[Market-farming] onions

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Wed Oct 21 13:07:01 EDT 2009

Interesting. I havc found onions one of the more drought-resistant 
things I grow; at least, once they've got well started.

Maybe there are variety differences? or maybe you have sandier soil 
than I do? My soil has a lot of clay in it; which has some 
disadvantages of course, but it does help hold the water.

I do drip irrigate them if things get really dry, but most years it's 
not worth running the drip tape into them. -- and mine, by the way, are 
not grown in plastic; I only use plastic for the heat-loving crops, and 
not for all of those.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

On Oct 21, 2009, at 8:20 AM, Bill Shoemaker wrote:

>> 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.
> Bill
> 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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