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Onion Tops are falling over

Posted by mamabear2 z4/5Bk HillsSD (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 17, 06 at 20:21

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

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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.

RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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.

RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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.

RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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!


RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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?

RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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.

RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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.

RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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?

RE: Onion Tops are falling over - more

p.s. to mamabear -

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

RE: Onion Tops are falling over

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.

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