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Early this year I asked about breaking over onion stems took the advice not to do it. Now I have all these beautiful large onions with 1 woody stem still standing. Some of them really need to be pulled because there's been a lot of rain. The woody stem section snaps right off. Should I pull the onion and pull the stem off or will they dry with that stem on? Thanks for your advice.

-- Cindy (atilrthehony_1@yahoo.com), July 18, 2000


Cindy, I'm a breaker, so can't tell you for sure. I like breaking because it makes the onions easier to braid. Doesn't sound like this woody stem you have is going to lend itself to braiding. If you can do the harvesting over a week, pull some right now and take the stems off half and leave the other stems on. Then by the end of the week you'll have some idea what will happen, but no promises. If you need to get them all out now, I'd snap the stems out. I can't see any point in leaving them, and some downside to the stems being left on. I would suggest snapping the stems off where they want to snap off, not cutting them off where you want them. Although you might be able to leave the stems on and use them to clothespin the onions to your clothes line to help dry them. But the onions would probably drop off. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), July 18, 2000.

I'd dig the onions with a fork, leaving the top on 'til the onions cured a bit, or at least not cut them off any closer than 2 or 3 inches to the top of the onion. Breaking them off would seem to me to give too much a chance for spoilage type damage. Cure them in the air, out of the sun and off the ground for at least a few days before storing - they'll keep better. Don't wash them, just brush the dirt off as best you can.

-- Polly (tigger@moultrie.com), July 18, 2000.

Just pull what you need to use in the near term. I have never had a problem with heavy rains causing a problem (here in Maine we've had 4" in the last 4 days). The idea behind NOT breaking the tops is to get bigger onions for storage. If you wanna bend the tops, have a ball! It'll work out fine either way! GL!

-- Brad (Homefixer@SacoRiver.net), July 19, 2000.

I'd guess that woody stem is the flower stalk. If so, it's done with - not the same thing as ordinary foliage. Just pop it off, and forget it was there.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), July 20, 2000.

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