Hibernation Time

For all of the Game of Thrones fans out there, “winter is coming!” Say goodbye to those last warm days of early fall and say hello to the beginning of winter.

The signs politely asks visitors not to random harvest as the garden undergoes dormant growth patterns so students can enjoy the remaining crops.

The sign politely asks visitors not to random harvest as the garden undergoes dormant growth patterns so students can enjoy the remaining crops.

A dormant growth pattern is exactly what it sounds like. Plants will now decrease their growth rate and very few crops will continue to grow. But one crop is still present in full force.

Multiplier Onions

The tops of multiplier onions

Like the potato, onions also grow underground. These kinds of onions are multiplier onions, also known as potato onions.

Compared against other varieties of onions they are easy to grow. They tend to grow close to the surface and they need plenty of space between them, about 8-10 inches or so. Unlike regular onions, multiplier onions grow in bunches. They like the full sun, and can be planted at any time of the year as long as they have time to mature before the first frost.

Onions may be eater raw, boiled, baked, creamed, steamed, fried and pickled! They can be found in soups and stews or as sides. Onions are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. When preparing onions, many find themselves inexplicably crying. This is from the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide (I’m not making it up, I promise!). The Library of Congress describes the process of how an onion makes you cry:

  1. Lachrymatory-factor synthase is released into the air when we cut an onion.
  2. The synthase enzyme converts the sulfoxides (amino acids) of the onion into sulfenic acid.
  3. The unstable sulfenic acid rearranges itself into syn-ropanethial-S-oxide.
  4. Syn-propanethial-S-oxide gets into the air and comes in contact with our eyes. The lachrymal glands become irritated and produces the tears!

Another reason why onions cause tears is because some gardeners get so emotionally attached to their vegetables they can’t stand cutting and eating them. But don’t worry, onions are one of the United States’ most common crops and are here to stay!

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