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GUIDE ON ONION PRODUCTION

3 weeks ago
Herald News
22

By Clement Osowe

In the face of rising cost of food and other items, people are encouraged to include onions to their backyard garden.

Onion farming, accordingly, is a very profitable business.

It is a valuable vegetable plant that is useful for people all over the world.

The onion is a hardy cool-season biennial plant but usually grown as annual crop. The vege-plant has narrow, hollow leaves and a base which enlarges to form a bulb. They mostly perform better under mild climate without extreme cold and hot. Cool temperature levels during vegetative growth and relatively warmer and sunny weather during bulb formation and maturity are preferable.

For optimum crop quality, yields, and profit, selecting the best variety for one’s farm is very key. Onion varieties differ depending on size, colour of skin, pungency, maturation of bulbs etc. Large-sized bulbs are mild in pungency and are sweet compared to small-sized onions.

TIPS ON ONION FARMING

• Get onion seeds from a reputable source.

• For early planting, do your nursery between March – April, while for late planting, nurse your seeds in September,  October or November.

   Note: March – April crop targets good market price.

• Make a nursery bed of 1  meter width; flatten the top of the bed.

• Make shallow furrows with stick across the bed at interval of 8 – 12 inches.

• Drill your seeds lightly in the furrows and lightly cover with soil.

• Water the bed after drilling.

• Seeds begin to germinate from 4 – 5 days after planting. If seeds do not germinate after 8th day, replant.

• Water consistently to aid good germination percentage.

• Transplant after 35 – 40 days in the nursery.

• Transplant to a vegetable bed made for the purpose: 1m wide and 50cm between beds.

• Incorporate cured organic manure into the soil while making the bed or apply the manure 5 days after transplanting.

• Transplant at 5 – 6 inches along the rows and  12 – 16 inches between rows; or 6 – 8 inches in all directions.

• 10 – 15 days after transplanting, apply NPK 15:15:15 or 20:10:10. Irrigate after fertilizer application.

   Never apply fertilizer after 50 days of transplanting!

• For Aphids and thrips attack, use Laraforce.

• Use Mancozeb fungicide often to prevent fungal attack. It is important to use fungicide that contains Copper.

• Apply NPK 15:15:15; or 20:10:10 after 10 days of transplanting. Thereafter, apply fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.

• Onions require a lot of nutrients for proper growth and good yield, hence the need for regular feeding with either organic or inorganic fertilizer.

• Organic manure is very important as it helps to hold water and improve soil structure.

• Again, never apply fertilizer after 50 days of transplanting by which time the bulbs would have been forming.

Signs of maturity

• From 70 days, part of the bulb will be exposed outside the soil. You may not need to water again after 80 days till harvest.

• Neck fall will be observed; allow 50% neck fall before harvest.

• Sun-dry onion bulbs immediately after harvest for about 3 days. Sun-dry with the leaves or cut off leaves half way up and not near the bulbs.

• Move the onion indoors and spread out for air drying (curing) for 2-3 weeks.

FOR Coments, Please contact: coosowe2012@gmail.com

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