Decayed layer in sliced onion


Sometimes you don’t find out about a garden problem until long after it happened.

The other day as I was preparing a meal, I cut open one of my onions only to discover a spoiled area inside.

The outside of the bulb looked perfectly good but there was a layer inside that had rotted while the rest of the onion was fine. Anyone who has done much cooking at all has occasionally come across this in store-bought onions but can it happen in homegrown onions, too.

Farmers call this disorder “slippery skin,” so named because the inner part of the onion bulb can be easily slipped out by squeezing the bulb near its base.

This problem is caused by a fungus or bacterium entering the onion bulb through the neck of the plant. Generally only one layer of onion is affected making it impossible to diagnose until the onion is cut open.

The outside of the bulb looked perfectly good but there was a layer inside that had rotted while the rest of the onion was fine.

The infection most often occurs just before or right at harvest time. If onions are left a little too long in the soil after they become mature, the pathogen can more easily enter the bulb through the withering leaves and neck. Rainy weather can exacerbate the problem. On-time harvest will help prevent that type of infection route.

Mechanical damage during harvest caused by tools or rough handling can also create a route for infection.



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