Planting Onion Sets Or Seed?
Planting onions is not difficult. The first rule is to water the soil first, as onions don't
dry for too long.
If you decide to plant onion sets, make sure that you put them the right way up in the soil. You need to make a shallow hole such that
when you put the onion in, the soil will just cover the tip of the bulb. We always plant sets in early fall. They overwinter and produce an early crop the following season.
If you're planting onion seeds, you'll need to start them off
inside somewhere warm in early spring,
where germination will take place between 5 and 10 days. We use modular cell trays and sow 3-4 seeds in a cell. They will then be planted out in a clump. When they're
ready, plant them a few inches apart at a depth of an inch.
You can buy either seeds or sets here.
Here are some maintenance tips for growing onions:
- Onions need a lot of sunlight to flourish, so you'll need to make sure that other plants aren't shading them as they grow.
- When you first plant them, it takes a while for the
roots to take hold. During this time, they are at risk of being plucked
out of the soil by birds, so you may want to put a simple netting over
the top to stop inquisitive beaks.
- Keep on top of the weeding to protect the onions, but make sure you do it by hand as onion roots are fairly fragile.
- Water the plants until the onions are visibly swollen.
- Don't be afraid to cut off any flower heads that appear, as these will take growing energy and nutrients away from your onions.
Timing Is Critical
As with most vegetables, timing is everything when you are learning
how to how to grow onions. You need to start getting the soil ready the
October the year before you want to eat to give the ground enough time
If you are growing onions from seeds, you want them out in your
as soon after the last ground frost as possible, usually around late
February. Onion sets have already been started for you, so these can go
in the ground in March or April or in the fall in mild climates.
Onions take about 3 or 4 months to grow, so you should be thinking about
harvesting them in August or September. You know they're ready when the
turn yellow and start to fall over. Lift them gently and let them dry off well in a shaded area. You can then braid them and store them in a cool but airy place.
Learning how to grow onions isn't difficult, and after a year or two
of practice you should be able to have them as a successful routine part
vegetable garden. If you do decide to repeat the process, make sure you
change either the soil or their location after 3 years to give the soil
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