When to Pick Onions from Your Garden?

When to Pick Onions from Your Garden?

When you’re tending to your garden, knowing the right time to harvest your onions is crucial for achieving the best flavor and storage quality. Onions are a versatile and essential ingredient in countless dishes, and understanding the signs of when they’re ready for picking can make all the difference. In this guide, we’ll explore the expert gardening tips to help you identify the perfect moment to harvest your homegrown onions.

When To Pick Onions From Your Garden?

Tops Flop Over

One of the most reliable indicators that your onions are ready for harvest is when about two-thirds of the tops have fallen over naturally. This means that the green foliage on top of the onion plants starts to bend and wilt. This visible change in the tops is a sure sign that the onion has stopped growing and is ready for storage.

Necks Go Soft

Another telltale sign that your onions are ripe for harvesting is when the “necks” of the onions begin to dry. The neck is the part where the leaves meet the bulb. As it softens and dries, it indicates that the onion is no longer actively growing and can be pulled from the ground.

Leaves Turn Yellow or Brown

As late summer or early fall arrives, the leaves of your onion plants will start to change color, turning yellow or brown. This is the final stage of the onion’s growth cycle and a clear signal that they are ready for harvest.

Harvesting Your Onions

Once you’ve identified these signs, it’s time to harvest your onions. Here’s how you can do it:

Wait for the Stalks to Dry

After the tops have flopped over, give the stalks a couple of days to dry out further. If the tops haven’t completely fallen over, you can gently press them down to expedite the process.

Loosen the Soil

To avoid damaging your onions during the harvesting process, carefully loosen the soil around the onion bulbs. You can use a pitchfork to do this, taking care not to pierce the onions themselves.

Gently Pull the Onions

With the soil loosened, gently grasp the tops of the onions and pull them out of the ground. It’s advisable to keep the full stem intact to prevent any possible rot during the drying and curing process.

Timing Matters

It’s important to note that onions should be harvested in late summer, preferably before the onset of cooler weather. Picking your onions before the weather gets too chilly will help prevent spoilage and damage from direct sunlight.


When are onions ready to harvest?

Onions are ready to harvest when the tops have fallen over and turned brown, and the bulbs are firm and dry. This usually takes between 100 and 120 days from planting.

Can I pick onions early?

Yes, you can pick onions early, but they will not be as mature or stored as well. If you need to pick onions early, choose the largest bulbs and let them cure for a few weeks before storing them.

How do I know if my onions are cured?

Onions are cured when the necks are dry and the outer skin is papery. Once cured, onions can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months.

Can I eat onions straight from the garden?

Yes, you can eat onions straight from the garden, but they will have a stronger flavor. If you prefer a milder flavor, cure your onions before eating.

What are the different types of onions and how long do they take to mature?

There are three main types of onions: short-day, intermediate-day, and long-day onions. Short-day onions mature in about 100 days, intermediate-day onions mature in about 110 days, and long-day onions mature in about 120 days.

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