Harvesting and Drying Onions

We planted red and white onions on February 1, 2014. Once the green above ground onion leaves were about 4 inches, in March, mulch was added to the raised bed.

Onions signal that they are ready for harvest when the green portion bends at the “neck” and falls over (see “Onion Plant Bending at Neck”). Some people harvest when about 1/4 of the total onion crop has bent to the ground, but we harvest each onion as it indicates it is ready. Continue reading

Fresh Mulch on the Onions — Check!

Freshly Mulched Onions, Mar. 22, 2014

Freshly Mulched Onions, Mar. 22, 2014

Over the weekend, weeds were removed from among the onions and mulch was added. Despite several days of well below freezing temperatures over the past four weeks, these onions look pretty healthy above ground!

Onions generally need 100 to 120 days from planting to harvesting. These were planted from seed onions on February 1, 2014 (read blog post).  We’ll start watching for signs of maturity for harvesting in Mid-May.

Onions are ready to harvest when the base of the green stalk bends and the thin green leaves are lying on the ground (pictures of maturity for harvest will be provided in an updated post at harvesting).

Onions planted!

Seed Onions Planted February 2, 2014

Seed Onions to be Planted

In this area (USDA Zone 8b in Texas), onions can be planted at now

When preparing to grow onions in the garden:

  • Purchase onion varieties that will grow in your area. These onions (pictured above) were purchased from our local Co-OP. The two kinds of onions we planted are; Texas Legend (yellow onion) and Hybrid Southern Bell Red (red onion).
  • Check if the ground temperature range is 45 to 60 degrees (preferred temperature range for successful onion growing).
  • Remove weeds from the garden bed.
  • Plant onions about 6 inches apart and 2 inches deep in the soil.
  • Wait until the green tops fall over on the ground before harvesting.

The picture below illustrates that the white bulby part of the onion is not visible above ground.

Onion Planted Feb 1, 2014

Onion Planted Feb 1, 2014

Onion Trivia:  Long Day versus Short Day  Onions.

Select an appropriate class of onion for your region. In Southern states, the soil is sufficiently warm in February, so plant short day onion varieties. In the northern states, it will be at least late April until the soil temperature is minimally warm enough, so plant long-day onions.

Why? Spring days are shorter than Summer days — long day onions will not grow in the southern heat conditions (when day length is longer), so  in Southern states, plant early and use short-day onions for best growth during Spring/early summer.