Lift and dry onions, shallots and garlic once the foliage starts to die down, so that you can store them for eating through winter.
Most types of maincrop onion keep really well if they’re dried properly, so it’s worth taking your time over the job. Choose a dry spell of weather and gently lift the bulbs with a hand fork, then lay them on the soil to dry. In seasons when it's impossible to find a long enough window of sunshine – so that's almost every year, then – bring them indoors into a sunny greenhouse or conservatory to dry on racks.
Tips on growing onions, shallots and garlic
Turn each bulb every few days so the sun hits all sides equally, hardening and ripening the skin to preserve the onion inside. After a couple of weeks of this they should be ready: this is the time to trim off excess roots and shorten the stem.
Plait onions and garlic into strings, or simply hang them up in nets - you’ll find special onion storage nets at the garden centre here in Thirsk, ideal for keeping your onions well-ventilated so you can hang them up until needed. They should last like this most of the winter so you can just reach out and grab one as needed.