Crops in Permaculture: Onions
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Onions is a vegetable crop that can be grown in a wide variety of soil, and we have been growing them since 2013. Seeds are first raised in a nursery and it takes 45-50 days for the saplings to be ready for transplantation. Typically, the saplings are planted in end Dec or beginning of Jan. Therefore, the seeds for saplings should be sown by mid November. We also plant old onion bulbs at this time from the previous years' crop to produce seed for the next sowing season.
The crop has to be watered regularly, specially closer to harvest, as this dictates the bulb size. However excess and stagnant water and lead to leaf rot. So water had to be used carefully. Unseasonal rainfall in April-May has damaged our crop in the past. It results in water entering the bulb from the centre and causing the onion to rot within.
Come May, and the leaves of the plant will start collapsing at the neck and turning yellow. You know your crop is ready to harvest when that happens. The bulbs are uprooted and left to cure in the field itself for a few days, before collecting and bagging.
Once bagged, the crop should be stored in a cool breezy area. Periodically the onions are sorted, and rotting ones are removed and others re-bagged again. We sell our excess produce at the Chandigarh's organic market, or among friends and neighbours in Gurgaon.
Onions can be used till Dec or so, when they start sprouting shoots again. And then the cycle of plantation and harvest starts again!