Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Time to Harvest the Onions? with Update April 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 9:30 am

Something is up with my onions.  Some of them have fallen over.  At first I thought a herd of cats had laid on them.  Then I thought it must be from the storm on Saturday night.  But the wind would have blown them all over, right?  You are supposed to know onions are ready for harvest when they turn yellow and fall over.  Mine weren’t yellow.  But, then again, they have been in the ground for 129 days.  I really wanted to let my onions mature this year, since I always pull them early.  But, I had to see what was going on, so I harvested the ones that had fallen over.

Fallen onions

harvested onions

They aren’t huge, but not too small either.  Certainly no rival for Milagro Farms’ onions at the Farmer’s Market.  They are edible at any stage in growth, so these will become part of dinner soon.  The remainder will stay in the ground, until they turn yellow and fall over, or I get impatient, whichever comes first.

I spoke with the resident onion expert, Chris, of Milagro Farms at the Triangle Farmer’s Market yesterday regarding this onion falling over thing.  He said that I was correct to pull them, and that they don’t always turn yellow.  The falling over, means the bulbing process has stopped, and they are ready to be pulled.  I have since harvested more, and will soon pull them all and have an additional two gardens to plant with something else.


2 Responses to “Time to Harvest the Onions? with Update”

  1. It looks like they have been blown over prematurely by the storm and the rain. Several obvious physiological conditions indicate thorough drying. These include the complete drying of roots, foliage, and several layers of skin on the bulb. The dry skins should have a uniform color and texture. The best indicator of complete drying is the condition of the neck of the onion. The neck should be dry nearly to the surface of the onion and should not slide back and forth when squeezed between the thumb and forefinger. Onions that are packed before they are thoroughly dry will quickly decay. The most common postharvest disease is “neck rot,” which results when Botrytis and similar pathogens enter an incompletely dried neck wound. Once an onion is infected, there is nothing that can be done to stop the decay.

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