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

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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. 

Long-day
'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.

Intermediate
'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.

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

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

Sources
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

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