3 Harvest-Ready Signs for Your Onions

from Dixondale Farms:

One of the most common questions we get is, “How will I know my onions are ready to harvest?”

One way is by keeping track of the number of leaves on your onion plants. While 13 is the ideal number of onion leaves, some onion varieties may mature with fewer leaves than that. When your plants reach at least seven leaves, start watching them carefully. There will be three key physical signs that your onions are mature and should be harvested.

1. Soft Neck

When the area right above the neck (the place where the leaves meet the bulb) starts feeling soft, the transfer of carbohydrates from the leaves to the rings has finished, and the final cell division within the rings has occurred. At this stage, you should water less frequently, to prevent sour skin and black mold occurring in wet soils.

2. Tops Falling Over
When some of the tops fall over, this reflects 100% soft neck, even though not all the tops are down. If you are planning to consume the onions right away, this is the earliest stage they can be harvested
and the tops cut off. There is good skin development at this stage, and adequate green tops to prevent sunscald during drying.

When all the tops are down, the onion is finished pulling sugars out of the top and moisture out of its roots. But skin development will continue to occur. If growing for storage, a light last watering should take place, to allow onions to respire some moisture before harvest. For sweeter onions, give them a moderate final watering.

3. Last Leaf

Examine all the leaves, particularly the most recent one to appear (last leaf). The leaf sheaths mature and dry from the oldest to the youngest leaf. If you pull the onions from the soil before the last leaf is dry, rot could occur during storage. The neck cavity or top of the onion should not be sunken or soft before lifting the onions out of the soil.

It’s best to remove your onions in the morning, before the worst of the heat and direct sunlight occur.

After Lifting Your Onions
Now that your plants are out of the soil, you’ll want them to last as long as possible. This requires thorough drying and curing.

Happy harvests, everyone!

signature

Bruce “Onionman” Frasier

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s