Organic farming of Onion; process and requirements

Organic farming of Onion

Organic farming helps the farmer to conduct farming with a low budget of investment and using naturally available organic products. They increase the efficiency of the crop production and also fertilize the soil. Organic manure does not harm any of the living organisms in the soil unlike conventional farming techniques that uses chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Now let us look at the techniques used for organic onion farming.

Onion is a major ingredient in our food culture. It is also known as bulb onion and comes under the category of Allium species. Onion comes in different sizes and shapes. They have different colour gradients such as yellow, white and red. Depending upon the sizes, they are classified into small and large onion. The leaves of the onion plants are pale blue in colour and onion globules are found in the roots of the plant. Onion is generally build-up of different layers of skin which is juicy inside. Other than cooking purposes, they are used for making salads and pickles. Medical qualities of onions include decreasing of sugar level and it also helps to control platelet aggregation. Onion was found to be originated from Asia and America.

While taking the statistics of onion production countries, China comes first in the list followed by India and United States.

Organically producing onions can be divided into 4 types:

  • White onions: They are physically white in colour with a little sweetness. These variations can be eaten raw or can cook.
  • Red onions: Red onions are the commonly found type of onions. They are consumed raw or along with sandwiches and salads.
  • Bunching onions: They are also referred to as Chinese onions and do not come in bulb form. Different types of bunching onions include White Lisbon, long white and parade.

There is no certain period to cultivate onions. They are cultivated in different seasons and the major factor that decides plantation period is the climate and the environment.

Mainly two types of onions are cultivated in organic farming:

  • Short type
  • Long type

Short varieties are cultivated during the hottest atmosphere in the winter time. They give best yields when they are exposed in 12 hours of light. Long type varieties are grown in colder districts and bears efficient yields when they are exposed to 15-16 hours of sunlight.

Soil suitable for onion cultivation should be free and breezy up to a depth of 8 inches. Apart from soil, dirt must be present in large quantities. Free soil does not allow water logging and thus helping the onions away from rotting and fungal infections. Prepare farmland in places where the crops gets minimum 6-8 hours of sunlight.

Crops are planted either as seeds, seedlings or sets.

When onions are grown from seeds, it poses a greater advantage to the cultivators and it will take four months to get mature.

Onion seedlings are planted directly in the farmland. Seedlings are acquired from the store as a bundle, each seedling with a thickness of a pen.

Whereas ‘sets’ are of bulb form, which were kept aside from the previous harvest. Planting sets is the most efficient way to grow onion. One of the reasons is that they are resistant diseases.

Onion bulbs/seeds are replanted during the monsoon reason as there is no need of irrigation while sowing, the soil will be wet and suitable to plant crops.

Onions are also cultivated using Greenhouse or Polyhouse technique.

Organic Farming

Bed preparation is an important aspect of onion cultivation. Usually the standard bed size is 3m long, 0.6 wide and 20-30 cm high. Between two consecutive beds, 70 cm distance is maintained.

Apart from the beds, onions are cultivated in pots and container and placing them in suitable climates.

For onion cultivation, drip irrigation is the preferred type of irrigation technique. In some cases, spray irrigation method is also followed.

Organic fertilizers and pesticides are applied at regular intervals. Organic composts are provided in two to three weeks after planting.

To prevent the growth of weed, natural weed control techniques like herbicides, vinegar, clove oil, ammonium palargonate are used.

Major infections and diseases caused to onion plants are bacterial blight, white rot, fusarium wilt, purple blotch.

When it comes to pest, onion thrips, armyworms and cultworms are the major threat which destroys the yield.

The best time to harvest the crop is when the top of the shoot turns yellow and falls off.


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