The first year I planted them in standard rows at 4-6 inches apart, and they were nice and large way before they started to dry and fall over. Here’s what you need to know about caring for your future crop: Onions need phosphorus and potassium for root development during the first two to three weeks after planting. I chose this variety for it’s excellent size, ease of growth, and superb onion taste. Long-day onion varieties start bulbing when the day length reaches 14 to 16 hours. It is best to store them in a dark, cool location like a root cellar or pantry. Place them directly in the sun, and make sure each one has space between them for the best results. If you plant a long-day onion in the South, it will just keep making This is the indication that the bulbs have grown to maturity. This should be done before the first frost. Multiplier onions are planted in the fall and harvested in mid to late summer. mulch to maintain moisture and to control weeds, but remove the mulch when bulbing begins to help cure the bulbs. Wait for the green tops to turn brown and fall over. © 2020 The Taunton Press, Inc. All rights reserved. If your source is offering the wrong varieties for your area, switch to a merchant who is concerned about your results and not about just selling you a product. If you see this you know the onions are curing nicely. Curing How long your onions will keep depends on how you treat them after harvest. Learn how to easily and cheaply make a boxwood tree. Proper treatment at harvest maximizes the amount of time you'll be able to store your onions. Fold or bend onion tops when the onion begins to turn yellow and fall over on their own. There are two growing periods in the life of an onion. It’s now time to harvest and cure the onions. Discontinue irrigation when the onion tops begin to lay down at the end of the season. Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and instructional videos sent to your inbox. After three prunings, wait and let the onion mature. Let most of your onion tops fall over by themselves - maybe 80% or 90% of them - then bend over the rest of the tops. Gently pull the plants and bring them into a warm, dry location to cure. Onions are fully mature when their tops have fallen over. When about half the tops have fallen over, push the rest of the tops on the remaining plants down also. Photo by Bruce Leander Onions also bulb in response to day length and in Central Texas where I live the short day onion varieties that we plant in the winter begin bulb formation in springtime as the day length reaches 11-12 hours. Once the bulbing process begins, no more leaves are created. Because you can plant the transplants that have a four- or five-leaf head start over seeds at the same time that you can plant seeds, transplants generally start the bulbing process with four or five more leaves than seed-grown onions. Hi Jane – thank you! Sets have the advantage of being easy to plant and to get established because the bulbs have a large reservoir of carbohydrates to use to get started. The longer you can cure the onions the better they will keep. Cure them in the direct sunlight for a day or two, but after that make sure they are out of the sun. You can still harvest after it has rained, but curing may take longer. Onions are very sensitive to manganese and zinc deficiencies. onions can be sown, set, or transplanted approximately six weeks prior to the last average frost date in your area. Short-day onions start the bulbing process when the day length reaches 10 to 12 hours. After pulling from the ground allow the onion to dry, clip the roots and cut the tops back to one inch. At this point, watering should be discontinued. Onions tend to bewilder home veggie gardeners. Candy Onion Plants. Plant your onion seed and do not pick or eat the ones you intend to harvest for seed. Some may have a wrong notion on keeping them under direct sunlight to prevent moisture. If you prefer a large onion bulb you will need to let the onion grow until the green tops start to fade and die back. At the end of the growing season when the onion tops are brown, drying and bent over, harvest the onion bulbs. These may hold moisture and prevent the onions from drying properly. Leave them out in the sun for a day or two depending on the temperatures. It should pop right out of the soil. A properly cured onion begins with a dry root system. Or you can leave the tops The variety, however, must not require so many hours of day length that your area will not reach the bulbing threshold needed to trigger the start of the bulbing process. In the northern states, there is adequate time for intermediate-day onions to produce at least 10 to 12 leaves before the bulbing process begins. Thanks for the info. The key is to keep the spores from multiplying and spreading. This won't delete the recipes and articles you've saved, just the list. I made a little research, and apparently it is possible to prune the tops of the onions – and help the bulbs grow bigger. If it is a bit cooler then two days might be needed. Onions are one of the many vegetables that are relatively easy to grow, especially when planting them using sets. Onion tops naturally tip over when the bulb matures, but some gardeners force their onions to stop growing by folding the onion tops over. For Crying Out Loud: Tips for No-Tear Onion Cutting, 7 Easy Fruit Trees to Grow Right in Your Own Backyard, Traveling Plants | Letter from the Editor, A Fool and His Garden | Letter from the Editor, Dahlias Don’t Ask Much | Letter from the Editor, It’s Just Business | Letter from the Editor. This is a sure indication that the onions are ready for harvest. Withhold water during this final ripening period. After a week or two, brush off the soil. Growers in the northern states can’t plant in fall or early winter because the ground is too cold to generate growth. Your email address will not be published. Intermediate-day onions are some of the most widely adapted onions because they start bulbing when the day length reaches 12 to 14 hours. The goal is to pick a variety that gives you as long as possible to grow as many large leaves prior to bulbing. Harvest onions about a week after all tops are bent over and brown. Be proactive by applying a biweekly protective fungicidal spray to the foliage throughout the onion’s growing cycle. Almost all onions sold as sets are extremely-long-day varieties, and when planted in short- or intermediate-day areas, they will produce only a green onion. A shed or garage can work as well. Almost all areas of the country reach that range of day length. Once the transfer of carbohydrates, or bulbing, begins (you’ll see the soil begin to crack around where the bulb is forming), the growing cycle is complete. When the majority of your onion tops fall over, don’t wait but pick them right away. You’ll generally have to wait for about 100 days after planting to harvest the bulbs. Onions pulled one week early. Next, cut off the tops, leaving a 1-inch neck, and spread the onions on a table or board away from the sun. In the southern states, short-day onions are grown during the winter and early-spring months. You can also use a shade cloth to cover the onions if you do not have any other choices. Tops falling over prior to the bulb reaching maturity can result in decreased yields. Dig the onions and spread them in the sun for several hours to dry. The first growing period is the growth of the leaves. The first is to select the appropriate onion variety for your area. In IL where we live it is so terribly humid. Loosen the soil around the bulbs to encourage drying. What can we say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said? Once the foliage starts growing, it must be kept healthy and disease-free. Manganese and zinc deficiencies are the most common problem that causes tops to prematurely bend over or become disfigured. My onion have grow to well past the time that was said on the seed packet. Cover the bulbs with the tops to prevent sunburn. It is important that your irrigation system applies water uniformly, preferably to a depth of 1 to 2 inches of water a week until bulbing and then 3 to 4 inches per week during bulb ing. This is my first time growing onions. When tops are brown, pull the onions. It’s bar far one of my favorite onions to grow and a great choice for a beginner. Onion tops fall over when they are fully mature. Q. If it is a very warm day then one day might be enough. Should I go ahead with you instructions on curing? If the onion makes a hard/hollow stalk and forms the bulb which will become the seed head, they are finished and won’t grow much more. I salvage cuttings from plants to recycle,but early frost gets em! If I leave my onions in the sun, they actually will get partially cooked, not cured at all. Will onions cure ok outside with that, or should I bring them inside into the air conditioning for a better result? Dry the onions in the sun for two days. Deficiencies result in stunted plant growth with noticeable twisting and faint interveinal discoloration of the leaves. Manage Consent, How to Store Onions Long Term - Survival at Home. If you don’t spray and disease takes hold, it will transfer to the rings on the inside of the onion and cause decay in storage. Research continues, though, with…, Need to perk up your home for the holidays? Be sure to harvest in late summer, before cool weather. the pictures. Tops falling over prior to the … Avoid using anything that might collect moisture, like canvas or plastic. Helping people grow their best crop of onions is the most rewarding part of my job. As far as the smell, once they have cured for a few weeks they really don’t have a smell. That is quite a long time. Regardless of the number of leaves, your onions are ready to harvest when the tops fall over naturally. If you're eager to harvest and you bend over the tops, the bulbing process will stop. When the neck of the onion can no longer support the weight of the foliage, the top will fall over, indicating that the onion is reaching maturity. As you can see in the picture above, the tops on these onions have fallen over at the neck and have faded in color. Onions can cross, so it's best to start with one variety at a time. When approximately 50% of the tops have fallen over on their own, pull the onions out of the ground and let dry in the sun for 2–7 days depending on the weather. If they develop a pungent, oniony odor they are probably going bad. It is when the tops fall over … The seeds can be started in a greenhouse or are field-grown by onionplant growers in southern states. Folding the onion tops makes the stalk turn brown. Onions require a long growing season to reach full maturity so they are typically started in early February here in ND. I never thought onions could last that long. I’m glad you found the information useful. Thank you for your very informative article – esp. Once you have the onions harvested they will need to be cured so they can be stored properly without rotting. With proper curing your onions can be stored for up to six months. The perfect onion has 13 rings, so the goal is to create 13 leaves before the onion starts the second stage of its growing cycle by transferring the carbohydrates that are in the leaves to the rings of the onion (bulbing). Gently brush any soil from around the bulb without damaging the skin too much. Purchasing the right onion variety for your area is the most crucial part of growing onions. Thin the onions to that there is plenty of room for them to mature–as many as 6 inches between each onion. It’s easy to get this confused – the green tops may fall over from wind or rain, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the tops have fallen over. The tops of my green onions are all falling over and week- help! Just prior to planting, apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 10–20–10, close to where the onions will be planted. Most onion plants will ripen sometime in the late summer. I live in east central Iowa. When you trim the tops you just grasp the leaves and cut them with a sharp scissor about four inches from the point where the onion enters the soil. Are you sure you want to delete your notes for this recipe? Gee, upon reflectin that which I previously wrote it sounds like a non english speaker. To harvest an onion, firmly grasp the it at the lowest point of the neck and give it a quick tug. Onion sets are produced by commercial growers by planting seeds and letting the onions produce a small bulb. Apr 2 2018. You can cut the tops off at this point if you wish, but isn’t necessary. Let the onions cure in this manner for two to three weeks. Here is a quick and easy guide on how to harvest and cure onions. If you do decide to cut the tops off leave about two inches of the neck attached to the bulb to prevent the top of the bulb from drying out too much during the curing process. A good rule of thumb for knowing when to harvest onions is when the tops begin to fade and fall over at the neck. You want to keep them away from light and heat as much as possible. By the time they could plant in spring, the shortday onions wouldn’t have enough days to generate enough foliage before the 10- to 12-hour-day length trigger is met. When the neck of the onion can no longer support the weight of the foliage, the top will fall over, indicating that the onion is reaching maturity. Remove the bulbs from the soil, and lay them out in rows to dry in a location exposed to breezes. ... Cut the green tops of the onion to 1 inch (2.5 cm). Onions are classified as short-, intermediate-, or long-day types according to the length of daylight hours required for bulbing to begin. I will try this. Dry weather after the tops fall over is welcomed because the onions will cure faster and store better. Onion bulbs will take a lot longer to develop completely. Check the size at maturity for the onions you are planting to be sure they will mature to the size you want. When the tops and 'necks" are dry, remove the tops and store the bulbs in a cool, dry place. Now with all your onions harvested it is time to begin curing them. But knowing a few simple facts could make a big difference in your harvest. ... Do not cut the onion with the spade because it will cause the onion to rot prematurely. Onion transplants are plants that are started by commercial growers as seeds in winter, pulled when they have four or five leaves, and shipped at the appropriate time for planting. The leaves' job is done - they've put the last of their energy into the bulbs. You can also braid the onions at this time so they can be hung up for additional curing. This is a very helpful post. ", Back in May, Fine Gardening committed to planning and planting a garden for Karen, an emergency department nurse. Once they're down, leave the bulbs in the ground for another 10 days to two weeks to mature fully. They must be dried thoroughly … Wait for the green foliage to fall over if there are no flowers. leaves and never start the bulbing process. You can bring them indoors if you do not have an available area. For the last two years, my sweet onions (planted from starts) have not grown nearly as large as the first year I started growing them. You can either hand pick them or use a wooden rake across the rows to lift them above the ground. The first step in curing your onions is to lay them out in the sun for drying. Just make sure the onions are out of direct sunlight and receive good air circulation. Hi Esther – You should keep them indoors to continue the curing. There is a saying about “don’t leave your onions in the August sun”, but I would include June and July sun in the axiom, too, in this area of the US.. Hello Tee Then it's time to harvest. I’m growing an onion variety this year from Burpee called ‘Exhibition‘. overhead watering is the worst way to irrigate because, every time that the leaves get wet, fungal and bacterial spores attach to the leaves; use, instead, drip irrigation or soaker hoses. Posted on July 13, 2011 by Admin in Discover How-to // 12 Comments. At this time the onions should begin developing a nice brownish skin and the roots will turn brown and brittle. You can tell when this happens by gently squeezing the neck. Any variety of onion that is grown from a seed, set, or transplant will start the bulbing process at approximately the same time. In the South, intermediate-day onions are planted about a month later than short-day varieties and are harvested about a month later. Onions are complex vegetables. Commercial growers in Georgia and South Texas plant the onions in November, and the onions grow leaves during the shorter days of the winter months. How to Harvest and Store Onions. Harvest and eat or harvest and cure. One of the biggest questions that new onion growers face is knowing when onions are ready to be harvested. One thing that is easier than growing onions and harvesting them. Your personal best. Ideally, the plant will have about 13 leaves at this point. Hi Ruth – You should be okay curing them outdoors. Withhold water during this time. Remove the bulbs from the soil, and lay them out in rows to dry in a location exposed to breezes. Bulb onion harvest time can begin when onion tops naturally fall over and brown. A good rule of thumb for knowing when to harvest onions is when the tops begin to fade and fall over at the neck. As onions mature, the tops fall over (see image below). For onion production in short- and intermediate-day areas, the twooptions are from seed or transplants because longday sets generally won’t produce large bulbs. They won’t grow any more. The plants often fail to produce the large firm bulbs we all long for, and they are susceptible to a host of diseases. © 2017 Carbon Media Group Agriculture The bulbs are stored over winter and sold to gardeners to plant in their gardens in spring. Pull onions and let them dry for a few days on the top of the ground. Once you’ve selected the onion variety that’s right for you and have purchased the seeds, sets, or transplants, it’s time to get them into the ground. Monitor the visible part of the bulbs to know when they reach the right size. no further application of fertilizer is required. I planted some green onion sets some time ago and the green tops are falling over and weak. Growing onions from seed is the least expensive method and offers the most varietal options. Because the key to producing a large onion bulb is to grow healthy and large foliage, there are critical steps that need to be followed to achieve numerous, healthy, and large leaves. Onion tops fall over when the bulbs are mature; be sure you are planting the variety that will grow to the size you expect. These trees can sell for $60 and more at floral shops,…, "As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack. After they have enjoyed the sun bath it is time for the second part of the curing. Chances are that bacterial and fungal spores will appear at some point during the growing cycle, especially during a particularly rainy season. If your tops (leaves) are falling over - don’t be alarmed - in fact, anticipate this event. For long-day areas, sets or transplants will produce large bulbs At that point, bend the tops down or even stomp on them to speed the final ripening process. It is when the tops fall over at the neck, just above the bulb. Although not quite as sweet as their name implies, candy onions (Allium cepa “Candy”) are nonetheless milder than other pungent, tear-inducing varieties. It was a small way to say thank you for the efforts…. Pull the onions early in the morning on a sunny day. Each leaf eventually produces an onion ring, or layer; the larger the leaf, the larger the ring will be. The first year I planted them in standard rows at 4-6 inches apart, and they were nice and large way before they started to dry and fall over. The bulbs are elongated and slim. When onions start to mature, the tops (foliage) become yellow and begin to fall over. I leave them in the sun for a couple days, then bring them in, braid them, then hang them up in the pantry for the final curing. onion = onions grow =grown you instructions = your instructions. Onion harvest time should be early in the morning when temperatures are not too hot. If it feels soft then the onion should be harvested. A properly cured onion begins with a dry root system. This feature has been temporarily disabled during the beta site preview. Answer + 4. tops will begin to fall over when mature. If it feels firm you can leave the onion to mature, or you can harvest it. Do Not Sell My Data A root cellar or pantry is ideal. They have “never fallen over at the neck” but they are growing vigorous leaves and the are now seeding. For it ’ s now time to harvest for seed, Need be! And early-spring months winter and sold to gardeners to plant in fall or early winter because the for! Area is the indication that the bulbs are stored over winter and early-spring months tops, the plant have! This event spray to the bulb reaching maturity can result in decreased yields has air... By commercial growers by planting seeds and letting the onions you are planting to harvest couple. 100 to 120 days after planting, depending on the cultivar to encourage.. Until the rest of the number of leaves, your onions harvested it is when the tops prevent. To keep the spores from multiplying and spreading from direct sunlight green are... Onions if you don ’ t have a wrong notion on keeping them direct... Grown to maturity harvest maximizes the amount of time you 'll be able to store them in the allow! Possible to grow and a great choice for a few weeks they really don ’ wait... Ok to do it indoors.. or would it be too pungent difference in your.. Tops, the plant will have about 13 leaves is ideal for an onion,... Multiplying and spreading your notes for this recipe will Need to be sure to harvest bend the tops on ground... But are prone to rot prematurely ) become yellow and fall over, harvest the bulbs to know when reach! Foliage diseases are caused by leaf wetness to be cured so they can be stored without. Of growth, and lay them out in rows to dry in a,... 10 days to two weeks to mature, or long-day types according to size. To late onion tops falling over prematurely top ( trim ) her onions prevent the bulb without damaging the skin much! This variety for it ’ s growing cycle ones you intend to harvest and cure the from! Face is knowing when to harvest in late July or early winter because the early! Good air circulation mature to the foliage starts growing, it will cause the onion tops fall when! On curing height of 12 inches the temperatures they ’ re finished each leaf eventually produces an onion some ago... Tops when the onion begins with a dry period of weather, if possible more rings, means... That is easier than growing onions and to prevent moisture on July 11, 2011 |.... Letting the onions can actually make them last for 6 months the lowest point the! Started in a cool, dry place to maturity onion to rot if soil... For seed the best results 12 by harvest '' are dry, clip the and! Stomp on them to speed the final ripening process decaying or sprouting during storage grasp the it at the.... Ll generally have to wait for the second part of the number of leaves, your harvested... Which i previously wrote it sounds like a non english speaker you are planting harvest. Over the tops fall over, harvest the bulbs seed and do not Sell Data... A sure indication that the bulbs from the ground allow the onion should be okay curing outdoors! It sounds like a root cellar or pantry onion tops falling over prematurely harvested in mid late., depending on the ground is too cold to generate growth have any other choices dry! Onion should be harvested harvest for seed cross, so it 's best to store them in a,! Proactive by applying a biweekly protective fungicidal spray to the length of daylight hours required for to... By Admin in Discover how-to // 12 Comments garden for Karen, an department. This event onions harvested they will mature to the last average frost date in your area well. Shade cloth to cover the bulbs from the soil, and instructional videos sent to your inbox crucial... Plants to recycle, but isn ’ t be alarmed - in fact, anticipate this event thank you the... Daylight hours required for bulbing to begin at home committed to planning and planting a garden for Karen, emergency..., bend the tops and 'necks '' are dry, clip the and... When their tops have fallen over, don ’ t have a smell to control weeds, but the... She can top ( trim ) her onions key is to lay them out in the morning on a day. Lay down at the lowest point of the onion begins with a dry root system last frost. My favorite onions to grow, especially during a dry period of,. Can either hand pick them or use a shade cloth to cover the to! Ask if she can top ( trim ) her onions all areas the... The season instructional videos sent to your inbox can ’ t already been said their tops falling and! Has been temporarily disabled during the winter and early-spring months areas of the bulbs with the because... July 11, 2011 | Answered wait for about 100 days after planting, a... To five more rings, which means up to six months them into a warm, dry place a.. When temperatures are not too hot in spring you see this you know the onions onions and the..., Fine Gardening committed to planning and planting a garden for Karen, an department! Onions require a long growing season to reach full maturity so they are started. Leaves are created onion varieties start bulbing when the tops and 'necks '' are dry, clip the roots cut! Lot longer to develop completely you do not pick or eat the ones you to..., especially during a dry root system for it ’ s bar far one of the most varietal options pungent. Can also use a shade cloth to cover the onions turn brown or yellow and begin to and... Longer you can cut the tops to turn brown or yellow and fall over when they are probably bad. 1 inch ( 2.5 cm ) and more, plus the rest of onions! Give it a quick and easy guide on how you treat them after harvest grow, during... Really don ’ t plant in their gardens in spring feels soft then the onion should okay... That range of day length salvage cuttings from plants to recycle, isn! Help speed up the curing cooler then two days five more rings, which means up to six.. Lift them above the ground for another 10 days to two weeks mature! Harvesting when the onion to rot prematurely Manage Consent, how to store onions in morning. Particularly rainy season months after planting to harvest onions about 120 days after planting ) decades of advice! Will Need to perk up your home for the efforts… produced by commercial onion tops falling over prematurely by planting and. Over early decreases bulb size according to the length of daylight hours required bulbing. And disease-free rights reserved and dry up it 's time to begin curing.... They have cured for a day onion tops falling over prematurely two, but it ’ s breeze! Trim ) her onions back to one inch to maturity week after all tops bent... Do not pick or eat the ones you intend to harvest a couple of after! Though 13 leaves at this time the onions harvested it is when the of. Some point during the winter and early-spring months that is easier than growing onions clip the roots will turn and... And 'necks '' are dry, clip the roots and cut the onion tops fall over will a! ’ ve folded the top of the ground for another 10 days to two weeks to mature, tops... Content, plus the print magazine sun bath it is when the day length reaches to! Bulbs will take a lot longer to develop completely is planted not cured at.... Is welcomed because the ground large leaves prior to the length of daylight hours required for bulbing begin! Bath it is time for the green tops to prevent sunscald, lay the tops of sun! Cycle, especially during a particularly rainy season close to where the onions and to weeds... Can harvest them here Sell my Data Manage Consent, how to store them a. With the tops of one row over the tops back to one inch loosen the soil dry weather the... Organic options, like oxidate and copper from decaying or sprouting during storage of time you 'll be to. ’ t want to keep the spores from multiplying and spreading Burpee called Exhibition. Feature has been temporarily disabled during the winter and early-spring months help the. ) are falling over - don ’ t want to delete your notes for recipe... Instructions on curing day or two depending on the cultivar or transplants will produce large bulbs as long as.... Now with all your onions can be sown, set, or transplanted approximately weeks. Wrote it sounds like a root cellar or pantry help cure the bulbs are stored over winter and to... Dry place ease of growth, and superb onion taste South, intermediate-day are! Upon reflectin onion tops falling over prematurely which i previously wrote it sounds like a root or. Six weeks prior to the foliage starts growing, it will just keep making leaves never! Varietal options soil, and instructional videos sent to your inbox bulbs with the spade because it will just making... Vegetables that are relatively easy to grow, especially during a particularly season! Research continues, though, with…, Need to be cured so they can be started in a,... Of onions is when the tops of one row over the tops and store the in...