The botanical name for onions is Allium cepa, they are an indispensable spice in a variety of meals. Onions are categorized according to the color, size and shape. Onions can be harvested while still young; there is a perennial type of onion which is rarely attacked by insects or diseases. The onions can be planted by direct seed or by transplanting. The seedling stage requires planting of seedling in a seedling bed, the soil of the bed should be loose which takes 6 weeks for them to be ready for transplant.
Transplanting method has a higher rate of succeeding than direct seeds; onions grow well in raised beds or rows at least 4 inches high, the onion should go 4 inches deep only a third of the bulb should be underground, if the onion is deeply planted the growth of the bulb will be restricted. The width between each onion should be 5 inches; the rows should be 12 to 17 inches apart. Select an open garden when planting to avoid being shaded by other plants. The soil should be loose and rich in nitrogen, compact and hard soil will interfere with bulb development, mix the soil with some nitrogen fertilizer at the time of planting, side dress the onion after every two weeks, make sure you repeat the dressing after every two weeks until the onion starts to bulb.
Just like any other plant, onions will need constant care, onions don’t require a lot of water but 1 inch per week will be sufficient, fertilize your onions after every few weeks with nitrogen for bulb growth, stop fertilizing immediately after the onion has started bulging, this will be noticed when the onion pushes the soil due to growth. Practice mulching for it helps in retaining moisture.
The insects which attack the onions are thrips, they are tiny insects which are tan colored, the insect can be eliminated by use of insecticide, follow the instructions given in the insecticide package, spray the onions after every three days and thrips will definitely disappear. Onion maggot is another dangerous insect which attacks the onion mostly during rainy season; the maggot lays their eggs at the base of the onion, you should keep mulch away during rainy season because it is a decaying matter and it attracts insects. You can prevent maggots by putting a fine mesh and mounding it around the onion.
Pull the onions that send up stalks of flowering that means that the onion is mature and is done bolting. The top of the onion becomes yellow and begin to fall at this stage, you can speed the ripening process by bending the top make the soil loose to start the drying process of the bulb, turn them up after a few days this allows them to cure on dry ground. Handle the onions with care because a small bruise will make them rot, pull the onions when the tops turn brown.
Harvesting of onions is successfully done on dry season; the onions should be dried for several weeks before they are packed. The storage condition of onions is cool and dry so avoid storing them together with potatoes or tomatoes. One benefit of this project is that the market is big so making a sale will be very easy. Remember to practice crop rotation for your next planting season.