Onion Field With Farmer

Healthy Soil Makes Healthy Onions

Since our founding in 1983, Gills Onions has passionately explored new technologies and methods to help us maximize conservation and sustainability. 

We understand that our success is tied to the success of the land where our onions grow. Healthy soil makes healthy onions. For Gills Onions to be the best, the fields need to be the best, too. 

Growing onions “The Gill Way” means consciously farming — protecting the integrity of the land by understanding and reducing the impact we have on the soil and the surrounding environment. 

Our Prescription for Soil Health

Our farmers grow each Gills Onion “The Gill Way.” This onion-growing prescription was personally developed by our founders, Steve and David Gill, and ensures that our products are grown in the most environmentally conscious way — maintaining soil health and promoting ag sustainability. 

Everything that happens to the soil, happens to our onions. So, we treat our soil with the utmost care.

Soil science is absolutely key. We must understand the composition and microbiology of the soil and how it will interact with plant biology. By considering both sides of the equation in our farming — the plant and the fertile soil — our onions and the fields work together to strengthen each other. 

Our growers boost soil health with a balanced blend of macro- and micronutrients. These nutrients are the foundation of a stable soil environment. The chelated micronutrients work together with carbon and organic materials to create a microbe-friendly environment for optimum proliferation. Our prescription of nutrients aids in absorption and water uptake and reduces soil salt concentrations. 

Thriving soil helps onion plants establish a larger, more aggressive root mass, which leads to healthier stalks and leaves. The resulting plants are more productive and are better able to withstand harsh weather, insects, and disease. 

With healthy soil, our growers are able to reduce their usage of chemicals. And, growing “The Gill Way” has allowed them to successfully reduce the use of nitrogen by more than 50% compared to other onion growers. 

Minimizing Our Impact on the Soil

At Gills Onions, we further minimize our impact on the soil through sustainable ag practices like:

  • Increasing plant yields per acre and decreasing the amount of land required for growing 
  • Innovative seed development that reduces the need for pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
  • Drip irrigation that reduces soil erosion and nutrient runoff

Our growers have reconfigured planting beds in the Imperial Valley to increase plants per acre by 15%, reducing the land required to achieve the same yield by 22%. 

And by converting 99% of our conventional irrigation methods to drip irrigation, Gills Onions has reduced water consumption by 40%. That means we reduce the risks of soil erosion and conserve enough water each year to meet the annual needs of 2,900 households in our home state of California.  

We understand that each growing region is unique. What promotes soil health in one field may not apply in another. That’s why we work with our growers to find the most sustainable practices for each location.

Farming Consciously and Living Well

Each day, we’re learning more about sustainable ag practices and how we can protect our soil and the environment.

By nurturing the land where our farmers grow our onions, we are able to consistently produce onions of the highest quality without compromising valuable resources. We believe that the benefits of growing “The Gill Way” will extend into the future, allowing us to provide the world with delicious onions for generations to come.

Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.