-honored technique of pairing beneficial plants together and is a natural, chemical-free way to improve the overall health of your garden. While some of these symbiotic combinations are well-known (such as the traditional “three sisters garden” featuring corn, beans and squash, or the classic companionship between marigolds and summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers) almost all plants can benefit from proximity to appropriate neighbors.
In the case of strawberries, that perfect partner happens to come in the form of onions.
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
There’s a reason colleges have students fill out lengthy informational surveys before showing up at the dorm; making good roommate matches is tricky business! And while strawberries and onions might both look friendly at first glance, they don’t always make great neighbors with other plants. For example, the antibacterial secretions from onions adversely affects the nitrogen-fixing bacterial action associated with beans and peas. Similarly, all members of the cabbage family, including broccoli and Brussels sprouts, suffer when planted too close to strawberries, while tomatoes and peppers are notorious for spreading pathogens such as verticillium wilt with strawberries.
The chart below outlines companion planting best-bets when it comes to strawberries and onions:
Companion Planting — Strawberries and Onions*
|Strawberries||bean, lettuce, onion, spinach, thyme||cabbage||borage, thyme|
|Onions||beet, cabbage family, carrot, chard, lettuce, pepper, strawberry, tomato||bean, pea||chamomile, summer savory, pigweed, sow thistle|
Same Soil. Same Schedule.
Thankfully, strawberries and onions have no adverse effect on each other. They also have similar soil requirements, both benefitting from well-drained soil located in full sun. In addition, similar planting schedules make it possible to prepare the bed all at once. Onion starts and new strawberry plants can both be set out in early spring, or, depending on the climate, put out in the fall for an easy way to make sure you’ve already hit the ground running when spring arrives.
The most important way strawberries and onions help each other is when it comes to pest protection. Even relatively small spring onions are often odorous enough to mask the sweet smells associated with ripe strawberries, helping protect them from critters looking for a juicy treat. Depending on placement, the onion stalks may also help block the otherwise easy-to-spot ripe berries from view.
Lest this look like an entirely one-sided arrangement, strawberry plants can also provide a service to their ally from the allium family. The crisp, fresh flavor characteristic of spring onion greens is best cultivated under relatively cool conditions.
When planted close together, healthy strawberry plants can actually be large enough to help filter the sunlight near tender onion plants, keeping the temperatures a little lower for a little longer without completely cutting them off from needed sunlight.
There are a number of ways to take advantage of spring gardening’s greatest odd-couple. One option is to plant strawberries and onions in alternating rows. Assuming adequate soil drainage, onions can even be planted in the slightly more packed soil between raised strawberry mounds. Another possibility, especially for smaller strawberry patches, is to form an onion perimeter around the edges of the plot. Finally, there’s no reason onions and strawberries can’t be directly interplanted with each other in the same rows for a true patchwork of springtime favorites.
Flavorful spring onions sprinkled on a side salad and thick slices of shortcake dripping with ripe strawberries are springtime rituals. Companion planting the two crops together is an easy way to help both plants thrive and guarantee a great start to the growing season.
What advice would you ad? Share it in the section below:
Most people seem to welcome the holiday season, even though it can be a hectic and expensive time of year. We love reacquainting ourselves with family and friends, getting cozy with our loved ones, and enjoying some well deserved time off from our jobs. I feel the same way about this time of year, though I take exception with one particular aspect of the season. As soon as November 1st rolls around I know that I’ve entered the danger zone, and it usually lasts until March. That’s the season that typically gives me at least one cold or flu bug, and I’m sure it’s the same for many of you.
For me, this time of year is also a time for research. Every holiday season I like look for new cold remedies that I wasn’t aware of before, and readjust my strategy for fighting and preventing these nasty bugs. This year I’ve discovered a few different foods that might help you recover faster from these viruses, or stop them from infecting you in the first place.
These aren’t your typical food remedies however. These are the flu busting foods that most people don’t talk about, or might not even be aware of. If you’ve struggled to fight these bugs in the past (and boy, who hasn’t?) this should give a few new remedies for your fight against the germs. Here a few of the most potent, and underrated cold remedies:
No, I’m not talking about that ridiculous myth that claims onions will absorb bacteria out of the air. If you want to stay healthy, onions are far more useful in your belly than they are on your window sill. They contain quercetin, which is an effective antihistimine, and allicin, which is known to kill a wide variety of viruses and bacteria. And as an added bonus, raw onions will help you break down mucus and open up your nasal passages.
Aside from being a very nutrient dense food that is great for your overall well-being, sweet potatoes are absolutely brimming with vitamin A. While vitamin C gets all the credit for warding off colds and flus, we often forget that vitamin A is a crucial nutrient for maintaining the health of your skin and mucous membranes, both of which are important for keeping viruses from proliferating in your body.
Protein may be the biggest unsung hero in the fight against the common cold and the flu. It rarely comes up when people talk about cold remedies, even though it plays a crucial role in your immune system by forming antibodies, and helping your body produce immune cells. Unfortunately, many of us lose our appetite when we’re sick, and we miss out on those large servings of protein right when we need them the most.
While many of us reach for oranges when we’re sick, a cheap can of oysters may be one of the most underrated foods for fighting off colds and flus. Aside from providing a hefty dose of vitamin D, oysters also contain the highest density of zinc compared to any other food, which most people don’t realize is an antimicrobial substance. Much like Vitamin A, zinc is found in high quantities in your skin and mucous, where it provides a first line of defense against pathogens. It’s also an important component in the production of white blood cells.
So there you have it. For most of us, getting sick during the holidays is practically a foregone conclusion, but that doesn’t mean we should give up the fight against these pathogens. We should never stop trying out different remedies, because our bodies need all the help they can get this time of year. Hopefully now you have a few new weapons in your medicinal arsenal, for your personal war against those dastardly cold and flu bugs
Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.
Joshua’s website is Strange Danger
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition