Fall Planting: Onions and Garlic

In California, organic onion seeds can be sowed in starter packs in late summer, these starters can be planted in October, along with individual cloves of garlic which can be planted with the pointed end up in a raised bed garden. Place the raised bed in an area that gets six hours sun a day, fill it with organic soil, like Dr. Earth’s All Purpose Potting Soil, and install a drip irrigation system on a timer to create a beautiful edible, abundantly productive garden. Plant onions and garlic around the edge of the raised bed planted with cabbage, carrots, and beets to repel pests, like mosquitoes, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites, with their strong odor. 

Both onions and garlic belong to the Alliums Family.  Onions come in a variety of sizes and types from small scallions, green onions, shallots, and pearl onions that are eaten right away to large onions that store well. Seed companies sell organic onion slips and garlic especially for planting in the fall. Choose organic heirloom garlic with large cloves to plant that come in hard neck and soft neck varieties. 

Onions are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and preventing allergic reactions. Garlic has long been known to ward off colds and viral infections; it is heart healthy, helps prevent cancer and inflammations, lowers blood pressure, aids digestion, and is an expectorant.  

In the spring, the onion and garlic flowers with their stems can be harvested when they appear and are edible with a mild flavor. Both stem and flower are tasty and attractive in a salad. In the summer, when the onion and garlic’s green tops droop and turn yellow, it is time to harvest them. Break the tops over and allow them to dry out on top of the soil to cure for a week. In a cool, shady area, thoroughly dry the mature onions and garlic on a screen for about two weeks and store them in a dry place for six months to a year. Garlic tops can be braided together for a nice display while being stored. 

Onions and garlic are culinary jewels that have been valued for thousands of years as a seasoning with their pungent, spicy flavor that adds zest to so many main dishes.

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