The Garden at 485 Elm
People growing together:
a collaborative community garden in Montpelier, Vermont

Onions Are Happier Than They Appear

Onions are one of the most reliable crops at the Garden at 485 Elm. When we get them in early enough, they grow into gorgeous bulbs that we harvest all at once and divide among gardeners here. Gardeners enjoy red, white, and yellow onions and shallots.

This season, gardeners expressed concern about how the onions look as they’re growing, especially the white onions.

Two issues are visible. The onions leaves look spotty, and the bulbs are popping out of the ground.

The leaves are brown because of leek moths, a pest there’s no avoiding. This is at issue only if the leek moth larvae make their way into the bulbs. We harvest onions and garlic a bit early to prevent crop loss by leek moths. So far, that’s been effective.

Onion bulbs are showing after heavy rains washed the soil from them. This is not bad for the onions; it turns out some experts think it benefits the onions to have the tops peeking out to prevent rotting in moist soil.

With any luck and a few more weeks, we’ll have a harvest like these.