Onion seed harvesting is a process that can be done by the home gardener to save money and have a successful garden. Onion seeds are planted in the fall, harvested the following summer, and then stored for replanting the following fall.
When to Harvest Onion Seeds
Onion seed should be harvested when the seed head has completely dried and is turning from green to brown. This usually occurs in mid-summer when the onion plants are starting to die down.
How to Harvest Onion Seeds
To harvest onion seeds, first cut the seed head off of the plant and put it in a paper bag or on a dry, flat surface to continue drying. Once completely dry, remove the seeds from the seedhead by rubbing them between your fingers or using a threshing tool. Make sure to discard any empty seed husks or debris.
Things You Will Need
To harvest onion seeds, you will need:
- A pair of gardening gloves
- Scissors or pruning shears
- Paper bags
- Threshing tool (optional)
Seed Preparation for Storage
To prepare the onion seeds for storage, spread them out on a flat surface, such as a tray or baking sheet. Use tweezers or your fingers to pick out any remaining husks or debris that may still be attached to the seed.
Once all debris has been removed, the onion seeds can be stored in paper bags or envelopes. However, it is important to note that onion seeds should not be stored for an extended period of time. They are best used within two years from the date of harvest.
Storage Conditions and Terms
Onion seed storage conditions should be cool and dry. The temperature should not exceed 41°F (5°C) and the relative humidity should not exceed 70%. It is also important to make sure that there is good air circulation in the storage space.
The ideal environment for storing onion seeds would include a dehumidifier, as high humidity can cause mold growth. It is important to check the seeds regularly for signs of mold or other damage.
When storing onion seeds, it is also important to label them clearly with the date of harvest and variety name. This will help you track when the seed was harvested and whether it has been stored in ideal conditions. Additionally, a date stamp should be put on the seed package to indicate the date that the seeds were stored.
Seed Shelf Life
The shelf life of onion seeds can vary depending on the variety and how they were prepared for storage. Generally, onion seeds will remain viable for several years when stored in dry, cool conditions. However, if the seeds are exposed to high temperatures or humidity levels, their lifespan of the seed may be reduced. It is important to check the condition of the seeds periodically and discard any seed that appears to be dead or showing signs of decay.