[Market-farming] onions

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at illinois.edu
Wed Oct 21 08:20:53 EDT 2009

> I think onions like it wet, real wet, for a long time.

Onions have short, dense root systems so its really easy for them to run out of water most years. Long ago I did some work with drip irrigation on onions. It made an immense difference to water every 3 days. Onions have a a plant-building stage, then a bulb-building stage. Daylength (actually length of night) determines when the shift occurs. Different varieties have different daylength requirements (long-day, short-day, intermediate). It is critical to have the plant well-developed before this shift. Water is the key, both before and after the shift. Mulch and weed control are just as important, but mainly because of how they impact water availability. Use well-developed transplants and never let them starve for water. You can grow great onions this way.

William H Shoemaker, UI-Crop Sciences
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
St Charles Horticulture Research Center
535 Randall Road  St Charles, IL  60174
630-584-7254; FAX-584-4610

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