Onion agribusiness is a lucrative and a thriving venture in Kenya. The market for onion is expanding day by day and Kenyan farmers are reaping big from onion farming. This article will show you how to grow onions the right way and make money out of it.
Onion thrives way and can be grown in most parts of the country among them, Bungoma Chwele, Mount Elgon, Makueni county, Kieni, Meru, Karatina, Naivasha, Kajiado, Emali and many more.
Season for planting onions in Kenya
Onion plants should be planted in the mid rainy season as soon as the soil can be worked and the danger of flooding is minimal. The recommended temperature is 20 to 27 ° C. High temperatures affect onion production, causing them to dry.
You can plant onions from April through July, although the best time to plant is between May and June.
Onions are hardy plants that can withstand cold season, but they do best when the soil is warm. They should be planted in full sun and well-drained soil.
Onions prefer sandy loam soils. Low fertility and high acidity are the two key factors for onion production. The best soil pH range is between 6.0 and 6.8. The ideal phosphorus (P) level for onion production is 80 to 120 ppm; potash (K), 120 to 180 ppm; and magnesium (Mg), 20 to 50 ppm.
Types Of Onions varieties best for Kenyan soil
There are a number of different types of onions, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. Here are some of the most common varieties:
Red onion: This variety has a milder taste than yellow or white onions. The red skin also means that you can use it to add color to your dish without having to cook it as long as you would other varieties.
Yellow onion: Yellow onions have a stronger flavor than red or white onions, and they can be used in almost any recipe!
White onion: White onions have a milder flavor than yellow or red onions and are great for making sauces and condiments because they don’t overpower other flavors like yellow or red onions would.
There are various breeds of onions that thrive in Kenya. We have the local variety and hybrid variety.
Local variety of onions in Kenya include
- Red Creole
- Texas Grano
- Bombay Red
Hybrid onion variety in Kenya
- Red Nice F1
- Rasta F1
- Red Coach F1
- Malbec F1
- Red passion F1
- Neptune F1
- Red Connect F1
- Rosa F1
- Ruby F1
- Red Pinnoy F1
- Sivan F1
- Jambar F1
Depending on where you are, identify the variety that does well within your locality
Preparation of Land
Preparing the land for onion farming is a process that you should start months before you even plant your first seed. First, you have to decide whether you’ll be using organic or conventional practices. If you choose organic, then you’ll need to take care of the land in preparation for planting by using crop rotation and cover crops.
If you choose conventional methods, then you should use mechanical cultivation practices instead of chemical ones. This means that instead of using pesticides and herbicides on your onions, you’ll need to till them into the soil regularly so they don’t grow into weeds!
Either way, it’s important that when preparing your land for onion farming that it doesn’t contain any rocks or stones because these can damage your tractor during harvest time!
Planting and Spacing
Onions can be planted as soon as the soil is workable during rainy season. If you live in a cold climate, start them indoors four weeks before the last frost and transplant when the weather is warm. Plant them 1-2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart, with rows spaced 6 inches apart.
Planting Onion From Seeds
Planting onion from seeds is a great option for gardeners who want to save money, have more control over the process, and enjoy the satisfaction of growing their own produce.
Onion seeds are relatively easy to germinate and grow, with a germination rate of 85-95%. Onions grow best in well-drained soil that contains plenty of organic matter.
To plant onion seeds, start by using a hoe to loosen up the soil and remove large rocks or debris. Then add 2 inches of compost or manure and cover it with 1/2 inch of fine sand.
Mix in some blood meal and bone meal at this stage if you want to increase your yields. Add 2 tablespoons of 10-10-10 fertilizer per square foot as well.
Next, sprinkle a pinch or two of seed over the surface and cover them lightly with soil so they don’t wash away during watering later on down the road; then water thoroughly until water drains away from the surface uniformly throughout all areas where you planted seeds (which should be about twice daily for about 5 minutes each time).
Once sprouts appear above ground level (usually about 10 days after planting), thin out any excess plants by pulling them up gently but firmly by their roots so that they
Planting Onion From Bulbs
Planting onion bulbs is a great way to get the most out of your garden space and grow onions at home. Growing your own onions from seed can be a bit tricky, but it’s not impossible. And if you’re like me, you may just prefer to plant from bulbs anyway.
Onions grow best in full sun and in rich soil that drains easily. You’ll want to add compost or fertilizer before planting any onion, and then give them plenty of water during their growing season.
To plant onion bulbs, start by preparing the soil by digging it up and removing any large rocks or roots that may be present. Then dig holes about 4 inches deep (or whatever depth is recommended on the package) and place your bulb in each hole with the pointed end facing upwards. Cover with dirt, pat down gently with your hands, and water thoroughly until water runs out of the bottom of each hole.
Irrigation And Weed Control
Irrigation and weed control are the two most important factors in onion farming. Irrigation is essential for the cultivation of all crops, but it is especially important for onions because they are shallow-rooted and need to be watered regularly. In fact, you should water them at least once every three days if it’s hot outside. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see any moisture left on top of the soil after watering, then you need to water again!
Weed control is also very important in onion farming because weeds compete with onions for nutrients and space, which can drastically reduce your yield. Fortunately, there are several ways to control weeds without harming your plants:
You can use a nonselective herbicide like Round-up or Scotts Weed & Feed. Or you could use a selective herbicide such as Glyphosate Pro or Touchdown Dual Purpose Spray. You could also just pull them out by hand (which will require some extra time).
Harvesting And Storing Onions
Harvesting and storing onions is a very important part of the onion growing process. If you want to grow an onion, you need to know how to harvest and store it properly so that you can enjoy your crop all year long.
The first step in harvesting your onions is to dig them up from the ground. You can use a shovel or a garden fork to loosen up the soil around each bulb and then pull them out of the ground with your hands. Once you have harvested all of your onions, let them dry for about three days before storing them away for later use.
Once your onions have been harvested and dried, it’s time to move them into a storage container. To store your onions, you’ll need to cure them first. This means placing them in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. Make sure they’re not touching anything else so they don’t rot. Curing also helps pull moisture out of the bulbs and allows them to dry out.
After curing, you can store your onions in a cool, dry place or in a mesh bag in your pantry. If you choose to keep them in mesh bags, make sure they don’t get wet or moldy because this will ruin their flavor and texture.
Is there a market for onions in Kenya?
The market for onions in Kenya is growing rapidly and there are many people who want to buy them. However, the problem is that there aren’t enough onions being produced to meet this demand.
I have a solution that can help solve this problem: we can grow even more onions! It’s as simple as that. If we can get more people involved in growing onions, then we can increase the amount of onions being produced and sold across Kenya.
This will benefit everyone involved because it means that we’ll have more onions available to sell at cheaper prices—and therefore more people will be able to afford them!
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