Thursday, 26 September 2013 16:22

How do Onions grow?

Fact: The string roots that grow on the bottom of the onion can be transplanted and used to grow new onions.

 

 

 

  • Latin Name:

    Allium Cepa

  • Growth:

    How do onions grow?

    USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9. Click here to view USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map.

    Onions can grow year long but are mainly a winter growing crop.

    Fall: Best time to plant beginning in October until mid November.

    Winter:Onions continue to grow throughout the winter in most the regions.

    Spring:The onion bulb begins maturing. Flowering and bolting occurs if it's not picked when ripe.

    Summer: Harvest time. Be sure to harvest before cool weather begins as mature onions may go bad in fall temperatures.

    Growing Big Bulb Onions

     

  • Propagation:

    How are onions propagated?

    There are a variety of ways to plant onions:

    When planting from bulbs, plant as soon as possible, and allow the new roots to spread out in the soil. The first thing that the onion will need to do after planting is grow new roots.

    New onion plants may also be grown from discarded onion bottoms, transplants, sets, or seeds:

    Transplants are seedlings that have already started growing and are sold in bunches. They form good bulbs over a short period of time (65 days or less), but are more prone to disease.

    Sets are immature bulbs grown the previous year and offer a variety of cultivar choices. They are simple to plant and the earliest to harvest.

    Seeds offer the best advantage of the choice of cultivar. The challenge comes with the patience involved in the growth process as the crop will take up to 4 months to grow.

    Onions need a lot of nutrients and nourishing fertilized soil in order to produce big bulbs. They grow well on raised beds or rows, at least 4 inches high.

     

  • Harvest:

    How are onions harvested?

    Mature onions are determined by the yellowing of their tops. When this happens, the soil around the onion is loosened to speed up drying, and, after a few days, when the tops are brown, they ares cured in a dry, sunny place.

    Onions must be handled carefully to prevent bruising: the smallest bruise may cause rot to set in.
    Onions must dry for several weeks before storing.

    How and When to Harvest Onions

     

  • Storage:

    How are onions stored?

    Fresh onions are preserved by keeping them dry, cool, and separate from each other.

    When refrigerated, an onion can last up to a year, if wrapped individually and kept clear of moisture.

    The sweeter the onion, the higher the water content, the higher the water content the less of a shelf life. More pungent onions have less water, therefore they can be stored longer than a sweet onion.
     

  • History:

    Where did onions originate?

    Onions are one of the world's oldest cultivated plants.
    There is debate between researchers and botanists as to whether onions originated in Asia, or Iran/West Pakistan. Either way, it is likely that this vegetable was a staple in a prehistoric diet.

    Onions may be one of the earliest cultivated crops because they are less perishable than other foods, transport well, are easy to grow and can be grown in a variety of soils and climates. Onions are documented in history as far back as 3500BC.

    In the middle ages, the three main vegetables consumed by Europeans were beans, cabbages and onions. There were also prescribed to relieve headaches, snake bites, hair loss, toothaches, and mouth sores.

    Native Americans also utilized the onion as food, in syrups, as toys, and as an ingredient in dyes.

  • Top Producers:

    Who are the leading onion producers?

    Approximately 170 countries grow onions for domestic and international trade.

    9.2 million acres of onion are harvested annually around the world.

    Leading onion producers are China, India, United States, Turkey, and Pakistan.

    U.S states with the highest production, are Idaho-Eastern Oregon, Washington, California, Texas, and Colorado.

     

  • Varieties:

    What are some common onion varieties?

    Onions come in many shapes, colors, and sizes.

    Onions can be classified into two categories:
    Long-day, best grown in the North, and Short-day, best grown in the South.

    The main three colors of the onion are Yellow, Red, and White, and then there are dozens of varieties of each of those colors.
    Yellow and red onions tend to be more sweet, white onions are more pungent.

    Scallions (green onions) are onions pulled young when their tops are green and underdeveloped bulbs are 13mm or less in diameter.
    Spanish onions are large sweet, juicy, and have a color range from red to yellow.
    Bermuda onions have a fairly mild taste, are large and flat with a white or yellow color.

  • Products:

    How are onions used?

    Onions are eaten fresh, cooked, fried, frozen or processed.
    Boiled and pickled onions are packaged in jars. Frozen onions are available whole or chopped.
    Onion juice is also used to add flavor to dishes.
    Dried onion products are used in many foods, dehydration of the onion involves the removal of most of the moisture by heat or by freeze-drying.
    Onion powder is used in cooking and in condiments. It is made by grinding up dehydrated onions and adding a touch of salt.
    Onions are also used in a variety of canned and instant foods, such as beans, pasta sauce, mustards, salad dressings, dips, chips, soups, and instant meals.

     

  • Top Health Benefits:

    What are some of the health benefits of onions?

    Onions, along with garlic, are members of the Allium family. They promote health by providing nutrients that are necessary for healthy bodily functions.
    They contain quercetin, a flavonoid ( a category of antioxidant compounds) and sulfur containing nutrients.
    The high sulfur content of onions may provide direct benefits to the connective tissues in the body.
    Onions have been recommended to cure varied ailments such as colds, earaches, laryngitis, animal bites, warts, and powder burns.
    Studies have shown that onions can increase bone density and may be especially beneficial to women who are going through menopause and are experiencing loss of bone density.
    Multiple servings of onion each week are helpful to improving the risk of some types of cancer.