Onions have become a popular vegetable to grow with all levels of gardeners. They take up very little space and they are easy to grow. You can grow and harvest them in the spring to store for winter use. You will need to decide what type of onion you wish to grow. The three main types are red, white, and yellow onions. Finally, you will want to grow long-day onions if you are in the northern states, as they need days that are longer. On the other hand, short-day onion plants grow well in the southern states where day hours are only ten hours long.
Preparing to Plant
Before you select the type of plant you wish to grow in your garden, talk to a local nursery to get recommendations. You can plant via onion seeds or by onion sets (with bulbs), but you will want to resist the urge to plant from cuttings. The method is not as successful as using a small bulb. If you select the seeds, you will want to start them indoors roughly six weeks before ideal planting time and then transplant them to your garden when they are hardier.
A month before transplanting the crop, start to prepare the soil. You want to begin tilling the soil and adding manure as early as possible, even a full two seasons early. Make sure you test the soil regularly and maintain a 6-7.5 pH level. It takes time for the additives to have an effect on the soil, so factor that in when you are preparing the ground.
Do not plant onions in cold weather, as they will die quickly. The best time to plant is near the end of March or the beginning of April. You want to make sure the temperatures will stay above freezing and the chance of an overnight frost is unlikely.
You will want to plant the onion bulbs where they have plenty of space and full sunlight. The vegetables grow based on the amount of space you allot them, which means you can have large onions when given the room. You do not want the onions to be shaded by any other plant, so be careful in the design of your garden. It is often best to have the onion plants completely separate in a raised bed.
Each plant should be placed six inches deep with a cup of phosphorous fertilizer. Make sure there are no weeds while you are planting. The onions should be place about six inches apart and make sure that the bulb is not buried too deep in the ground. There should only be one inch of soil between the top of the ground to the top of the sets.
When it comes to the care and harvest of onions, take care not to damage the fragile root system. You want to use a hoe to take off the tops of weeds instead of pulling them out of the ground. Make sure you water the onions weekly and mulch after a week. When the tops appear yellow, you will want to bend them so they lay flat. After 24 hours, the onion is ready to be pulled. Let them dry for a day or two in the sun, and then take them inside where they can continue to dry.
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