By Rosemary Tukundane
Onion growing is increasing from just growing to commercial growing but farmers have failed to provide enough on market keeping Tanzania in the leading seat of onion production in East Africa.
Agnes Ankunda is an onion and tomato farmer in Gabba, Makindye division central part of Uganda, says she grows and sells the two plants in Kansanga market.
Ankunda said that most people think growing onions is easy but there are common mistakes being done and repeated that have to be worked on to improve the production of the crop in the country.
She added that growing onions need a heathy, loose soils and well-prepared manure, in the rainy season the nursery bed has be raised and mother garden has to be mulched to protect the plant roots from rotting.
Mistakes done when growing onions
- Wrong onion type for your area, onions are very sensitive plants, buy and plant seedlings depending on where you are going to grow them because when you plant a wrong type, you end up with green leaves instead of bubbles.
- Sowing seedlings in the dry season when you can’t access water, a farmer earns more when they grow onions in the dry season but with full access of water to the garden but it is right to grow the crop at the beginning of rain season.
- Planting seedlings in the middle of the rainy season, onions are seasonal crops but it is advisable to grow plants from nurseries because they grow fast and are strong enough to stand harsh conditions.
- Not spacing, if growing from seeds, onions need large space to allow the development of bigger roots with spacing of 5-10 cm apart and 1 meter deep.
- Too much Nitrogen at wrong time. Onions need more nitrogen to grow green leaves and the more the green leaves, the bigger the bubbles. Feed the crop with nitrogen before the development of bubbles because continuous fertilizing will lead to the splitting of bubbles leading to big losses.
- Growing seedlings from nurseries, young seeds need to be protected from scorching sun which is very difficult for most farmers.
- Crops from nurseries protect seedlings are strong enough to survive in the field.
- Seedlings from nurseries are taken care of and a farmer only needs to transplant to the main garden and wait for fruits.
- Application of too much fertilizer causes blooming [ this is when a plant goes to flower too soon and grow small bubbles.
- Not enough phosphorus, onions are phosphorus hungry plants and need it when transplanting the seedlings to the main garden for both inner and upper layer.