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When to Pick Red Onions – Pick and Storage

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Red onions are becoming more and more popular in kitchens around the world. Red onions are sweeter and milder than yellow onions and are perfect for sauces and salads. In this article, I will explain in detail everything about picking red onions so that you get the best-tasting onions. Continue reading to learn all about when to pick red onions.

Growing red onions is fairly easy and follows the same pattern as any other type of onion. Onions are all biennials, which means that they produce every 100 to 175 days. Learn more about How Long Do Red Onions Take to Grow.

There is a great variety of red onions, the best-known and easiest to grow are Red Burgundy and Red Creole. All varieties of red onions take approximately the same time to germinate and be ready for harvesting.

When to Pick Red Onions

When to Pick Red Onions? Red onions will be ready to be picked 100 to 175 days after sowing, all this will also depend on the light received, climate, irrigation, and variety.

Ideally, the red onion should be picked before the first frost. Leaving them too long in the ground may cause them to rot.

If the red onion plant begins to bloom, this indicates that they stopped growing. All the energy at that time is going directly to the flowers and no longer to the bulb of the onion.

It may happen that your red onion does not bloom, so just wait for the green foliage to start to fall off. You will see that the stems (green foliage) of the red onion begin to fall off and are no longer straight.

Stop watering red onions a few days before picking them. It will prevent rotting and allow better picking of the red onion. We recommend our article When to Harvest Onions: When Onions are Ready to Harvest?

when to pick red onion
When to Pick Red Onions? As red onions mature, their green tops will start to naturally fall over and turn yellow. Everything will depend on the climate and sunlight received during development.

When to Harvest Red Onions

When to Harvest Red Onions? When approximately 10% of the upper green foliage of red onions starts bending over, it indicates that they are prepared for harvesting. At this stage, it’s advisable to discontinue watering. Red onions should have developed a decent-sized bulb. The bulb should feel firm and substantial when you gently squeeze it.

Different red onion varieties have varying days to maturity. Check the seed packet or variety information for an estimated time frame. Red onions are typically ready for harvest when they have been growing for about 100 to 175 days. This period can vary based on growing conditions, so use it as a rough guideline.

when to harvest red onions
When to Harvest Red Onions? The green tops will begin to turn yellow and show signs of withering as the red onions mature.

How to Know When Red Onions Are Ready to Harvest

How to Know When Red Onions Are Ready to Harvest? There are different ways to know when red onions are ready to harvest. Usually, gardeners count the days to maturity of their red onions but this can vary somewhat depending on climate conditions and other factors such as watering.

Check the Tops: When you see about half to three-quarters of the green tops of your red onions bending over and turning yellow, that is a good sign that the red onions are ready to harvest.

Look at the Skin: The outer skin of the red onion bulbs will start feeling thin and papery as they mature. This is a natural part of the process.

Feel the Bulbs: Gently squeeze the bulbs. If they are firm and solid, that is a good indicator that they are ready. Bigger bulbs usually mean they have matured nicely.

How to Pick Red Onions

How to Pick Red Onions? To pick the red onions, you should grab the foliage and pull. If the soil is hard, you should use a shovel to dig a little and harvest the red onion. Dig carefully so as not to damage the onion. Shake onions to remove excess soil.

Now you must cure the onions to be able to store them, let them cure with the top still attached to the red onion.

To cure red onions, they should be left in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. You will notice that the necks and roots of the red onion are drying out. The curing process of red onions takes approximately 7 to 10 days. Store red onions in a cool, dry place between 35 and 50 °F (1 to 10 °C).

how to pick red onions
How to Pick Red Onions? To pick the red onions, you should grab the foliage and pull.

Days to Maturity for Red Onion Varieties

The number of days to maturity for red onion varieties can vary significantly based on factors such as growing conditions, climate, and specific cultivars. For example, the red onion variety Red Burgundy can take between 110 and 120 days to be ready for harvest. Some other varieties of red onions can take up to 175 days to reach maturity.

Final Conclusions About Picking Red Onions

Determining the right time to pick red onions involves observing a combination of visual cues and physical attributes. The process involves monitoring the gradual bending and yellowing of the green tops, indicating the red onion’s progression toward maturity.

Gently feeling the firmness of the bulb, assessing its size, and considering the estimated days to maturity all contribute to the decision-making process when picking red onions. I hope you find this article useful and have an excellent harvest of red onions.


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About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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