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I just got six gallons of red onion bulbs for planting, since the store was getting rid of them at 50¢/gallon.

I intend to plant them late fall and let them go over winter, since that worked so well for me last year.

How can I store the bulbs for four months until late fall?

Further, six gallons is alot of bulbs of one variaty (I was wanting two gallons of white, two of yellow, and two of red, but accidentally got six of red only).

So, I'd like to plant half this fall (4 months away), and half next fall (16 months). How can I store the bulbs for 16 months?

I have half gallon mason jars, and a vacuum jar sealer - would that be sufficient? I can place the jar down in a storm shelter, or in a dark pantry cabinet, or place them in a freezer.

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For 4 months you can try the root cellar. Do not jar or vacuum them - hang them in a mesh bag or lay them out in a wooden crate.

Freezing generally turns them to mush that won't grow.

16 months? If they have not been pre-poisioned with something, eat them. Otherwise, give them away in 4 months, as that ain't happening. You may need some extras in 4 months anyway as they may not all survive storage (there's a reason they are cheap now, and it's not because they are easy to store (other than "planted") at the age they already are. Or plant some now for green onions, etc.

  • Can I plant them now and leave them in the ground over winter so they can continue growing next spring? – Jamin Grey Jun 23 '17 at 21:22
  • Sure - but you'll probably grow seeds that way. Onions are biennials that we normally only grow for one year. The second year they normally use the stored energy from the first year to make flowers and seeds. Onion sets are seeds that have been grown for a short time from seed, but not long enough to make them opt to go to seed the next time they are planted. – Ecnerwal Jun 23 '17 at 22:12
  • Then I'll try to save them all until late fall, and plant them then. That's what I did last year for good results. – Jamin Grey Jun 23 '17 at 23:48
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I would plant half NOW and half during the fall. Otherwise, they could easily succumb to botrytis, all of them. Eating them would be good as well. You could eat some of the more mature and leave some planted now as well as planting more for the fall. But plant at least half now.

I use potato cellars and they do well when going into a winter. But now, well, you might just lose them all. This would be a good time to experiment. Freezing will NOT Work. Potato cellars have to be a consistent 50 degrees F or less to work. Doesn't happen during the summer. Get them planted, at least half. If you've got a cool potato cellar then try keeping them in newspaper and sawdust, lots of air, move the layers now and then or keep them all on one layer thick if you've got the room. I always had a fan going in my potato cellars but nothing was able to be preserved during the summer more than a month.

  • Alright. I'll plant as many as I can now (i.e. in two weeks) but leave them in the ground over winter. The rest I'll plant in fall and also leave over winter. If I lose some or all, well, it's a $3 experiment. I'm not going to rotate trays of bulbs in an attempt to preserve them, because that will cost alot in my labor. Thanks for the advice! – Jamin Grey Jun 23 '17 at 21:21

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