Onion seedlings-How to raise and tranplant them successfully

Onion seedlings-How to raise and transplant them successfully


In our last article, we looked at key features of common onion varieties in Kenya and from the farmer’s comments and questions, we observed that you can select a good variety but be frustrated as more than 50% of the seedling die in the seedbed due to poor management caused by lack of correct information. Even though we have a general guideline on seedling raising, most farmers requested we do another one specifically for onions with how and when to transplant.

Onion seedlings management and transplanting

Seed propagation is the common method that works well. Direct seeding doesn’t work well even though most agronomists working for onion seed companies do recommend it.

Onion seedling-How to raise and transplant them successfully

An acre of land has a seed rate of about 0.8-1.2 kg which is sown in a one-meter wide seedbed as explained in detail in this article.

Learn the simple secrets of sukuma wiki (kales) farming

How to establish your onion nursery?
  • Prepare seedbeds with a maximum of 1m wide and incorporate well-decomposed farmyard manure, 20kg/M2
  • Make rows of about 15cm apart, and then drill the seed thinly in 1cm furrows and cover lightly with soil and mulch.
  • Onion seeds often take 7-10 days to germinate.
How to manage your onions nursery?
Onion seedlings-How to raise and transplant then successfuly
  • Ensure you irrigate the nursery bed regularly
  • Remove the mulch immediately the seeds emerge and prepare a raised cover
  • Manage the weeds, pests and diseases; if any but with low concentration chemicals

Read: How to farm tomatoes in bacterial wilt affected greenhouse

When to transplant your onion seedlings?
  • Transplant your seedlings 6-8 weeks after sowing. At this stage, it has 3-5 well-formed leaves with a pencil-thick base.
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What is the correct spacing?
  • Transplant in 2.5-3 cm deep trenches at a spacing of 30 cm between the rows and 8-10cm between plants

Read also: Find the step by step guideline on capsicum farming

How to transplant your onion seedlings!
  • It is always good to carry out soil analysis to determine the nutrient requirement of the soil before planting.
  • Always irrigate the seedbed before pulling out the seedlings
  • Irrigate the field as well a day before transplanting
  • During transplanting, pull out carefully the seedlings to avoid damage
  • Cut off 50 per cent of the green tops to hasten the take-off
  • You can add well-decomposed manure on the trenches you are planting on
  • When planting onion sets, don’t bury them more than one inch under the soil.

In our next article, we will look at fertilizer application and onion disease management.

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