It took me a few years, but I think I have finally come to understand the onion family. I now get their germination, growth patterns, nutritional needs, and their preferred storage temperature. I also “get” their propagation. Behold: the best of the best of last year’s yellow storage onions (Copra, in case you’re curious). Instead of gracing some savory dish, I want their seeds!
Behold the power!
I’ve done quite a treatise on onions before. We take a many-pronged approach to this wonderful vegetable, and don’t “just” eat storage onions all year; I reserve their exclusive use for the depths of winter. But storage onions are important. So I select the heaviest, non-sprouting, biggest ones to save for seed-making. These three are actually from seed saved here, so they’re obviously well-adapted to the rigors of the clay soil and the relative neglect that is storage in my root cellar. And here they are, shining on a day in May.
Simply placing them up to their shoulders in the dirt, I wait for them to sprout. They’re in the back of a bed: their seedheads can get quite tall (one in the greenhouse from a red storage onion is now over 5′) and let them do their thing. I will harvest the seedheads when they look kind of dry. When fully dry, they’ll get shaken over a white pillowcase and then the little black seeds will go into an envelope, waiting for next year’s seedling season to sprout anew.