Onions & Leeks are often purchased as bareroot stock, ready to be planted into your garden. These bareroots should be kept moist and cool until you are ready to plant them. In the event that the onions or leeks cannot be planted within a week or so, they should be heeled in. Heeling in is done by digging a v-shaped trench in a shady, sheltered location. Lay the bareroot stock with the roots in the trench. You can leave the bunch tied together here. Then cover with soil. They should keep this way for several months, but the recommendations are for not more than a few weeks. The idea is to keep them dormant until you are ready to put them where they need to be.
I had some onions and leeks that i had to heel in a few months ago…actually, it was 8 months ago. They have definitely come out of dormancy. oops.
I pulled them up yesterday to plant in their real place in the garden. We decided to trim their green tops and their roots, just like you do when you are planting bareroot stock. Some of them were even flowering already. They are all planted, so we’ll see if they sprout…or rot!
UPDATE: These guys were all just fine! Well, a few we trimmed to close – i read later that they should only be trimmed to 3″ above where they leaf out. But most of them were just fine. I didn’t pick many of them early enough, so they went to flower and were gorgeous!!! If you pick them after they’ve been flowering, they will not have much to eat anymore. Once they flower you are better off just getting the seed. The bees and beneficial insects LOVE them. And they are gorgeous in cut-flower arrangements.