onions should be done when the tops start to turn brown and fall over. Don’t try harvesting
onions by pulling them up by the tops or you can damage them, making them
susceptible to fungus when in storage.
fork them up gently, brush the dirt off the roots (don’t damage or remove the
skin), and lay them on the surface of the ground for two or three days to
“cure”. Lay them out in rows like shingles, with the tops of one row covering
the bulb of the next. This will prevent the hot sun from causing sunscald
damage to the bulbs.
If your onions are ready to harvest but it looks like it’s going to rain in the next few
days, you’ll need to bring them indoors to cure. Lay them out on newspapers in
a warm dry place. It takes longer to cure onions indoors (up to two weeks), because
the sun isn’t helping you out. 65-70% humidity and 75-80 degrees F. is ideal for curing onions.
cured when the skins are loose and dry. Leave as much of the skins on as you
can, as the skins help protect the onion during storage.
you do, don’t let harvested onions get wet (!), either by washing them off or
by inadvertently leaving them out in the rain. Also, don’t forget to turn the
irrigation off if they’re curing in the field, too.
the tops are fully dried and your onions are ready for storage, you can
- cut the tops off about an inch above the onion, for storage in orchard drawers or other airy place
- leave about 6" of stem on the onion, and make an onion string
- leave the whole stem on and make an onion braid
For more on braiding or stringing onions, visit the Storing Onions page below.
Read more about growing onions in these Related Articles:
- How to Grow Onions
Why choosing the right variety for your latitude is critical, and optimal soil and climate conditions for growing onions.
- Planting Onions
How and when to plant onions, whether from seed, sets or transplants (and what the difference is).
- Onion Diseases
The most common onion diseases and how to prevent them.
- Onion Bolting
How to prevent onions from bolting, and what to do if they have already started going to seed.
- Storing Onions
There are several ways to store onions over the winter months, including braiding, use of orchard racks, and pantyhose!
- Types of Onions
Types and varieties of onions, and why day length matters.
- Growing Onions from Seed
How to successfully grow onions from seed, including start times, transplant times and more.
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