When to Harvest Onions: When Onions are Ready to Harvest?

When to harvest onions from the garden? Here we will explain what recognizable changes the onion undergoes as harvest time approaches and how you should act to improve production. Before knowing when to harvest onions, we will also explain the growing time of onions.

How Long Do Onions Take to Grow?

How Long Do Onions Take to Grow? Most onion varieties can be planted together with autumn-winter vegetables as they withstand low temperatures (Walla Walla, Yellow Sweet Spanish Onions, Green Onion or Red Burgundy onion varieties are some examples).

If we want to consider the influence of the moon on crops, we should know that the best moon for planting onions and other crops that grow under the soil is the new moon or the waning phase.

But… once the sowing is done, how long do onions take to grow? This is a medium-cycle crop, so it will take from 3 to 5 months from planting to have onions ready to harvest, depending on the variety chosen. Learn more about How Long Do Red Onions Take to Grow.

In the following image, you can see a diagram with each stage and its duration in months.

how long do red onions take to grow
How Long Do Onions Take to Grow? In this graph, you will see all the stages of growth of the onion, which are about 5 months approximately.

When are Onions Ready to Harvest?

When are Onions Ready to Harvest? Onions can be harvested at different times throughout their cycle depending on their intended use.

In a home garden, we can start consuming onions practically from the beginning of cultivation. You should harvest the tender leaves and stalk them to season dishes or to eat them in salads or fried. Either way, it is delicious.

Later, when the bulb has a considerable size, we can harvest them as we need them in our kitchen. Of course, we have to consume them at the moment, since their conservation at this stage is very poor.

At the end of the growing cycle, we will collect all the onions to store them and have a reserve in the months that will not be available in the garden. This is usually the moment that everyone understands as the onion harvest.

The time to harvest the onions will come about 5 months after starting the crop, and we will identify it thanks to the physical changes that the onions undergo in the orchard. The stalks -and with them, the leaves will begin to dry out at the tips and bend downwards, but to harvest, we must wait until all or almost all the onions have their stalks bent and at least half of their leaves dry -they will have a yellowish color.

Onions are larger and of higher quality the later they are harvested, but if they are affected by very wet weather at this late stage, their conservation will be worse. You will have about 15 days to harvest onions, and the right time to do so should coincide with dry, sunny weather. The soil will have dried out on the surface, and so will the bulbs. Pull up the onions by pulling them, or with a hoe, and, if the weather permits, leave them a day or two on the ground to finish drying.

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How do you Know When Onions are Ready to Harvest?

How do you Know When Onions are Ready to Harvest? You will know when onions are ready to harvest because you will observe changes in the onion plant, and these are the changes you will see in the onion plant:

  • You should perfectly harvest onions after at least 80% of the plants have dropped foliage (see picture). It is best to get at least 90 to 100% of the onions with folded leaves, you will have a maximum of 2 weeks to harvest and collect them, guaranteeing the maximum possible production.
  • That the onion stalks have started to change color from pale green to dark green and could vary towards black, purple, or brown depending on the variety of onions planted.

By observing these changes in the onion stalks, you will realize when is the best time to harvest the onions. Look at the following pictures, and you will see what your onions should look like for harvesting. For other varieties of onions, we recommend our article about When to Pick Red Onion and When are Walla Walla Onions Ready to Harvest.

onions ready to harvest
When to harvest onions from the garden? How do you Know When Onions are Ready to Harvest? You will observe changes in the stems of the onions when they are ready to harvest. In the picture, you can see the mentioned changes.
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.