How to Farm Onions

Onion farming is a good idea if you have unused land in your backyard. Perhaps, this crop does not attract the attention of many people yet it supports million lives specifically children who help in the planting process.

There are some places in the world where locals depend their living in onion farming.

onions from farm

For many years, onion farming became popular across Yemen. However, due to lack of interest of many farmers the industry declines. Fortunately, nowadays lots of people engage in backyard gardening and they find growing onions as their choice. There are two categories of onion such as the short day onions and the long day onions. These two onions differ on the growing period. Likewise, when buying for onion varieties that you will grow you can choose from bulb onions and the perennial onions.

How to Plant Onions?

Onions can be grown from seeds, sets and transplant. When you choose to grow onions from seeds you should plant the seeds ½ inches apart and 3/8 inch deep. The rows should be 15 inches apart. On the other hand, the bulb onions are perfect to grow from transplant. The planting process is merely the same with growing from seeds. In like manner, the bulb onions can be easily grown by planting sets. Planting sets can be can be grown closely together but needs to be thin out by getting the green onions and the others will grow into bulbs.

Maintaining onion Plants

Farming onion plants requires lot of water as they initially grow. However, as the plants mature, thy do not need much of water. Sometimes you can just depend on rainwater but make sure that the plants absorb the right amount every 5-7 days. Mulching can help reduce the weeds and at the same time maintain the soil moisture level. Keep in mind to weed out once the onions start to grow so that the weeds will not absorb the soil nutrients needed by the onions. However, you should be careful when weeding and ensure not to disturb the roots of the onions. In addition, you may not use fertilizer if you employ quality compost in the soil before planting the onions. Instead, you should use root builder like the natural mycorrhizal fungi. It helps the roots in absorbing water as well as soil nutrients by attaching to the roots. In this way, you can save the organic fertilizer for other crops.

Harvesting Onions

Bulb onions can be harvested within three months. When the plants start to yellow then it is the right time to harvest the bulb onions. Ripening process can be induced by breaking the tops of the onions. It is best to harvest the onions prior of producing flower stalks. On the other hand, you can only harvest the green onion as soon as it reaches 5 inches tall. The flavor depends on how taller they get. This means that if you want a strong flavor onion you should let it grow taller.

FAQ

Q. What is the best time for planting onion?
A. Usually onion seeds are planted in mid-october.

Q. What temperature is best suited for onion farming?
A. Temperature should be 15-25 degree celcius or 60-80 F. Onion needs uniform moisture throughout the growing season. More likely the furrow irrigation is used for onion planting.

Q. What are the various onion plant diseases?
A. Here are the common diseases that you need to aware of like botrytis leaf blight, purple blotch, pink root, smudge and several basal rots.

166 Comments

  • tafadzwa said on February 22, 2011
    i like to plant onion and i'm from zimbabwe
  • tafadzwa albert madeyi said on March 2, 2011
    i'm doing my farming in zim,in the seke areas,currently i have got 70,000 onions yet to be harvested in may, my problem is i wish to do more than i'm doing now but i don't have funds, i wish to do contract based farming, if you can help.
  • khaya mgweba said on March 16, 2011
    I would like to start farming with onions, please help.[South Africa], Eastern Cape. Regards, Khaya
  • Raghunath expert adviser said on March 18, 2011
    @khaya mgweba, Hello khaya mgweba, see the FAQ section to learn more about Onion farming.

    Raghunath Natarajan
    Startup Biz Hub - Advisor (Staff)

  • brighton madziwana said on May 21, 2011
    hi. i am in the onion farming business but i wish to expand my capacity to fully utilise my 10ha farm. i was kindly asking if i could get assistance in the form of knowledge on the diseases onions are likely to suffer from and the pesticides that can help. what type of soil exactly is best for onions? , what amount of water is required? is it wise to plant them in winter in a country like zimbabwe with temperatures averaging 15 to 25 in winter? i am in desperate need of a partner who shares the same passion and who can help with capital and knowledge and we split proceeds accordingly. thanx
  • charles lyewe said on June 14, 2011
    i want to farm onions and am in tanzania - east africa.. please help out with ideas of how should i go about it.. what to start with and how to handle the whole farming process. thank you
  • eunice ogru said on June 17, 2011
    i want to farm onions in delta state, south-south Nigeria. i need to know if the nature of the soil can be favorable for onions farming. please, i need general onions farming techniques information.thank you
  • Grace said on June 20, 2011
    When is the right season to plant onions in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • Adenga Jimmy said on September 1, 2011
    Have started planting onions, in Northern Uganda Lira District. Its unfortunate that my onion seedling have started wilting from the tips yet there is enough rain and i water it when there is no rain. What could be this problem? Thanks you.
  • Edidiong Bassey said on November 18, 2011
    i want to farm onions in akwa ibom state, south-south Nigeria. i need to know if the nature of the soil can be favorable for onions farming and if not, I need to know how to make the conditions favorable. please, i need general onions farming techniques information.thank you
  • Focus said on December 14, 2011
    I need to start onions farming in Mwanza region-Tanzania what are things need me to put into consideration including the time for planting, soil type and amount of rain fall? Focus
  • Okwakol Robert said on February 7, 2012
    I am seeking for reliable information from an experienced person on extensive onion growing at leased 2 acres. The type of soils, fertilizers (Soroti land is exhausted), treatment. Challenges to expect and probable harvest. Okwakol Robert, from Soroti, Uganda-East Africa.
  • sam robert said on May 1, 2012
    i want to start onion farming but i dont know about the season,type of soil,suitable crop type, crop diseases and the time from planting to harvesting.
  • james mbepera said on May 12, 2012
    i am in Dar es salaam Tanzania i am maximum interested in onions business but i dont have enough knowledge can you assist me, which season, fertilizer required, crop disease and its prevention nature of soil etc
  • EDWARD MALAMA said on May 21, 2012
    how much do i need to grow one hector of onions and how much yield is expected from one hector. Chisamba farms lusaka zambia
  • wanzala fred said on July 18, 2012
    i have started planting onions in uganda. i need the pests and diseases that affect it
  • WILLIAM MVUNGI said on August 1, 2012
    Iam from Tanzania and i need to start farming onions,so for 1ha,how much of money do i need to start with.and what kind of onion seed are suitable for my area TANZANIA EAST AFRICA
  • godson barnabas kaaya said on August 21, 2012
    I am farming onions, watermelon, tomatoes, maize and rice in the Coastal region of Tanzania, The land is virgin that most of agrochemicals are not needed. I am planing to divide my farm into organic and non organic farming. Who is interested to join in the marketing of organic one especially for export? so that i concentrating in quality organic products while the counterpart concentrate in selling. The business is located in Bagamoyo, Coastal region of The republic united of Tanzania, East Africa.
  • Veronica N Kamau said on August 30, 2012
    I want to plant bulb onion in Kajiado district Rift valley Province in Kenya
  • MBABAJENDE SAID MOUKHTAAR said on September 15, 2012
    I strongly want to farm onions but still more clarification in terms of market is needed. I'm in RWANDA SOUTHERN PROVINCE. THANK YOU!
  • josephsalutary said on September 23, 2012
    am tanzanian liven at singida, i would like to start planting onions during this season.. but can you help to know what major things to consider on onion plantation..
  • Omary mvano said on October 2, 2012
    Am in Iringa Tanzania, i want to have an onions plantation by next year what are the best tips on it.
  • Tumwine Pius said on October 17, 2012
    I would like to know the rain patterns of Rwahi area in Ntungamo District-Uganda. I want to engage in onion farming
  • Fasugba Ayobami said on October 24, 2012
    I live in western part of Nigeria, i love to plant onion bulbs soon. Pls you did not specify the size of onion bulb best for planting. Is it the large one or small ones. Thank you.
  • ben kyengo said on October 29, 2012
    i would like to plant onions on four Ha at makindu-kenya .the area is known to be very high temperatures.advice.
  • Amarjit Singh Bhattal beginner adviser said on November 2, 2012

    @ben kyengo,  I am a farmer from North India and we also get extreme hot temperature in summer(40 degrees Celsius plus) and in winters dec, jan, feb( touches 0 degrees also sometimes). We plant seeds in oct and transplant saplings in dec-jan. harvest in april( temp around 33-37 deg C). I have farmer friends in kenya who are into wheat and sugarcane. Since you have not mentioned the temperature and rain distribution of your area, I cannot be specific, but our onions and wheat grow concurrently. So, it is likely that you too can grow onions( We have an Indian variety called Nasik reds which can bear high temperature). They are similar to spanish red onions and have strong taste and average size. I hope this helps. All the best,

    captbhattal@gmail.com || Farming Expert

  • Jonas Martin said on November 10, 2012
    I'm a farmer Tanzania northen zone, in Arusha, i need to start the project of farming onion. My opinion is to get the proper, procedure on how to cultivate, i think that will get help from you.
  • nanteza eve shillingi said on November 19, 2012
    Am a farmer in uganda, kampala, East africa. i just want to start an onion farm looking forward to getting more information
  • william nyabongo said on November 22, 2012
    am from western uganda and i would like to state growing onions on my 6hcr's and i need some advise on how to go about with onions and how many times can i grow onions on the same piece of land as in do i have to do crop rotation thanks.
  • casim mpanga said on November 23, 2012
    i am from Uganda i want to farm onions but i need advise from you my friends
  • anarjit singh bhattal said on November 24, 2012
    Most of the details for onion farming have been covered above in article. Pls mention specific questions so that others can give advice and views. . . regards. Write your business location to help you better. Exp: City, State, Country
  • Christopher said on December 4, 2012
    Amainyi, Imo State, Nigeria. Am about to start cultivation of onions and I want to know if onions can thrive well in the swamps
  • Tierney said on December 23, 2012
    Where do you get onion and other vegetable seed in Uganda? Are there seed companies which sell small amounts of seed to individuals for home and community gardens?
  • Grace said on January 3, 2013
    Hey, I come from Kenya, Nyahururu area, and would like to try onion farming. Please advise on the best seeds and time to plant, diseases and corresponding pesticides.
  • Anteneh Aenhesha said on January 4, 2013
    Hi I am living in ethiopia and now I would like to start onion farming but the temperature reach about 25-30 degrees Celsius. pls can you tail me the proper type of seed for this temperature range.
  • Hope william said on January 15, 2013
    I want to know about fertilizers, pests and its treatment for bulb onions, and what is the better season to preparing nursery, transplanting and harvesting.
  • Hellen said on January 28, 2013
    I am from Bagamoyo, Tanzania, I have 50 acres of land, want to start onions farming. I want to do irrigation as well, kindly advise me. Thanks
  • Jude said on February 5, 2013
    Am a student of Ebonyi state university (NIGERIA) studying Agric economics and extension. I just need a complete information on modern way of applying on agriculture on onion farm
  • kundhlande joseph said on February 6, 2013
    farm is in region 1b zimbabwe. i want to do 1 hec. how much seed and fert do i need?
  • Mayamiko maonga said on February 14, 2013
    can you plant onions in rain season?
  • Pasqualino Okello said on February 20, 2013
    I am currently growing Onions, I already have an hector ploughed and ready for the rainy season. I need market for about 20 bags by June.
  • idah nansamba said on February 26, 2013
    I live in uganda and i want to start an onion farm. i need to know the estimate of yield if i used an acre for this kind of farming.
  • Keitany K Nicodemus said on February 26, 2013
    I am in Iten, Kenya. I would like to start farming onions. I would like to source capital. Please help.
  • Ash Farmer said on March 5, 2013
    I want to start a onion farm in Georgia, United State. I Need an Indian onion Farmer Advisor to go to USA preferable from Nasik India, With thorough knowledge of onion farming. Please contact via email for further discussion. AK
  • Vincent oluoch said on March 6, 2013
    Hi, am vincent from nairobi, kenya i am interested in starting onion farm but am financially challenged please help me
  • Michael musyoka said on March 17, 2013
    Doing growing and marketing of water melons and onions in machakos and nairobi counties .so help me know where i can get these products at reasonable prices.
  • kikoyo muhammad said on March 18, 2013
    am augandan who is willing to start onion farming. so i need some advise and how to start....
  • fionah Mugisa said on April 8, 2013
    hi, i have two pieces of land, one in wobulenzi central Uganda which is a bit rocky. the second piece is in western Uganda in fortportal district. the land is really fertile and but tea is the most grown crop. where is the place to put this farming...
  • Goodluck said on April 13, 2013
    am from Arusha how can i start unions plantation
  • drake kabuye said on April 15, 2013
    my location is in wakiso. i need to first of all restore the soil fertility to the lands since they have been exhausted need tips on onion growing, which type is best for wakiso-uganda-EA soils. please advise coz i want to start in a few weeks time.
  • Morice ochieng said on April 16, 2013
    What are things required in order to conduct one hectare of onion farm special place around central Tanzania
  • Muthoni Kabeberi said on April 22, 2013
    I want to start growing onions in Kajiado and need all the information I can get regarding type and planting guidelines. Please help!!
  • Amarjit Singh Bhattal beginner adviser said on April 22, 2013

    @Ash Farmer,  Yellow and white onions of Geogia state, USA are very famous. Yours and Wala Wala in Washington state are most famous. I am sure red Indian onions are being cultivated there in small quantity though those cold months can ab issue. Please elaborate what kind of help you need? Is it only the seed that you need or advice or contract farming? All the best.

    captbhattal@gmail.com || Farming Expert

  • Amarjit Singh Bhattal beginner adviser said on April 22, 2013

    @Anteneh Aenhesha,  Temperatures of 25-30 Celsius are no problem for red onions. They thrive well in heat provided the soil has good drainage and are regularly irrigated. All the best.

    captbhattal@gmail.com || Farming Expert

  • Reuben Jinega said on April 24, 2013
    My names are Reuben Jinega Tanzania. I am intending to start onion farming very soon. What kind of good seeds for that farming. How can I get that. What are the spacing details pertaining planting and Management in general. How can I get the literature for onion growing.
  • simba silendeni said on April 29, 2013
    I want to grow bulb onion in Harare, Zimbabwe. I have land measuring about 1ha. What type of fertilizer is suitable for onion and required quantities. Is onion susceptible to frost?
  • daniel joram said on April 30, 2013
    i am DANIEL in kampala uganda . i am grateful for the above info on onion farming .am looking forward to a booming future on my side.
  • Amarjit Singh Bhattal beginner adviser said on May 2, 2013

    @simba silendeni, Onions do not fare well in frost like conditions, specially at nascent stage. spread hay around the saplings( Also Mulching) can be helpful upto some extent. About fertilizer, I suggest you should get the soil tested to see which nutrients are lacking in soil before fertilizing it. Onions can give good results in low fertility soils also and cattle manure, compost and vermi compost are always suitable for onions.

    captbhattal@gmail.com || Farming Expert

  • tomero@hotmail.com said on May 8, 2013
    I have 15 acres of onion plantation and looking for serious wholesale buyers. contact me at tomero@hotmail.com if interested.
  • Ogunyemi michael said on May 16, 2013
    I realized that onions are largely cultivated in northern part of Nigeria while little or none in the south-west, for somebody like me who would like to cultivate onion, what are the factors limiting the cultivation and how to mitigate them in south-western Nigeria.
  • ketra said on May 17, 2013
    i am from Western Kenya, which is the best season for planting onions?
  • Thandeka said on May 28, 2013
    South Africa, kwaZulu Natal.. I want known how much will i get out of 1 hectare of onion garden, you can reply with estimated figures
  • Amarjit Singh Bhattal beginner adviser said on May 31, 2013

    @Thandeka, A rough estimate would be around 150-200 quintals....depends though on breed of onions, soil, care.. many factors...All the best

    captbhattal@gmail.com || Farming Expert

  • harriet said on June 3, 2013
    I would like to plant onions in kenya place called kisii pls advice on the best season,
  • dax tiu said on June 4, 2013
    Hi my name is dax I'm thinking to go on farming onion I'm looking for right farm in upstate new York can u advise me if that's a good idea or location is right and do I have the farm soil check before I move forward tnx so much
  • BRAIN MADZIKO said on June 4, 2013
    AM PLANNING ON FARMING ONIONS HOW DO I GO ABOUT IT HELP ME AM IN ZIMBABWE
  • sydney maseleni kapata said on June 5, 2013
    am planning to start farming onions this season, i want to do about a one hector. how much do i need for the start and i want to do this during the rain season, is it right for me to do that please help...
  • sydney maseleni kapata said on June 5, 2013
    am from zambia and we have a farm in cetral part of zambia called chisamba. am planing to start farming onion, i need to know the best soil and the what type of diseases i may encounter.
  • tibamugaya josephat said on June 5, 2013
    I would like to start onion farming on a commercial level in Wakiso and Kabale districts of Uganda, what could be the best planting time and what procedures do you follow to raise onions from the time when you sow the seeds in the seed bed up to harvesting time. thank u.
  • Twahirwa Edward said on June 12, 2013
    Am Edward Twahirwa from Uganda. i am intending to start an onion farm this year. unlike tomato growing which i cant repeat again, what are some of the problems that face onion growing
  • Garuhanga joseline said on June 19, 2013
    Am from uganda mukono district i want to plant onion i want to get more information about the best seeds,how to take care of them and which season is best for planting
  • Erone paul said on June 20, 2013
    I am from eastern uganda(bukedea). I want to know a country like uganda. One can plant onions at any season apart from october.
  • Erone paul said on June 20, 2013
    Am from eastern uganda(bukedea). Can one plant onions in the month of June or July?
  • Timothy said on July 4, 2013
    Hi there. I live in Uganda and would like to start an onion farm at my country home, purely for business. Please guide me on the key points to consider. Season, care, spacing among others. Thank you. Timothy.
  • Francis said on July 8, 2013
    Hi there, am living in Uganda and i would like to an onion farm purely for business. i hope to start the plantation in the September-October season on 2 acres but i need more advise on the way forward. Thank you, Francis
  • Takadiyi Shadreck Zhakata said on July 13, 2013
    I want to do contract farming for onions so help me to get in contact with genuine onion farming contractors
  • Takadiyi Shadreck Zhakata said on July 13, 2013
    The main area I want help is on marketing of onions hence the need of contractors who will buy the crop.
  • Thomas Mgoli said on July 14, 2013
    I am a Tanzanian Agronomist engineer, who want any help concerning annual crops such as onions can contact, REGARDS.
  • Agnes Ekulam said on July 18, 2013
    Hi there, am living in Uganda and would like to take an onion farm purely for business. I hope to start the plantation in September/October season on 1 acre. I would need more advise on the way forward. Regards Agnes.
  • Joyce Kamya said on July 21, 2013
    Am Ugandan with some acres I want to start onion growing for the coming season, My worry is about the market and best way to plant them
  • Agnes Ekulam said on July 25, 2013
    Wakiso, Uganda. where can one get onion seeds in Kampala?
  • Sendi frank said on July 30, 2013
    Am frank in Kampala. where can i find onion seeds in kampala?.
  • mathenge said on July 31, 2013
    I grow onions in Kieni area of Nyeri county and would like to linkup with other onion farmers so we can interact and enlighten each other. Somebody get in touch.
  • Ronald Tenywa said on August 2, 2013
    I am Ronald from Eastern Uganda. I wish to do Onion farming on my 5 acre land in Iganga. The soil is clay loam. is this good land for onions. I need more information on varieties, nursery bed preparation and farm management for the same.
  • brenda kambaila said on August 5, 2013
    i am based in zambia..in lusaka.where can i find good onion seedlings in zambia..to be planted between august en november. advise.brenda mweemba
  • jacob mrema said on August 14, 2013
    Am living in Kilimanjaro(TPC NYULENDI)I want to start onion farming and i wish to know starting from the point of plant until harvesting.
  • Zzvaitwa Zinyemba said on August 15, 2013
    I am in ZIMBABWE in the Chinhoyi area and own a small plot 12 hectares in size. I am interested in onion production. Please can I have information about funding partners because I am incapacitated financially. I would also like to have a manual or guide on onion production.
  • Bashirat omidina said on August 18, 2013
    I dont know much about onions farming but i want to start farming onions in Abeokuta, Ogun state, south west, Nigeria
  • asiimwe loy said on August 20, 2013
    I want to start onion growing in Uganda, Mityana road. Can i please be assisted with information on planting, weeding, harvesting the jambar F1 type in my country?
  • Sohel said on August 23, 2013
    Hi, we are from Bangladesh and recently, import from India is troubled because our fish (Hilsa) export to them is also slow, creating a price hike for onions in Bangladesh. I would like to farm for onions in Tanzania where I can make my investment in the land and equipment. These onions can be exported to Bangladesh if found to be economically viable. Any Tanzanians interested can mail me at runinan@gmail.com
  • ernest lihawa said on August 26, 2013
    we can do the best in onion production if we want to do it.
  • JOSEPH CLEMENCE NYONI said on September 11, 2013
    FROM IRINGA TANZANIA I WANT TO FARM ONION IN TANZANIA I HECTOR, I HAVE ENOUGH FUND SO HOW CAN I START WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE. contact JOSEPH CLEMENCE JOSEPH(facebook)
  • Lemma Yimer said on October 13, 2013
    1. What is the problem if we cut the bulb half way and plant the root side of the bulb. It will be splitted into a number of bulbs and gives a good yield. Does it have any nutritional deficiency?.
    2. I know that onion bolts in the second harvesting year. What is the cycle of bolting of onions?
  • dharmendra,assam said on October 23, 2013
    hello, sir, i am dharmendra, from guwahati, assam. i am interested to doing onion farming at my village. so i want to doing a training under you. how it is possible? pliz contact me 09435279128.
  • Guat Lee Ganan said on October 24, 2013
    My farm is located at Juncarlo, San Andress, Province of Romblon. we would like to plant onions because we have land area vacant. Hoping you can give us training or feasibility study for one hectare of Onion plantation.
  • Kenneth Oula said on November 6, 2013
    Which books contain onion farming in different types of soils, with varied soil nutrients and recommended varieties and mainly for Nyanza and Coastal regions in Kenya?
  • weldemariam said on November 13, 2013
    i need help on onion i am going to conduct research related fertilizer and spacing. thanks for your fast response.
  • ALOYCE KISAKA said on November 16, 2013
    NUMBER 99 . DER BERMUDER, I M FROM TANZANIA EAST AFKICA ,I WANT TO PLANT ONIONS HAVE A FARM 200ACRES 150 KM FROM DAR ES SALAAM OUR CAPITAL CITY. THERE IS UNDERGROUND WATER 20M DEEP WELL THERE IS A PLENTY OF WATER . I NEED A PARTNER TO DEVELOP THE LAND . WANT IS NEEDED IS WIND TURBINE PUMP AND FARMING EQUIPMENTS . NUMBER 99. IF YOU DR. BERMUDA GREEN ARE INTERESTED LET ME KNOW.
  • Ramadhani Masudi said on November 18, 2013
    Dear all, I am Tanzanian who invested in farming. I am growing onions and Mushroom. I am looking for a good markets for onions, cucumber, watermelons, peppers and mushroom. I will be so glad to have your response. Best regards, Rogers
  • Lilian said on November 26, 2013
    Hi! I'm Lilian from Tanzania. I live in Nairobi. I want to start onions business. Right now I have ready market in Nairobi town. I want to take onions from Arusha-TZ but problem is cost of buying onions and transport are very high. Please advice me.

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