Keith Kridler, Texas

Storage humidity of Onions

June 4, 2019
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Categories: American Daffodil Society, Bulb Information, Diseases and Pests, Fertilizing, General, Growing Daffodils, Hybridizing, Seedling, Seeds, Societies and groups, Soil, Virus, Weed Control

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In Texas, Onions are the #1 farm commodity sold as far as total gross $ sales. Onions require ideal growing conditions as far as soil moisture, soil quality and soil nutrition very similar to what daffodils need. Onions require full sunshine, complete weed control to produce those full sized 4” diameter onions that fetch the highest wholesale prices. Onions are normally set out as “transplants” in rows/beds so that there is room for 70,000 full sized “Jumbo” onions per acre at harvest time. This is about a 6”x6” spacing between bulbs and then allowing tractor tire wide spaces between beds for onion/bulb harvesting machines.

Onion seeds are planted in the September to October time frame in the Northern Hemisphere. These seeds are grown under controlled conditions in soils and water, soil drainage, sunlight, just about like you would with daffodil seedlings. Onion seedlings grow rapidly and transplants are ready to set out in fields by early Dec./Jan. depending on latitude and regional winter temperatures. The growing season/harvest season starts in far south Texas, much of Northern Mexico and then proceeds northward as the summer progresses.

extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1198 < extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1198&title=Onion%20Production%20Guide> &title=Onion%20Production%20Guide

Onions locally, in my area are mature and ready to harvest at the same time that early daffodils are ready to dig and harvest. In the link above starting on page 34 you can read about digging and “curing” onions to prepare them for shipping and or prepare them for “storage”. IF you will notice they do not call this “drying” the bulbs as to dry farm produce is to completely dry the seeds of corn, wheat, rice but they only want to cure or dry about 2-4 outer scales of the bulb to produce a protective skin, just as we do for the daffodils. Since these onions are such a high $ crop that farmers sell by the pound they want the highest weight possible for each onion bulb, but that these will have to be able to be in perfect condition visually and also perfect condition when the consumer cuts into the onions!!

Notice that onions require a very high fertilizer input at pre plant preparation, then also side dressing of fertilizer during the four main months of the growing season, but then with holding of nitrogen about 6 weeks before harvesting. By with holding fertilizer at the end of the growing season as the onion bulbs are maturing, they can increase the storage life of these onions.

The recommendations for digging, curing in the field, curing in storage, air movement and humidity are all in the guide. Many different states and I am sure many different countries are also going to have something similar for every growing region of the world where daffodils are being grown by home owners and collectors. Millions upon millions of $ are spent on research into the pests and diseases that affect onion production. Just the information on “weed control” herbicides that are safe to use on onions (possibly most daffodils) is a valuable tool.

Dallas/Fort Worth Texas is on the same latitude as Benghazi, Libya. Corn fields locally are coming into full tassel, pollen is just starting to drop and parts of some corn fields are showing to have pollen covering the leaves in a golden dust. Corn is already head high.

Each region of the world will have significantly different growing conditions, then also different weather conditions during the summer that will affect how and when we all should dig and then store our expensive daffodil bulbs. Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas 120 miles due east of Dallas Texas. Location for the 2020 American Daffodil Society annual daffodil convention. www.dallasarboretum.org/events-activities/dallas-blooms/ Link is to the Dallas Arboretum

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One Response to Storage humidity of Onions

  1. Melissa Reading, California
    June 4, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Dear Keith,
    Your posts always display such depth of knowledge, and are so beautifully written, that they are a true pleasure to read. I learn so much from each one. Thank you!
    Melissa

    Sent from my iPhone