Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saving Seeds from Onions

An onion flower
Onions are a biennial plant, therefore, they only produce seeds their second year. This allows you to have edible onions your first year, and if you want seeds the next year, all you need do is keep the plant in the ground over winter. Next year, your onions will flower and produce seeds. If you're onions become stressed, however, they may "bolt." Bolting is when a biennial plant goes to seed in its first year. If you do not want your plant to go to seed, snip off he flower as soon as you see it begin to develop. These onions won't last as long as other onions,  but will still be edible if you get the flower out of the way quickly. I had a plant bolt this year, so I decided to let it go so that I could show you all how to save the seeds. Once the flower has fully developed it will lose its little petals and the little flowers will turn into little papery envelopes. This is where your seeds live! 

This flower is drying up. See the black seeds poking out?

When these little envelopes start to dry up, it is time to trim your flower and bring it inside to finish drying.

My onion flower, drying in a paper bag

Snip it off the plant and put it into a brown paper bag to finish drying. Mine took a few weeks to dry out completely.

Smashed flower, showing black onion seeds.

Once it is completely dry, smash it all up!  The seeds will be big enough that you can pick them out easily from the chaff.

All my little onion seeds!

Put your little onion seeds in a zip top bag or envelope and put it away for next year!