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Here is the BEST Time to Harvest Onions in California (2022 Guide)

Are you growing onions in California, but don’t know when the best time to harvest them is?

Harvesting onions is not as easy as it seems.

Here’s why:

  • Onions have a very short window when they can be harvested and still taste great.

So if you harvest them too early they may not be ready and taste bad. And if you harvest them too late they may become infected with mold, fungus, insects, etc., and become inedible.

Today, I’m going to teach you the ideal time to harvest onions in California:

  • To Learn More About HOW to Grow Onions, Check Out This GUIDE!


When Do I Harvest Onions in California?

As you may have already guessed, there are two main factors that determine when you should harvest your onions: the physical features of the onions & weather (time).

Harvest Onions if They Look Like This!!!

harvesting onions

The physical features of onions are what most gardeners commonly rely on to determine if they are ready to be picked off the plant or not.

In general, you should harvest onions if they have the following physical features:

  • The entire onions is a solid red color. If the onions is a lighter shade of red, it is not ready to be harvested
  • The onions is slightly soft. Too hard means it is not ready. Too soft means it is overripe (but still edible)
  • Easily able to be deattached from the the plant. This means it has absorbed all the nutrients it needs and is ready.

Harvest Your Onions During THIS Time of Year!!!

In general, you should harvest onions:

  • 65 to 85 days after starting onions from seed
  • 40 to 50 days after planting onions in your garden
  • 20 to 30 days after onions first appear

And no matter what, you should ALWAYS harvest your onions before the first frost of the year. Frost will immediately kill your onions plant and make your onions inedible.

For your reference, I have created this table for average frost dates for most major cities in California. If your city is not listed below you can find its Last & First Frost Dates HERE.

California Last & First Frost Dates

California Frost Dates

It should be noted that you should not overly rely on the first frost of the year. The average first frost of the year is only correct 30% of the time.

Instead, pay close attention to your local weather.

When you know a frost is coming you need to take action.

  • If onions are in pots, bring them inside
  • If onions are in the ground, cover them in burlap and hope they survive
  • Pick all onions. If they are not ready, place them in a brown paper bag and store them for approximately 1 to 2 weeks to see if they become edible.

If you want to learn WHEN to harvest ANY Vegetable in California, head over to HERE and just type in the vegetable you want to grow.

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