[Market-farming] onions?

mf at austinfarm.org mf at austinfarm.org
Mon May 5 22:32:48 EDT 2003

On Mon, May 05, 2003 at 08:58:05PM -0500, Bill Bradshaw wrote:
> We have been pulling onions fresh and selling them by the bunch, 4 onions to
> the bunch. We have not grown onions before. So my question is when the tops
> start to fall over how long do you have to wait before you can dig them?
> Also after they are dug how long should they dry before cutting the tops and
> removing from the field. These are short day onions. Thanks Bill Bradshaw
> Cherokee Co. Texas

I'm a newbie onion grower myself, but here are my observations.  I 
don't think the bulbs grow after the tops fall, so you can pull them 
as soon as they fall over.  Two years ago, I put one batch of onions on 
the gravel floor of a barn and left them un-clipped for several weeks; 
they came out ok, but left a mess in the barn.  Another batch, I laid 
out under a cedar tree; they got rained on and most of them rotted.

This year, the last onions I planted fell over first, about 2 weeks ago.  
The first planted onions are just now starting to fall over.  The first 
batch, I put un-clipped in cnep plastic crates that seem to have good 
air circulation.  I put them in about one layer deep and stacked the 
crates about eight high in a barn.  Close monitoring revealed that the 
tops were molding and rotting after a few days, especially on the lower 
crates.  So, I took a day off and clipped all the tops.  Right now, they 
seem to be in good shape and we are selling them.  We are also selling 
bunched onions, but ones that have not fallen over.

In the next week or two, I think I'll clip the tops as I pull them.  If 
it stays dry, maybe I will pull them one day and pick them up and clip 
them another.

I think the big guys pull them, leave them in the field a few days, and 
then clip them as they bag them.  

We haven't had significant rain in about 70 days.  Picked our first 
blackberries today.

Willie, ashamed that dixie chicks are from Austin
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