Nutritive Value: Onion has several medicinal properties and is used as a vegetable, a salad and a condiment. Onion contains 90 percent water, 6.4 percent carbohydrates, 1.9 percent proteins and 0.6 percent fibers, 0.4 percent minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and iron, and is rich in vitamins B and C.
Soil and Climate: Light to medium fertile and porous soil with good drainage and a soil pH ranging from 6.5 to 8.5 is ideal for growing onions. Onion is a winter season vegetable crop. It grows well in temperatures of 15 - 25 °C and a humidity of 70 percent.
Important Varieties: Pusa Red, Pusa White, Nashik Red, Arka Nikethan, Arka Pragathi and Arka Kalyan are popular varieties of onion grown in South India.
Planting and Irrigation: Onion is grown by seedlings. Seeds are sown from September to November for the winter season crop and from May to June for the rainy season crop. Two months’ seedling with a height of 15 to 20 cm can be transplanted on beds at 20 x 10 cm distances. The home gardener will definitely like to grow different colored varieties of onion in the same bed.
Plant Protection: The onion crop is mostly attacked by insect pests like thrips. This pest sucks the sap from leaves and leaves look like scraping with the upper surface that reduces the capacity for photosynthesis. This pest can be controlled by spraying neem seed extract on the crop.
Harvesting: It is advantageous to bend the necks of fully matured onion 8 to 10 days before harvesting. Doing so can stop the growth of leaves and the sap is diverted to the bulb and bulbs become fully matured and filled to its maximum with the outer skin becoming dry. Bulbs are harvested by manual uprooting.