Onion Woe!

Dear Martin

I need your help mate. I grow onions for shows, and this year i have lost a lot, the bottoms have rotted. A brown mushy rot, only on the bottom,ok. I have been told i have infection in the soil, if this is so, would a good watering of Formailin, Jays Fluid or Bleach do the job.

Any advice would be great,

thank you


Dear Paul

Many thanks for your recent message regarding the rot which has unfortunately afflicted your show onions. If, as I suspect, your onions are suffering from onion white rot (Sclerotium cepivorum) then there is very little you can do. This fungal disease is capable of surviving in the soil for up to 15 years and there is no chemical treatment – the only course of action open to you is to burn the infected onions and not return to growing this crop, along with leeks and chives, for at least 8 years.

You could introduce some raised beds filled with new, imported top soil and plant your onions in these, but otherwise the outlook is rather bleak.  

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news; hopefully this information will prove to be of some help and many thanks once again for your enquiry.