Planting onions is relatively easy, but how can you tell when they are ready to pick? Harvesting onions depends on the day length of your region and the onion cultivars you grow. Learn how long short-day and long-day onions take to grow and how and when to harvest yellow onions at the end of the growing season.
There are many types of onion plants, from green onions, shallots, chives, scallions, leeks, and bunching onions to Walla Walla, Copra, Spanish, and red onions. Yellow onions are the most versatile, excellent for cooking, and grow easily in a cool weather garden.
There is nothing quite like harvesting mature onions from the ground and storing them in the pantry for making delicious recipes. You know precisely where the onions come from and how they are grown. Knowing the right time to pluck them from the ground is essential to ensure you get the most out of your onion crop.
When and How to Harvest and Store Yellow Onions
So, you purchase your onion sets or onion bulbs from the garden center and plant them in full sun during the early spring. Then, you spread mulch around the plants, give them TLC, and play the waiting game as they begin to form green leaves and bulbs.
Harvesting yellow onions is a little different than other crops. Unlike other vegetable plants that are simple to tell when they are ripe, onions (Allium cepa) grow beneath the ground, and it’s hard to know when to pick yellow onions. There’s virtually no difference between red and yellow onions in this regard. Find out when and how to harvest your home-grown onions and onion storage tips to keep your veggies fresh.
When to Pick Yellow Onions
It’s important to know when to pick yellow onions – it depends on whether they are short-day or long-day onions. Discover when to plant yellow onions based on the type and how long they take to reach maturity.
Short-day onions want ten hours of daylight for bulbing, while long-day varieties need 14 to 15 hours of sunlight. Day-neutral onions form bulbs, regardless of the number of daylight hours. These onions are an excellent choice if you’re unsure which type is best for your area.
Short, long, and neutral-day onions are slow growers, they take 100 to 120 days to mature from seed and 60 to 80 days to grow from sets or transplants. If you live in hardiness zones 7 and warmer, plant onions in the fall to grow through the winter and harvest in late spring.
If you live in a cooler region, plant them in the early spring as soon as you can work the ground for a mid to late summer crop.
How and When to Harvest Yellow Onions
Growing onions is only half the fun since harvest time keeps your pantry and fridge well-stocked with flavorful veggies. Learn how to tell when yellow onions are ready to begin picking and how to harvest, cure, and store onions.
A good harvest depends on whether you give your plants proper care as you grow onions. They need an inch of water weekly and high nitrogen fertilizer. Feed your plants three weeks after planting and every two to three weeks after that.
Try to keep their conditions as stable as possible. High and low temperatures increase the chance of bolting, which causes the plant to grow flower stalks that go to seed. Also, keep an eye out for onion maggots and thrips, and eliminate them immediately to keep your plants healthy.
Start checking your onion plants once you reach the end of the growing season. You will know onions are ready for harvest by looking at the onion tops. Prepare to harvest onions as soon as they turn yellow and fall over. Pull the bulbs out of the ground gently, shake off excess dirt, and set them in a warm, airy place to cure with the tops still attached.
After seven to ten days, clip off the tops and roots of the yellow storage onions, and set them in a cool, dry area since moisture leads to mold growth and sprouting. Put them in a bowl out of sunlight or hang them in mesh bags.
After cutting into an onion, place it in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated for up to a week. When storing fresh and cut onions for an extended time, consider freezing the onions.
Slice them into desired pieces, spread them in a single layer on a cooking sheet, and flash freeze until they are frozen solid. Pour the frozen onions into a freezer bag, press out all the air before sealing it, and freeze for up to six months.
Make Buttery-Roasted Onions After Harvesting Yellow Onions
After you finish harvesting yellow onions and storing them, it’s time to use them in recipes. While there are many ways to prepare onions, these roasted onions are caramelized and buttery, and easy to prepare.
Peel off the outer skins of the onion and cut it into quarter-inch slices. Save the root end to propagate onions at home. Grease a baking dish with a tablespoon of butter and arrange the onion slices in a single layer in the dish. Melt two tablespoons of butter, drizzle the melted butter over the top of the onions, and sprinkle with salt.
Set the dish in a preheated 400°F oven and bake the onions for 20 minutes. Flip them and roast for an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Yellow onions are great additions to the veggie garden, and their versatility makes them perfect for everything from soup to salsa and stir-fry. In addition, they are simple to grow and harvest and storing onions in a dry place or the fridge keeps them fresh for weeks to months.
Now that you understand how and when to harvest yellow onions, why not share our yellow onion harvesting guide with the onion-lovers in your life on Pinterest and Facebook?