For most gardeners, onions are one of the main vegetable crops. This is for good reason, since a good housewife uses onions in almost every savory dish she cooks. And when the time comes for harvesting for the winter, not a single twist can do without it. Well, even children know about the beneficial and medicinal properties of onions. In addition, in the garden, due to its phytoncidal properties, it often acts as a repeller of various harmful insects. But if the experience of gardening is still small, then many find it difficult to determine exactly the timing of harvesting onions. But the degree and duration of its storage in winter depends on how long the onion was removed from the garden.
What determines the timing of harvesting onions
Even from their grandmothers and grandfathers, many have heard that onions need to be removed when the leaves begin to turn yellow, dry and fall. But after all, only experience makes it possible to distinguish yellow and dried leaves due to diseases from onion feathers, which dry out naturally. In addition, it happens that August is already in the yard - and the onions continue to turn green as if nothing had happened. What to do in this case? It is necessary to figure out for ourselves when you still need to harvest onions in the Moscow region and what these terms depend on.
After all, if you remove it ahead of time, then it may not have time to form covering scales, and its neck will remain thick and open. Pathogens of various diseases can easily penetrate through it even when the bulbs are in the garden. Therefore, these bulbs will quickly deteriorate during storage.
If the onion is overexposed in the garden, then it may crack and fall off dry scales and the roots will begin to germinate again, which will also adversely affect the further storage of the bulbs.
It is at the time of yellowing and lodging of green onion feathers that the maximum amount of nutrients usually accumulates in the bulbs. In this case, the false stem usually softens, loses its elasticity, and the formed bulb acquires a color characteristic of the planted variety.
Accordingly, the timing of harvesting onions directly depends on the type of plant that you planted.
Attention! On average, for different varieties of onions, from the moment of planting to the time of harvesting, it takes from 70 to 80 days.
Therefore, if you planted onions in the traditional time for the Moscow region - mid-late May, then the time for harvesting the bulbs should fall on the end of July - mid-August.
In general, beginner gardeners can be advised to write down the date of planting the onion sets in the ground and, after 70 days, check whether it is ready for harvesting or not.
Advice! You can check this in the old folk way - dig up a few bulbs and cut off their leaves to the base of the neck.
Wait two to three days. If during this time the stem begins to protrude from the neck again, it means that the onion is not yet ripe.
Let him sit in the ground for a week or two. If you haven't noticed any changes, you can safely dig it out.
But at the same time, it should be borne in mind that the ripening of the bulbs is greatly influenced by weather conditions: temperature and rainfall. If the summer was rather warm and dry, or even hot, then the bulbs are able to ripen much faster than the prescribed time. If there was a lot of rain in the first summer months, and the temperature could be called more cool than hot, then by August the onions may not yet be ready for harvesting at all. If the terms that you have determined are already coming up, and its leaves still continue to turn green, the neck continues to remain juicy and thick, and there are imperceptibly colored scales on the bulbs, then you can try to speed up the ripening process in various folk ways.
It is especially important to do this if the weather forecast foretells rainy weather in the near future. After all, not only do the onions need to be harvested in sunny and dry weather. After harvesting, it still needs a thorough and long-term drying.
So, what can you do to speed up the ripening of the bulbs:
- First of all, completely remove the watering of the bulbous beds 2-4 weeks before the expected harvest time.
- After the feathers of the onion have practically stopped growing, it is advisable to rake off the soil and almost completely free the bulb. This technique is especially relevant for the northern regions and heavy clay soils, where the sun's heat does not reach the bulbs hidden under the ground.
- You can also gently lift the bulbs with a pitchfork, slightly tearing the roots to reduce the supply of nutrients to the bulb. Some gardeners completely mow the leaves a week before harvesting - but this is not the best technique, as it leads to significant losses in yield.
- But trampling on green onion feathers prevents the formation of flower arrows, and thereby saves a significant part of the harvest.
It must be understood that the ripening time of the bulbs also depends on their growing method. If you grow onions from seeds, then the ripening time will increase significantly. There are also two options here. When sowing seeds in winter (nigella), onions are usually harvested in the second half of August. If you sow the seeds in early spring, then the bulbs will ripen no earlier than early September. After harvesting and drying, onions must be sorted into the following types:
- Onions (at least 4-5 cm in diameter)
- Onion sets (1 to 4 cm in diameter)
- Onion sets, planted before winter (less than 1 cm)
Features of harvesting onions
Harvesting onions is most beneficial in dry and windy weather. If there is light sandy loam soil in the beds, then the bulbs are very easily pulled out of the ground by the dried leaves. On heavier soils along the rows, use a pitchfork or shovel to lift the soil some distance away from the bulbs to avoid damaging the bulbs. In addition, when digging in, it is better to pick the bulbs with your hands, since if you pull out carelessly, the bulb can lose its bottom and easily rot during subsequent storage.
Important! Do not shake off the soil from the bulbs by tapping them on the ground, since even small mechanical damage adversely affects their storage.
If necessary, carefully remove the soil from the bulbs by hand. Dry the onions well immediately after harvesting. If the weather is dry, warm and sunny, then the crop is laid out right on the ground in rows so that the bulbs look in one direction and the leaves in the other. Plants must be turned over every day so that the sun has time to warm up and disinfect all the bulbs. This drying should take at least two weeks. In unfavorable weather conditions (rain, cloudy weather), it is better to lay out the crop for drying under a canopy or in any ventilated room under a roof.
Even during the harvesting of the onion, it must be sorted out, choosing damaged bulbs, as well as those that have a thick neck. They will need to be consumed in the first place, since they cannot be stored for a long time.
Drying of the onions ends when all the onions have a thin and dry neck, and you can freely stick your hand into the pile of onions. If your hand gets stuck, then the onion is not completely dry yet.
Unfortunately, the weather is not always favorable, and sometimes the onions have to be harvested in the rain and in the absence of the sun. In this case, the bulbs must be washed immediately, cleaned of greens and husks, cut off the roots and spread in a single layer in a warm, dry, ventilated area. After 18-20 days, the bulbs will develop a new layer of outer husk. It can be arranged in cardboard boxes and stored in a dry, frost-free room.
If the onions have been grown in too moist or manure-rich soils, then drying them simply may not be enough. To protect such onions from neck rot during storage, it must be additionally dried at a high temperature. At a temperature of + 42 ° + 43 ° С, eight hours of drying are enough, at a temperature of + 32 ° + 33 ° С it is necessary to dry for about 5 days.
Keep the onions braided in braids - in this case, the dry leaves are not cut off. Or you can cut the leaves 4 cm from the neck and put them in cardboard boxes or nylon stockings and hang them. In this form, onions can be stored for up to 18 months.
It is not difficult to decide on the timing of harvesting onions - you just need to observe the weather conditions and the condition of the plants themselves.