- Author: Betty Homer
This past summer, I had the pleasure of interning at a local farm, learning how to be a farmer. I learned a great deal at the farm, including the art of repurposing produce that was past its prime. Specifically, I learned instead of throwing away onions (red, yellow, white, etc.) that have sprouted and turned soft, you can replant them in the ground to produce another crop, affectionately called “scunions” at the farm (this may be a combination of the terms “scummy” and “onions.” A prior Google search did not yield any hits on the term), which can be harvested as used as green onions in several months’ time.
Below are instructions on how to recycle and replant your prior year’s onion crop that has gone soft while sitting in storage:
- Cull the old onions (red, yellow, white, etc.) from storage or root cellar, etc. Discard those that are oozing excessive liquid. Be warned that this is a dirty, smelly job. Keep the onions that are soft but still holding their shape. You will likely have better success sprouting scunions with larger rather than smaller onions.
- Take a pair of pruners and lop off any green shoots/sprouts from the onions, and trim off the roots.
- Dig a hole in your garden deep enough so that the top of the onion protrudes out of the ground only slightly. Bury the rest of the onion in the soil.
- Water consistently as you would any onion crop.
- Voilà! At the end of approximately 3 months/90 days, you should expect to harvest a crop of “scunions” which appear to be a clump of green onions growing together (and can be used as such). To harvest the crop, take a digging fork or shovel, wedge it next to the scunions but far enough so as to not damage them, and lift the scunions out of the ground with your tool (i.e., it is similar to harvesting leeks or garlic). You will need to clean off debris from the scunions before using.
What a great way to combine a love for recycling, gardening and cooking!
- Author: Sharon L. Rico
Have you ever seen an onion so large that it looked like a melon? Our good friend, Evon, has mastered growing huge onions right here in Vacaville and has been doing this for 24 years. He appears at our front door in June or July, gifting us with the biggest onions ever! One onion will last us for weeks, often longer! He mails his onions to friends in New York, San Diego and Mexico, no small feat when they weigh up to 4 pounds each.
What is his secret? His onion sets are purchased in early November at a local nursery. He prefers the Stockton Red’s and yellow onions. They are planted deep and 8 inches apart, in a raised bed that has been filled with compost and steer manure. These amendments are rototilled together. The compost he uses is available from April 1st to October 1st at Vacaville landfill, (free, if you have Vacaville garbage service). When the top of the soil dries out, the onions need to be watered thoroughly. In about 8 months, the onion tops will fall over and at that point they are ready to pull from the soil and eat.
When our group of classmates get together to celebrate the 4th of July, the hot topic is Evon’s monstrous, trophy onions and what the biggest one weighed this year!