Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saving Onion Seeds

Did you know that you can save the seeds from onions in your garden to plant next year? It's true. Once the garden onion matures and grows an attractive white flower resembling a ball, it's easy to save lots of onion seeds for next year's garden. Saving onion seeds saves money and gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

Onions are rich in vitamins B6, B1, K, C, folic acid, chromium, biotin, and fiber. It only makes sense to add this nutritional vegetable to the summer garden and to also save the seeds. I'm a nut about saving seeds from vegetables in our garden each year. It's so easy to save seeds from onions, as well as other garden vegetables. In saving onion seeds, you'll have onion seeds to give your gardener friends and you can also give onion seeds to people who desire a garden, but don't have the money to get one started.

Here's all you need to do to save onion seeds:

Harvest your onions in the usual way, once they're ready to be picked. By the way, onions are ready to harvest when you can see the top of the onion peeking out of the ground. Save one onion, do not pull it up, leave it in the ground for the onion to turn to seed. How do you know when an onion has turned to seed? A beautiful, round white flower will emerge from the onion. These flowers can get quite tall and attractive, but, like most things in life, the beauty of the flower will soon fade. When the onion flower looks as if it's seen better days, cut the flower, along with a little of the stem, from the onion.

I stumbled upon the next step to save onion seeds by accident. Get a mason jar and put the onion flower inside. If you don't have a mason jar, a glass jar will do fine. Leave the onion flower alone for a couple of weeks. The onion flower will dry out and open up, releasing the tiny black onion seeds from the flower. If you have a band and lid for your mason jar, put on the lid and just shake the jar to encourage more seeds to release from the flower. Toss the spent onion flower in the compost bin, and there are your onion seeds for next year's garden


Ron said...

Onions are one of my favorite things to grow, thanks for the information.

Anne said...

I am guessing that you are not actually considering really maintaining a strain.. as you need several plants not only to ensure better seed viability.. but even more importantly to avoid a genetic bottleneck.

Although this is fine as long as you have no real long term need to keep a strain going.