Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Onion Snow

I learned my something new today! I learned what "Onion Snow" means. I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and I have never heard of onion snow. "Onion snow" is a regional term used primarily in the state of Pennsylvania, referring colloquially to the final snowfall before the end of the spring season. Some sources indicate that the onion snow typically occurs after the traditional time for planting spring onions, while others state that onion snow is an indicator of when the appropriate time has arisen to plant onions. In either case, onion snow is defined as a light snow that melts quickly. This regional expression is said to originate from the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch culture and language.

Three snow-related expressions, including onion snow, are unique to Pennsylvania Dutch culture. A sapling-bender refers to a wet and heavy snow that weighs down tree limbs, while a crack-stuffer is the term for a dry fine-grained snow that settles into cracks. Legend holds that all three types of snow must occur before spring has arrived.
I usually plant my onion sets the end of March or beginning of April depending on the weather. Last year I planted onion transplants for the first time and I planted them in April. Last year my spring garden had a late start because of the weather, however my onions were the largest they have ever been. I think this legend or practice is interesting and I wonder how much Onion Snow really effects our onion crops. How many of you have heard of this tradition and when do you plant your onions?

This is my most recent picture of my onion seedlings that I started the first
week of January. I plan on planting them into my garden the middle of April.

1 comment:

  1. How interesting! I love learning about how things were done way back when, especially when it comes to little tidbits like natural "cues" for planting, etc., that in this day and age, we often overlook.

    I didn't plant my onions last year until the first week of May(the bed they were supposed to go into wasn't built until then). My schedule, though, says that I should be planting them in mid-April, like you, which is what I intend to do this year. I'm wondering what kind of difference the earlier planting will make.