Trouble in the Onion Patch


I pulled the first onion today! It’s a good size and the top had definitely fallen down which is what I take as a signal to harvest. Lots of onion leaves are toppling.  Whether that’s a good thing, I’m in the process of looking up right now.


There’s something that looks like a fungus attacking the leaves of the onions. It seems to be spreading from one area making me think it’s something that’s spreading by spores helped out by the near-daily showers we had in June and the cool weather that’s been hanging around. Preliminary investigations are leading me to believe we’re not going to be eating our own onions for a full year like we have been until now.


I also took a leek in the garden Winking smile Every year I’ve been ignoring them until they’re big monsters so I’m making an effort to eat them as the season goes along. Fingers are crossed that this disease won’t attack them, too.

There was insect activity today, as usual. I’m slowly working at learning what some of them are and, more importantly, who’s a friend and who’s a fiend.


An obvious friend was this bumble bee hard at work pollinating the tomatoes. Look at that load of pollen!

Bee on Cilantro

This little solitary bee was one of the critters feasting on the cilantro flowers. First, I hadn’t realized how pretty cilantro flowers were until I started looking at these pictures. Second, see her cute little tongue probing the bloom?

Bee on Cilantro 2

Here’s another angle so you can see how she carries pollen on her leg hairs, not all packed in a ball like the bumble bees and honey bees do.

Fly on Cilantro

This fly was visiting the abundant cilantro flowers, too. I can tell it’s a fly and not a bee because its eyes meet at the top of its head.

Bug on Cilantro

I almost didn’t notice this bug on the plants nestled between unopened buds. There were several of them just hanging out. I saw one on a pole bean tee-pee, too.

Grasshopper on Squash Leaf

This little grasshopper, on the other hand, was easy to spot on a squash leaf.

I’m really enjoying observing and trying to photograph the insects that I’m encountering in the garden. Discovering the burst mode on my phone’s camera has helped a bit in photographing them. It also means I have dozens more images to sort through to see if anything is in focus. There was an amazing fly with a ridiculously long nose working the cilantro blooms that I just couldn’t get because it was moving around so fast. That will be the next challenge to overcome.

For the time being I’m back to researching onion diseases. My fear is that they won’t keep as long as they would have otherwise or, even worse, they’ll need to be discarded right away. Wish me luck!


12 thoughts on “Trouble in the Onion Patch

  1. A Really Small Farm

    That looks bad for the onions. I had something like that infect my garlic last year. Whole rows got wiped out. The leaves began to turn yellow and wilt. The bulbs were slimy and rotten. I had enough to to put away for a year but much fewer for re-planting. I’m hoping the disease did not come along with the seed bulbs I saved.

    Your onions’ problem might be the result of too much rain and soggy soil. Not much you can do but watch and pull up any diseased plants.

    I always plant a little bit of cilantro around the garden edges and among the plants for wild pollinators. Dill is another good pollinator food plant.

    1. I’m pretty sure the weather has been a contributing factor. From what I’ve read, if I can harvest them and get them thoroughly dried I may be able to keep them. I’m on a three-year rotation with my beds so with any luck this will be a one-time thing.

      I’ve started leaving some of the random dill that pops up here and there just for the pollinators. Nobody’s visiting the umbels yet, but I’m keeping my eye on them. Last year there were the most beautiful wasps all over them.

      1. A Really Small Farm

        I think an early onion harvest is a good idea. If you can then plant a mustard immediately after the harvest. Just before it goes into full bloom chop it down and till it under. The decomposing mustard releases chemicals that kill some pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Johnny’s Seeds (not trying to advertise here) is one source for these mustard varieties.

        I let the random cilantro and dill have a spot, too. And they are always a source for fresh herbs. Great plants for wasps.

      2. I may give it a try, though I was going to follow the onions with carrots. Also, I like letting mustards bloom, again for the beneficial insects. Would this treatment still be effective post-bloom?

      3. A Really Small Farm

        I’m not sure if it is post-bloom. Mustards grow fast so maybe you could get two plantings in, one for the soil and another for the insects.

  2. Those are really cute bees (sorry, I am biased) and great photographs. How are you going to keep the onions? My father used to plait the greens together so that he made a cord of them that he could hang up. Amelia

  3. Pingback: Moist | Shady Character

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