Onions for Keeps

Choose the right varieties for your conditions, give the crop proper care after harvest, and you'll be savoring homegrown flavor until spring comes again.

By Susan Brackney


Onion Options
Onion bulbs form based on the amount of daylight they get. Northern gardeners will succeed with long-day varieties; southerners need to go with short-day options. Everyone else, take your pick of the intermediates. 

'Cippolini'. An Italian heirloom that produces buttonlike, yellow onions from 2 to 4 inches around.

'Copra'. A very sweet, yellow-skinned hybrid.

'Gladstone'. Oblong, 4- to 5-inch bulbs.

'Red Burgermaster'. A mildly sweet hybrid red onion.

'Southport'. Large, long-lasting heirloom that comes in both red and white varieties.

'Candy'. A "day-neutral" hybrid with very sweet, large, yellow-skinned bulbs.

'Redwing'. A deep red, very long-lasting hybrid.

'Rossa di Milano'. Slightly spicy, medium-size red onion.

'Super Star'. Another "day-neutral" that's white, sweet, and shorter-lived in storage.

'Valencia'. Large, heavy (nearly a pound!) yellow-skinned bulbs.

'Bermuda'. Sweet, white onion that keeps only for a couple of months.

'Texas Super Sweet'. Large, sweet yellow bulbs.

Onion sets are available at most garden centers. Plant and seed sources:
Dixondale Farms, Carrizo Springs, TX; 877-367-1015, dixondalefarms.com
Johnny's Selected Seeds, Winslow, ME; 877-564-6697, johnnyseeds.com
Steele Plant Company, Gleason, TN; 731-648-5476, sweetpotatoplant.com
Territorial Seed, Cottage Grove, OR; 800-626-0866, territorialseed.com