How Do You Know When Onions Are Ready to Harvest?

Onions are a versatile and popular vegetable that are used in a wide variety of dishes. Whether you’re a professional chef or an amateur cook, knowing when to harvest onions is an essential skill. Here are some tips to help you determine when your onions are ready to harvest.

Consider the Onion Variety

The first thing to consider when harvesting onions is the variety. Different onion varieties have different maturity times, so it’s important to know which type of onion you are growing.

For example, short-day onions typically mature in around 100 days, while long-day onions can take up to 150 days to mature. If you’re unsure of the variety of onion you’re growing, check the seed packet or ask a local gardening expert.

Check the Tops of the Onions

One of the easiest ways to determine if your onions are ready to harvest is to check the tops of the onions. When the tops of the onions turn yellow and start to fall over, it’s a sign that the onions are ready to harvest.

If you’re growing long-day onions, the tops may not fall over completely, but they will start to bend over. In contrast, short-day onions will have fully fallen over.

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Inspect the Onion Bulbs

Another way to tell if your onions are ready to harvest is to inspect the bulbs themselves. The bulbs should be firm and have a papery skin. If the skin is still soft, the onions are not ready to be harvested.

Additionally, if the bulbs are too large or have started to split, they may have been left in the ground too long. It’s best to harvest onions before they reach this stage.

Test a Few Onions

If you’re still unsure if your onions are ready to harvest, you can test a few onions by gently digging them up. If the bulbs are the size you want and the skin is papery, the rest of the onions are likely ready to harvest as well.

Harvesting Onions

When it’s time to harvest your onions, start by loosening the soil around the bulbs with a garden fork. Be careful not to damage the bulbs in the process.

Once the bulbs are loose, gently pull them out of the ground by the tops. Be sure to let them dry in the sun for a few days before storing them in a cool, dry place.


Knowing when to harvest onions is an important skill for any gardener or cook. By considering the variety of onion, checking the tops and inspecting the bulbs, and testing a few onions, you can ensure that your onions are harvested at the right time.

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If you’re still unsure about when to harvest your onions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local gardening expert for advice. With a little practice and experience, you’ll be harvesting delicious onions in no time!