When to Harvest Onions Planted in Spring

With the warmer months coming, gardeners are excited to pick their spring onions. They wonder when the best time is to harvest them. The answer might be unexpected.

How do you know when your onions are ready to harvest? Your onion patch tells you everything you need to know. Watching it closely lets you pick the perfect time.

Determining Onion Readiness for Harvesting

Know your onions are ready for harvest when the green tops turn yellow and fall. This means they're done growing and starting to mature. To be sure, gently push the soil away from the bulbs.

Harvest onions with big bulbs and thick necks. Don't pick ones with thin, weak necks because they're not fully mature. The key to tasty, storeable onions is harvesting them at just the right time.

A good onion has at least seven leaves, but 13 is perfect. Wait for 85-90% of the tops to fall over before picking. If all the tops are down, it's ready. This shows the onions are mature enough.

It's important to watch the last leaf dry to avoid rot. Only lift the onions when the necks are not sunken or soft. After, dry and cure them properly for longer storage.

Indicator
Value
Recommended number of leaves
At least 7, with 13 considered "perfect"
Percentage of tops fallen over
85-90%
Neck cavity condition
Not sunken or soft
Curing temperature
75-90 degrees F
Curing duration
2-4 weeks

Proper Timing for Onion Harvest

The best time to pick onions that were planted in the spring is usually late summer. This is when the leaves are dead and the bulbs are fully grown. Look for the onion tops to turn yellow and fall. When they do, it means it's time to pull them from the ground.

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It's important to pick onions on a dry day. Wet onions can't dry out well and might rot during storage. Once the tops are down, gently loosen the soil around them. This step is to help them dry out better. Don't pick onions that still have thin necks, as they might not be ripe enough.

Usually, the best time to harvest most of your onions is in late July or August. Doing this lets you store them for longer. If you pick them at the right time, your onions should last a long while. This way, you'll have plenty all year round.

Onion Variety
Typical Harvest Time
Storage Potential
'Candy'
Late Summer
4-6 months
'Patterson'
Late Summer
6-8 months
'Southport Red Globe'
Late Summer
3-5 months

Stick to these tips and pick your onions at the ideal time. This ensures they are properly mature and good for long-term storage. By doing so, you'll get the most out of your spring onions. Enjoy their great taste all year.

Post-Harvest Curing and Storage

After picking onions, it's vital to cure and store them well. This helps keep them fresh for longer. Curing means drying the onions until they develop a protective, dry skin.

Start by placing the onions in a shaded, dry place. Leave them there for a few days. This allows the onion's skin and roots to dry completely, making them tough and papery.

  1. Trim the tops and roots of the cured onions. Also, remove any loose layers.
  2. Keep the onions in a cool, well-aired place between 40-60°F with little dampness.
  3. Don't store onions with apples, pears, or potatoes. These fruits and veggies release a gas that can make the onions spoil sooner.
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With the right care, onions planted in the spring last up to 4-5 months. This means you can enjoy onions all year. The trick is to provide storage that's like the conditions onions have naturally. This helps them stay dormant but fresh.

Onion Variety
Storage Duration
Sweet Onions
1-3 months
Storage Onions
3-9 months

The type of onion and how and where it's grown affect how long it keeps. Some kinds, like "Rossa Di Milano" and "Valencia," last longer. Knowing how to cure, store, and pick the right varieties makes a big difference. This is for both home gardeners and small farmers who want their onions to last as long as possible after harvest.

Onion Varieties and Days to Maturity

Choosing the right onion type for your area is very important when planting in the spring. Onions require different amounts of daylight to grow bulbs. There are three types: short-day, intermediate, and long-day onions.

For places with 10 to 12 hours of daylight like the south, short-day onions work best. Varieties like 'Stuttgarter' and 'White Bermuda' reach full size in about 100 days.

In areas with 12 to 14 hours of daylight, intermediate onions do well. 'Red Burgundy' and 'Sweet Sandwich' onions are good picks. They usually mature in 110 to 120 days.

If your area gets 14 to 16 hours of daylight, long-day onions are the right choice. 'Yellow Sweet Spanish' and 'Walla Walla' onions are examples. They need the most time to mature, around 120 to 140 days.

When choosing onion varieties for spring planting, make sure they match your area's climate and day length. This will help ensure they grow well and reach maturity at the right time. By knowing the onion varieties for your climate, you can select the right onion for your climate. Then, you can look forward to a great harvest.

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Conclusion

Harvesting spring-planted onions at the right time is key. They need the right curing and storage. This is how you get a lot of good onions for the whole year. Look for signs they are ready, like yellow leaves and thick necks. Pick them in dry weather. Then, cure them to take out extra water. After that, put them in a cool, airy place to store for 5 months.

If you choose the correct onions and follow top tips, you can grow lots and save them for later. It's all about knowing how to keep onions fresh and how to pull them right from the ground. To really succeed with onions, keep learning about what they need.

It doesn't matter if you plant onions at home or buy them locally. Knowing about growing and storing onions will make sure you always have some. Onions are very important in cooking. And with the right knowledge, you'll never run out.

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