Robert is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Onion Farming Business
Bulb Onion is one of the commonly grown vegetable which is consumed on a daily basis by people in different countries. The plant, may require a few labours during transplanting and weeding and it is one of the profitable commonly grown vegetables. Onion is used as spices in foods when cooked or served as raw and it is rich in the following nutritional elements; Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin B6 and B9 and Vitamin E.
What are the requirements for successful onion planting?
- Make sure the seeds are good and treated or coated with a combination of fungicide and insecticide.
- Make seedbeds on a fertile soil. The seedbed should be well prepared deep and smooth. Onion performs better on a light sandy loam soil.
- Make sure you apply a right fertilizer before planting and after planting which has all required major nutritional elements. The amount of fertilizers to be applied on the onion plant depend on several factors, which, among others, include the location of the farm or garden, soil fertility based on soil analysis and type of onion variety.
- Make sure enough soil moisture is available all the time and where possible supplement with irrigation when needed, but pay extra care during bulb maturation. Irrigations should be stopped in about 3 weeks before harvest the onion.
- The bulb onion requires a moderate temperature range of 20 to 30°C and good light and this act as bulbing initiator. Therefore, make sure the site where your onion will be has a good weather for vegetative growth and bulb formation which could increase profit.
Optimal conditions for growing onions or ecological requirements
- The onion does well on an altitude of 1,900 meters above the sea level.
- Onion plants need rainfall on a range of 500 to 700 mm during the growing season for best results. Make sure the area where you choose has a well distributed rainfall of that range. Dry spell is required at the maturity stage.
- Onion requires an optimum temperature of a range of 15 to 30 °C. Temperature above 30 °C may result in small bulb production.
- Onions need a good fertile soil, which is well drained. The optimum pH range from 6.0 to 6.8. Sandy to silty loams is required.
Make sure the soil is well prepared before the onion is planted or transplanted. It has to be loose having a depth of at least 75cm. Make sure the site is not waterlogged. Seeds are sown at a depth of 1 to 2 centimeters.
Date for sowing onion
Optimal sowing dates is not the same in all locations or countries as it varies with location, soil type and type of variety.
Plant population and spacing
One hectare can have an onion population of a range of 700-800,000 plants.
Onion is propagated by seed (fresh) and has a seed rate of a range of 0.8 to 1.2 kg per acre and the seed is sown in the nursery and later transplanted. It takes 7 to 10 days for the seeds to germinate. Take note that onion should be rotation for each and every 3 years.
Management in nursery field
- Make sure the seed bed is kept moist and this can be by means of irrigation among others.
- Make sure the mulch covers are removed when the seeds have germinated.
- Make sure you control the weeds, pests and diseases from developing which can damage the emerged onion plants.
Make sure you transplant the onion seedlings in 6 to 8 weeks after sowing. The onion seedlings should be transplanted at 2.5 to 3 cm deep trenches at a spacing of 30 cm between rows and 8 to 10 cm between plants (when using furrow irrigation). Make sure you irrigate the seedbed before transplanting is done. When planting onion, make sure the onion transplant or the onion set is not buried more than one inch under the soil.
- Apply Calcium super-phosphate when you are preparing the land and before planting.
- Nitrogen and potassium fertilizers are applied in the field 2 to 3 times on a 3 week schedule.
Make sure the weeds are kept on watch as well as pests and diseases. Nurseries must be free from grasses and weeds. Fungicides and insecticides may he needed during the period of transplanting.
Onion Harvesting is done in 90 to 150 days after transplanting and this depends on the type of variety. Harvest bulb Onions when its leaves collapse or when about 75 % of the tops of the onion have dried and fallen over. The harvesting is done by lifting the matured onion and left it in the sun to dry and this must be monitored.