Harvest onions - when is the best time to harvest onions?

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Onion harvest - best harvest time

The optimum harvest time of the onion can not be easily determined by determining a time period. The timing of the harvest, the way in which it is harvested, and the further treatment of the onions have a great influence on the quality and above all on the durability. Cultivation and onion variety play an important role. However, the weather at harvest time also determines how the Allium cepa must be treated after maturity.


The harvest time for the popular kitchen onion is sometime between June and September. The exact period depends on whether the onions were sown or whether onion sets were set. Of course, then play the time of sowing, or the time when the onion was set, an essential role for the harvest time. The exact date then finally give the weather and the bulbs themselves.
cultivation method
When growing a distinction between the sowing of onion seed and setting onion onions. Another distinction is whether it is summer or winter onions and what type of onion you have selected.
To put onion sets is not as costly as sowing onions seeds. Who puts winter onions in autumn, can reap early next year. However, the onions are generally not as well storable as the seed onions.
sowing onions
The harvest time of pickled onions depends on the onion species, whether it is a winter or summer onion. Then it depends once again on exactly when sowing in autumn, or when in the spring.
  • If the seeds are sown in March or April, you can expect between August and September with the harvest. This is the seed for summer onions.
  • Anyone sowing the seeds of winter onions in August can count on the harvest as early as June or July of the following year.
onion sets
The onion bulbs also have both cultivars represented, the summer and winter bulbs. Here it is similar to the sowing:
  • If you put the winter onions in autumn (September, October), you can start harvesting at the end of June of the following year.
  • If the onion is used only in spring, depending on the weather in March or April, the harvest can take place later, usually from August.


When making a purchase, you first decide which type of onion you would like to plant. Only then will the decisions be made on an exact variety selection, on pecking or onion bulbs, for spring or autumn. There is also the possibility to first set up onion with onion bulbs and then use them next year either in autumn or spring. For the culinary aspect in the kitchen are available:
  • household onion
  • onion
  • Pearl Onion
  • shallots
  • Red onion
  • White onion
  • spring onion

Onion harvest - best harvest time

Now it can go into more detail. For example, whether sufficient winter hardiness is required for the autumn planting or whether you want to do a lot of work (sowing) or less work (onion sets). What are the storage options? And from when should be harvested?
Some popular varieties:
Onion 'Stuttgart Giant'
They are big, yellow and very well storable. In addition, they get along very well with cold. The sowing and planting of the onion can be done very early in spring in summer planting.
Seed or onion 'Zittauer yellow'
They are characterized by a firm, spicy and fine-shelled tuber. They are very durable. In the same year, when summer onion is set or sown, they are ready for harvest already in July.
Winter onion 'Presto'
The Presto is big and round with a fine shell. As a onion, it promises an early harvest, a high yield and can be stored for up to four months.
Winter seed 'Express Yellow'
A popular yellow onion of the fast species. It can be sown in August and harvested in late spring or early summer.
Onion 'Red Karmen'
It is dark red and quite sharp. Extremely bulletproof and can already be harvested in July. The Red Karmen can be stored until December.

Recognize harvest time

Of course, one can narrow down the time of harvest by selecting the variety of onion and the time of planting. However, the exact day of harvesting depends solely on how the onions look and, if possible, also on the weather.
It is important to know that in the summer the onion prepares slowly for the winter. That is, from the leaves, the nutrients are stored in the tuber. As a result, the leaves yellow and wither. This process runs from the tips of the leaves down to the tuber. The onions have their highest maturity so if:
  • at least one third of the foliage is yellowed and dry
  • the onion leaves, mostly dry, lie on the ground
It is best to harvest the onions in dry weather. So the onions on the bed can ripen in peace and drought.
If the right time to harvest is not met, then it can happen
  • the storage capacity suffers (too early harvest)
  • Drop the peels and quickly drain the onion (too late harvest)

Onion harvest - best harvest time

Optimal is a dry weather during the harvest. This is important for the shelf life of onions. If a dry, warm weather prevails, you can speed up the maturation process. To do this, use a grave fork to loosen the onion root a little bit from the ground. This stops the growth and removes the remaining nutrients from the leaves.
This procedure is more effective than the traditional trick of simply kicking the leaves. Thus, only an emergency maturity is initiated and diseases or pests can easily penetrate into the onion. The onion is more prone to rot and significantly loses storage ability.
Tip: A few weeks before the harvest is due, you should stop watering. A warm, dry soil helps to dry out the foliage. The formation of the onion is thus promoted and it can be stored longer.


In nice weather
If you are fortunate enough to catch some dry days for the onion harvest, you can leave the harvested onions on the bed. The loose shells are removed and the onions are freed from the earth. Now it is called every two days, turn. 10 days would be optimal for this process. One speaks of the Nachreifezeit. The onions get a solid, thick shell and are perfect for storage. After that, the onions can be freed from leaves, laid out in a fruit box. Or they are tied together with the leaves into bundles, braided traditionally, and hung in a dry place.
In humid weather
In rainy weather you can not leave the onions on the bed. The onions must be spread out in fruit crates in a covered place dry. It is important that enough air is available for each onion. Whenever the sun shines in between, the boxes can be exposed.
Of course you can, as soon as proper bulb bulbs are recognizable, harvest them for immediate consumption. Lightly damaged onions should, if possible, be consumed immediately and only allow the undamaged specimens to ripen for storage.
Tip: If you are a natural gardener, you can also leave some onions in the bed. These will bloom next year. Bees and other nectar suckers are happy about that.


Onion harvest - best harvest time

The variety, the harvest time and the maturity are important parameters for how long you can store your harvested onions. For storage itself the following conditions are optimal:
  • Storage temperature relatively cool
  • no frost and no temperatures above 28° C
  • dry and airy storage
  • Store in the dark
  • do not store with potatoes or fruit
  • do not turn during storage
  • from time to time inspect for damaged, beaten and rotten onions, sort them out
  • Storage in a basket, in fruit crates, in the net
To process even picked and harvested onions in the kitchen, that just makes you feel good. As a middle-earner, the bulbous plants are not too demanding in terms of care either. Those who would like to store them for longer should consider a few things when selecting the variety, the harvest and the subsequent storage. The basic rule is: The more moist the onions are harvested, the shorter the post-ripening period, the shorter the storage time.

Video Board: Harvesting Onions & How To Tell When They Are Ready To Be Harvested.

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