When are Walla Walla Onions Ready to Harvest

The Walla Walla onion is a sweet, white onion that grows in northern Oregon and southern Washington. We dedicate this article to all the anxious gardeners waiting for this sweet Walla Walla onion harvest. This crop requires between 90 to 110-130 days to maturity. Walla Walla onions will be ready to harvest during the summer or early fall. It has 3 specific signals that allow you to learn when to harvest Walla Walla onions. This article summarizes when are Walla Walla onions ready to harvest and how to harvest them.

When To Harvest Walla Walla Onions

Besides the days to maturity required for this crop, let’s see the signs that, as a gardener, you will realize when to harvest Walla Walla onions.

The much-loved sweet Walla Walla onions need 90 to 110 days to maturity. This means that from the time you plant the onion seeds in your garden, it will take approximately 90 to 110 days for the onions to reach their full size and be ready for harvest.

However, timing can vary based on local growing conditions, temperature and sunlight, heat wave/s, and cultivation practices. Also, suppose you have not planted the seeds and have started your crop from tiny seedlings of sweet Walla Walla onions found in the nearest nurseries. In that case, you probably do not know the crop’s number of days.

So I’ll explain how to find out when is the right time to harvest Walla Walla onions.

How To Know When to Harvest Walla Walla Onions

In the following paragraphs, I walk through the signs indicating the right time to harvest Walla Walla onions.

You should gently check the tops of the onions. One of the first signs indicating it is almost time to harvest Walla Walla onions is when the stalk or neck of the onions (the place where the leaves meet the onion bulb) becomes soft and pliable. It indicates that the onions have finished growing and may be ready to be harvested. The onions might need more time to mature if the necks are still firm and upright.

Pay attention to the foliage of the onion plants. Then, check the onion leaves, especially the last leaf. As the bulbs mature, the foliage will turn yellow and bend over at the neck. Leaves will dry out from oldest to youngest. That indicates the plant redirects its energy from growing leaves to filling out the bulbs.

Lastly, check the percentage of Walla Walla onion tops falling over. When all the tops have fallen off, the onion has finished growing at the bulb and leaf maintenance level, but the skin is still developing. Before picking Walla Walla onions, I recommend waiting until 85 to 90% of the tops have fallen. If planted for storage, give your Walla Walla onions one last light but gentle watering to allow them to absorb some moisture before harvest and keep them sweeter.

When are Walla Walla Onions Ready to Harvest

When are Walla Walla Onions Ready to Harvest? Walla Walla onions are harvested from June to mid-August, i.e., throughout the summer and sometimes into early autumn.

After 4 to 6 months, the Walla Walla onions are ready to be harvested. The onion tips (stalk) provide nutrients to the Walla Walla onion, and when the onion stops needing nutrients, the tips begin to dry out.

You will notice that the tips of your Walla Walla onion begin to dry out and bend at the tips. Below is an image of what a Walla Walla onion should look like when harvested.

when are walla walla onions ready to harvest
When are Walla Walla Onions Ready to Harvest? Walla Walla onions can be harvested when you notice that the tips begin to dry out.

Do you also have red onions? Learn more about When to Pick Red Onions

We have already reviewed when to harvest Walla Walla onions and how we realize that it is the right time to harvest them.

Now, in the following paragraphs, we will review together how to harvest Walla Walla onions and maintain the characteristic sweet taste of this variety.

How to Harvest Walla Walla Onions

How to Harvest Walla Walla Onions? Harvesting the Walla Walla onion is easy. Wait until the tips begin to dry.

It’s best to take your onions out in the morning before the heat and rays are at their worst. If planted sweet Walla Walla onions for storage, give your onions one last gentle watering to allow them to absorb some moisture before harvest.

I encourage you to read this section and watch the video showing how to pull the tops of the onions for harvesting.

When you notice that the onion tips are drying out, you should stop watering to be able to harvest correctly.

Then pull the onion tops or use a shovel to remove the Walla Walla onions from the soil. Shake the Walla Walla onions to remove excess soil.

Now you must cure the Walla Walla onion, which is very simple. Place the onions in the sun to cure completely, and cover them at night with a tarp so they don’t get wet from the dew.

You should cure the onion Walla Walla for about a week. If it rains, take it to a place where the onions do not get wet.

To store Walla Walla onions, you can put them in a burlap bag for better air circulation. It is advisable to hang the bag so that it is not in contact with the ground and air can circulate better. Always store Walla Walla onions in a cool, dry place between 32 and 40 °F (0 to 5 °C).

how to harvest walla walla onions
How to Harvest Walla Walla Onions? To harvest Walla Walla onions, pull them from the tip or use a shovel to remove them carefully.

Harvesting Walla Walla Onions VIDEO

Here is our video about harvesting Walla Walla onions. Let’s see how to pull the tops of the Walla Walla onions for harvesting. Enjoy it!

How and When to Harvest Walla Walla Onions VIDEO
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for TheGardenStyle.com as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.