Onion Tops are falling over

mamabear2(z4/5Bk HillsSD)July 17, 2006

I know that when the onion tops fall over it's getting close to the end. I'm so happy with my onions this year.

I have Walla Walla and another white and some red. They are about 4-5 inches. The tops are falling over. Should they still get water? Does it take about 10 days for the tops to dry up? I plan to pull them after the tops are drying and let them continue to dry in cardboard flats in the garage.

Is this a good plan? What more should I do? Thanks so much for all of your advice.

Pam in the Black Hills

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlad(6b KY)

Pam, yes you can stop watering them now. Growth is over, and you are looking for a pre-cure situation.

Once the tops fall over, just monitor them. When the area just above the neck (where the plants bend, that is) shows no green, and is sort of dry, it's time to lift the onions.

Ideally, you should then leave them laying in the garden, in the sun, for a day or two. I can't depend on it staying dry, here, however. So, as soon as I lift my onions I hang them, like garlic, until the tops are crispy dry. Then I trim and store.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 9:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gardenlad, what is the best way to store onions after they have been cured. And at what temperature. Is a dry 68 degree basement ok? Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The best temperature for storing onions is between 32 and 40. Also dry is best. Higher temps will encourage the onions to sprout and damp will make them rot.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 3:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
TJG911(z5b CT)

i saw 3 of about 200 fell over yesterday so i'm getting close.

when 20% are falling gently push the rest at the neck with a bow rake. i let them sit another few days. then i pull them and field dry them about 5-7 days covering the bulbs with the greens. then i move them to a shed on 2" X 4" welded wire racks to dry for 5-6 weeks. i have about 3# of copra left from last year in the fridge.

sounds like you are doing fine, just becareful of RAIN! if rain is likely when you get to the falling over stage i would pull them all. you want to withhold water at the end. if it rains on pulled bulbs that's ok unless they are in a puddle with poor drainage!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 12:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can I piggyback a question?

My onions are at the same stage.

If I want them to send up seed scapes, should I *keep* watering them? I want to propagate these onions, not eat them. Help? When should I expect seed scapes?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlad(6b KY)

How did you start those, Patty? From seed? Plants? Sets?

Reason it matters is that onions are biennial, and normally (although there are exceptions) flower and set seed the second year. So if you started from seed or new plants, and your onions haven't been stressed, they are unlikely to set seed this year.

To grow seed, retain some of the bulbs from this year and replant them. Most places that's done in the fall or very early spring, but I can't speak for your zone. These will bolt early, and send up flower stalks.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mamabear2(z4/5Bk HillsSD)

Thanks again for all of the great advice.

Gardenlad: What if some of my onions are setting seed? Are they still good to eat? They were planted as sets.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I started them from seed, and this is their second year.

They sent up seed scapes last year (in the first year), but I broke those off to encourage the bulbs to develop. The bulbs were tiny at the time, and I only wanted seed if they made decent bulbs. Now they have made impressive bulbs (second year) but the tops are falling over with no sign of another seed scape.

Unfortunately I forget the variety.

In terms of getting them to flower, is there a difference between leaving them in the ground, vs pulling them and replanting them in a while?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 2:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

p.s. to mamabear -

Thank you for letting me piggyback. I promise to start a new thread if I have another question!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 2:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlad(6b KY)

Mamabear: You can eat the onions that have set seed. But eat them first, because they have no keeping ability to speak of.

Patty: I have no idea. Only time I have tried for seed was with Amish Bottle onions. I replanted those in the fall. I've no experience at all with leaving them in the ground.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 5:09PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Onion suggestion
I am thinking about buying onion transplants for next...
Garlic Plants are Coming Up (Fall 2014)
I planted some garlic bulbs about 2-3 weeks ago. And...
dislike the new format, how about you?
YUCK, do not care for the new format. Had a ton of...
Potato onion's free/trade
Hello I have some small left over sets I will not be...
Reasons to Grow Your Own Onions?
We consume some onions and we buy them from local farmer's...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™