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Onion Production

GROWING GUIDE

Step 1: SEEDLING PRODUCTION


Build a raised bed 20 cm high and 1 m wide.
Incorporate manure in the seedbed.
Sow seeds in rows 10-15 cm apart and 2 cm between seeds.
Sow seed 5-10 mm deep and gently cover with soil.
Sow seed at 15% higher rate than needed for planting.

Step 2: FIELD PREPARATION

20 cm ridge
height

40 cm wide
ridge bed

1 m ridge center to center

Step 3: TRANSPLANTING
Welldeveloped
roots
10 cm between plants
Seedlings are ready for transplant at 3-5 leaf stage.
Carefully remove seedlings.
Only transplant seedlings with well-developed roots. Discard any seedlings with weak roots.
Transplant seedlings in double rows 10cm apart with 10cm spacing between plants on ridges.
Optimal plant spacing and plant population density are the most important determinants of crop yield.
Mulch transplanted seedlings with hay, grass or green manure after transplanting. This stops soil from

splashing onto the leaves.

Step 4: FERTILIZATION
Place all required P (Phosphate) at transplant. Spot place the

fertilizer 10cm from plant, 10cm deep.


Apply 50% required N (Nitrogen) at transplant, then 50% N at 4

weeks after transplant.


Use high P fertilizer as a starter/ basal. Use N fertilizer with high K content thereafter.
DO NOT USE UREA WHEN ONIONS WILL BE STORED FOR A LONG TIME.

This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of ASNAPP and
do not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID or the United States Government.

Step 5: CROP PROTECTION


Read the label carefully.
Spray fungicide every 7-10 days starting 1 week after transplant. This is important during the rainy season.

- Copper oxychloride
- Mancozeb
- Chlorothalonil
- Tebuconazole (rotate with other fungicides)
Onions are not aggressive growers so they do

not compete well with weeds. Weeds are a


source of disease so weed regularly!
WORK FIRST IN HEALTHY PLANTS AND THEN IN

OLDER OR SICK PLANTS.

Weedy field

Well maintained field

Step 6: HARVEST AND POST HARVEST


Stop irrigation 2 to 3 weeks before harvest.
Start harvest when 50-80% of crop has soft necks.
Cut tops with sharp knife about 2cm above onion bulb.
Place stored harvested produce out of direct sunlight, such as

a Shadebot.
Store/hang onions in dry, well-ventilated area to ensure bulbs

dry and cure properly. This maximizes shelf life.


Onions can be packaged and stored in a variety of containers

such as boxes, cartons, bags, bulk bins, pre-packs, and plastic


film bags.

Curing can be carried out in a dry field by


laying harvested bulbs on their sides.

Step 7: CROP ROTATION AND SELECTION


Rotation: Plant onion after heavy feeders like solanaceae (tomato) and squash family, then follow with legumes.
Selection: Onion bulb formation is triggered by the day length. Carefully select the onion variety to be grown
and when to grow it. Short day onion should be planted in the cold season with 10- 12 hours of
daylight starting in May to July. Intermediate day onions require 12-14 hours of daylight and should
be planted in the hot season. Long day onions require 14-16 hours of daylight. Keep good records as
to the variety name and planting date.
Short Day Onions
Hybrid

Maturity from

Sowing period

Skin colour

EARLY GOLD

157

MarchApril

Light Brown

STAR 5520

167

MarchApril

Pale Straw

STAR 5516
STAR 5519

172
184

FebruaryApril
MayJune

Medium Brown
Medium Brown

Sowing period

Skin colour

Intermediate Day Onions


Hybrid

Maturity from

STAR 5560

187-195

May

Bronze

STAR 5562

200-210

MayJuly

Bronze