Basic Requirements for Onion Farming
CONDITIONS FOR ONION FARMING
Onions do well in fertile, well-drained, sandy loam soil. They prefer pH ranging between 5.8 and 6.8. That’s why you need to have your soil tested before you start planting.
When it comes to temperature, onions perform well in areas with 13-35 degrees-Celsius. That means onions can do well in most parts of Kenya and throughout the year. However, average rainfall is needed. As such, semi-arid areas like Ukambani, Tana River, and North Eastern might require the use of drip irrigation and greenhouses.
You also have to apply appropriate fertilizers to boost production. In that case, 20 grams of DAP fertilizer per 1 square meter or foliar feed application can suffice. When it comes to seedling, you can use 1kg of seeds to plant 1 acre of well-prepared land. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Challenges facing Onion Farming in Kenya
Rains or Excess Watering: Too much rains or excess watering can water log the crop. If the rain in your area is too much, focus on growing the crop during the short rains. You can also raise the beds to ensure the water flows out of the field. Avoid excessive watering of your onions. The best type of irrigation on onions is drip irrigation. Overhead irrigation should be avoided as it causes fungal diseases.
Diseases: Common diseases that affect onions include Downy Mildew, Bacterial Soft Rots, Pink/White Root, Botrytis, and Rusts. Use herbicides to get rid of the diseases.
Pests: Common pests that attack onions include maggots, thrips, nematodes and the leaf miner. Use pesticides from accredited brands to get rid of the pests.
Weeds: Weeds can also destroy your crop and should be removed occasionally either physically or through the use of herbicides. In one season, there should be at least 2 – 3 weeding sessions.
The best time to do the harvesting is during the dry season. Keep a calendar and record the essential dates to ensure you harvest at the right time. Bulb onions are ready for harvesting once they form a shiny membranous cover around the bulbs or when the foliage withers. Spring onions are ready for harvesting when they are 15 centimeters tall and 1.5 centimeters thick.
Harvesting is done by pulling the bulbs and then chopping off the leaves. You then dry the bulbs in the sun before storing the produce.