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Sweet Onion

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Heirloom. The pride of Washington state, this globe-shaped onion is exceptionally mild and makes jumbo- to colossal-sized bulbs with light brown skin and pretty white flesh. Sweetest of all the long-day varieties, it is the only long-day that comes close to matching the sweetness of Georgia Sweet. Exceptionally mild flavour. Will keep for a month. Delicious for fresh slices on sandwiches. Developed in the late 1800s, it still earns a place on the table.

  • Type Long day
  • Size Up to 2 pounds
  • Matures 90 days
  • Plant spacing 6 inches apart
  • Plant size: 6-inch bulbs, 2-foot tops

Light requirements Full sun.

Planting Space 6 inches apart.

Soil requirements All onions need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Work at least 3 inches of compost or other organic matter into soil prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.0 to 6.8.

Water requirements Keep soil consistently moist until bulbs enlarge. Onion roots are shallow; apply a light layer of mulch to slow water evaporation from the soil. Once the tops of the bulbs push through the surface, remove mulch to allow them to bask in the sun.

Frost-fighting plan Onions tolerate even hard frosts (temperatures below 28º F). Still, protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts by covering plants with straw or a frost blanket.

Common issues Onion thrips, aphids, and onion root maggots can cause problems.

Harvesting Pull onions at any stage for fresh eating. Harvest young onions to eat as scallions. For full-sized bulbs, don’t pull onions until bulbs are big and tops start to yellow and fall over.

To harvest, pull onions and shake off soil. Before snipping roots or trimming tops, cure them in a warm, airy place. During curing, roots shrivel and necks dry and tighten. After 7 to 10 days of curing, clip onion tops and roots; rub dry dirt from bulbs, taking care not to remove papery outer skins.

Storage Store cured, dried, full-size bulb onions in a cool place. Very sweet, juicy onions store best in the refrigerator. Use mild onions within a few weeks of harvest; pungent onions can store for 10 to 12 months.

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