My promising onion crop

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Gellideg

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My promising onion crop
« on: July 13, 2017, 15:44 »
Hi everyone.I am hoping to get some advice on lifting my onions.I have grown onions from sets for 5 years now.Good rotation and always a promising crop to store.My problem starts then-in August as the tops bend over I have left them towards 2 weeks before I lift them to cure,I have left them quite a while until the tops start to brown,I have lifted them green and I have always ended up with storage problems.They go on racks in my small part shaded greenhouse for up to two months,and turned 2 fans on if it gets up to 30c.I trim them back to about 2 inches above the bulb when the skins are crisp,but I end up with around 30% waste in store by Christmas.They go in trays in our garage,and I am thinking it is the point of lifting from the ground that is the problem.Can anyone suggest what I can do this year  to try to stop the rot!!( half my onions are from seed this year too)
                                  Thanks  John.

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steved

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 22:09 »
I dont lift mine until the leaves are completely crispy brown and the bulb has golden brown skin, then i "break" the roots from the soil with a hand fork and leave for another few weeks or until the foxes start playing with them :mad:
I think your problems are lifting too early and then drying them in a greenhouse, which can still get fierce hot in september and october and be quite a moist atmosphere with the watering still going on with toms, cukes, chillis and peppers etc.
IMO the wind is just as important as warm and dry.
Onions that have bolted wont store for long and neither will ones with downy mildew(a problem I used to have before growing Santero exclusively now)
Ive found seed grown onions store far better than sets.
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sunshineband

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 14:05 »
I agree with steved's analysis that you may be lifting them to early. We dry ours on a rack made of debris netting on wooden struts, supported above the ground so air circulation is improved. Even them I turn the over every week.

Drying them of under cover can lead to the flesh being slightly cooked I've found, and then they don't store well at all. Mine last right through to about end of Feb before they start shooting. They are stored in the lightest part of the garage in single layer in wooden trays

Hope that all gives you things to consider
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arh

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 14:12 »
I guess that, once again, I've been a bit hasty. I've lifted my onions already, but they were huge, a couple had diameters of 3 to 4 inches. I'll leave next years until the tops die back. (Only one way to learn,  :lol:)

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Gellideg

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 15:25 »
Thankyou Steved and Sunshineband.That has helped me a lot.I have never delayed lifting until the tops were brown,
so that is what I will do.I do lift the roots with a fork to loosen them,so will do that.I grow Santero from sets and seed and a few Golden Bear from seed this year.I live in quite a high rainfall area,so are you suggesting I lift and leave them outside on racks? Should I cover them on very wet days or leave them to it?
Feel as though I will do a lot better now,as there is nothing worse than good crops going to waste through lack of "know how".
                                               John.
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steved

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 17:01 »
I let mine do all their curing and drying outside, they only come under cover into the garage when im happy theyre not going to dry any more.
IMO it doesnt matter if they get wet occasionally with rainfall as this is only on the surface and makes no difference to the natural drying process.

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arh

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 07:38 »
Out in the fens, I've seen fields of them laying there, they don't get covered up or turned.

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Gellideg

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2017, 14:53 »
Thaks for all the replies.I am just a little wary of the " leave them out " in the weather and disregard a bit of rain.I shall have to get them in if does turn unsettled I fear,as when it's changeable in West Wales we get enough rain in a day to keep the Fens ,Suffolk,Essex,Kent and the home counties well nigh waterlogged for a very long time.I will try to keep them out after everyone's trouble in advising me.I think I will do a lot better job this year.
       John

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sunshineband

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2017, 16:00 »
If you are able to throw a cover over them when rain arrives Gellideg, then do so, but you won't want them sweating under a waterproof sheet when the sun comes out, for sure!

Ours sit in a shady, open-sided lean-to, which saved them getting soaked, and if they do get wet are on that mesh stand so dry off well enough.

My plot neighbour has a sheet of weldmesh on piles of bricks, and he leaves the onions these whatever the weather and they seem to cure well and eventually the tops have completely dried and he takes the home. It's the neck that needs to dry fully, not only the skin, and that takes a bit of time

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arh

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2017, 16:25 »
That's a good idea Sunshineband, I'll see if I can acquire half a weld-mesh. Do all manner of things with it, as well as the onions. Thank you. arh.

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Gellideg

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2017, 18:18 »
Hi sunshineband.I have square mesh sections about 2 inch square and place them on those.About 200 onions on 10 or so sheets,with airspace underneath in the gr/house up till now.I will concoct a corrugated iron roof type thing that I can lift up when it's dry outside.MY NEXT QUESTION (!!) is do I put the tops through the mesh square so the onion is upside down,or placed them flat with a bit of air space between onions?If I were you,I would get a bit tetchy and reply by saying"make the bed up in the spare room and I'll do the onions for you!"
My thanks John.

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snowdrops

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Re: My promising onion crop
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2017, 19:32 »
I turn mine upside down, so neck facing the floor
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