HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN ONION
After 13 years of experience in market-gardening, I would like to offer some advice to fellow ALlN
friends, in regard to growing your own onion seed. You already know this favourite vegetable is a good
source of income for the producers and of tasty sauces for the family! But did you know the onion is
a biennial plant which takes two years to grow and give seed? In the first year, it develops a reserve -
the bulb - which is the part we eat. If left unharvested, or if replanted, the bulb, after a period of
rest, puts out new leaves and shoots in the second year. After between 150 and 180 days, you can
harvest the seed-heads. It is simple enough, but I will give you some helpful tips.
Selecting good bulbs
You should choose bulbs weighing about 100 grams and which haven't flowered during their first
year. Bulbs that are kept in a dry, well-aired place have a better chance of preserving their capacity
for flowering. 100 to 120 kgs of onions are necessary to plant a surface area of 100 m2 and you
can harvest 5 to 8 kgs of seed - a good supply!
When to plant?
The development of the seed heads is favoured in relatively low temperatures and daylight lasting for
about 10 to 12 hours. In Burkina Faso, the best time for planting onions is in the month of October,
when the plants can take advantage of the cool dry weather, from December to February, which is
best for the growth of flowers and seed.
Preparing the seedbed
In order to obtain young onion plants, put your onions first of all in a seedbed. Cut the bulbs as
shown below in order to have a good growth. Plant them to a depth of 8 or 9 cm.
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