How to plant onions, the easy way

growing onions

Planting onions is rewarding in the sense that you can grow a full crop that lasts you a full season. So How to plant onions the right way?

Growing onions from seeds, then planting in rows till they turn beautifully purple and mature. Not only do you get homegrown onions, but using a simple trick can make them last longer and taste fresher when compared to the products available in the market. So before I give you that great yet simple tip (because I grew onions myself, all the time), let’s get some information on what else but, Onions!

So Onions are biennials but most people grow them annually. The crop is usually enough to cover the year if you grow enough. Onions last a full year when stored properly. Onions are rich in essential nutrients. In Ayurveda, people having insomnia are advised to introduce raw onion as part of their daily meal. There are various varieties of this essential vegetable. There are yellows, reds, and whites. While red varieties can be more towards red or purple. The purple kind lasts for the longest time when stored properly. This variety is also the hardiest.

Onion juice along with garlic juice can be applied to hair. Although the smell is highly undesirable, it can quickly arrest hair fall. It has been a tried and tested remedy for hair fall.

How to plant onions: Preparations and planning

You would need beds, Raised or otherwise with the soil of a pH of 6 to 7. The soil should be loose and well-drained. The bed should get direct sunlight. You could also grow onions in planters that are long. You may also use grow bags of large size but they should be supported on all 4 sides to avoid loss of soil and water.

It’s best to plan the onion planting activity a month before the last frost date. Plant the seeds in a nursery before this time. You could plant seeds from September to the first week of February depending upon the season. Onions will grow well in almost all American zones.

You can use your planted onions to use with some recipes while they are “spring onion”. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Steps to Plant onions:

1.Prepare the Nursery bed and plant

Do not start with an onion set but onion seeds. This is because onion seeds are the best source to start planting onions. Always remember to Plant onions from seed starting with a nursery bed and not directly. This is because the seeds are fine and need to germinate, for proper spacing and planning. As Onion grows inside the soil more than outside, the spacing is important.

  • Prepare the soil, you can use our soil preparation guide
  • If choosing to germinate in a planter, check the planter selection guide
  • Dig small furrows with your fingers, close spacing of 2 centimeter
  • Plant onion seeds in each furrow with close spacing
  • Cover with soil
  • Cover with jute or coco peat, not much but just a layer
  • Water gently for few days and wait for sprouts

2. Prepare the Onion bed and transplant

After about 10-14 days (depending on sunshine, weather, etc.) the saplings should be ready. They should be a finger’s length to survive a transplant. Too small or too big a sapling will find it hard to survive this step. Prepare the soil using the guide above. Also, remember that the soil should be not too loose, neither too packed.

  • The soil bed should be dug and loosened for planting onion saplings
  • Dig furrows around 8 inches and an inch deep
  • Place the Onion saplings 8 inches distance between them
  • Put the soil back gently coverying the roots as you plant
  • gently water the bed
  • let the Onion saplings lie down, they will rise in a day or 2

3. Maintaining your onion crop

After planting your onion sapling from seeds, water them regularly. The saplings take time to root. They will also require a good quality fertilizer in the second week. Use NPK or specifically the Phosphorus rich organic fertilizer. This is because the onions themselves are rich in phosphorus. They absorb this mineral in large quantities.

  • Keep testing your soil PH
  • Balance out with mild doses of Dolomite
  • Use NPK or organic fertilizer
  • Test PH again
  • Do not go overboard with fertilizer
  • Feed fertilizers every 3-4 weeks in a sensible quantity
  • Look at the fertilizer bag for instructions
planting onion crop with seeds and saplings in your garden
Grow onions in your own garden or farm. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

4. Harvesting your garden Onions

Once the onions have matured, the stalk will start to go dry on the upper ends and become brownish. You should stop watering your onions now. You can dig up a few onions partially and see if they are ready. You can then dig up the crop carefully.

To avoid damage, dig between the rows and loosen up the soil. Now turn the soil and take the onions out. Do not cut the stalk off. The stalk may be dry but it will help prolong the storage time.

Cure onions before storage:
  • Place your onions in an open space with some airflow
  • Let the onions dry out their outer cover and roots
  • Once dry, cut the roots and leave the stalk, you can trim them a coule of inches if you want
  • Discard any rotten or damaged onions
  • Any flowering onion is not fit to store, you should consume those soon

5. Storing the onions from the garden

Onions do not need refrigeration, in fact, they will rot and smell foul there. You can store onion in straw baskets, gunny bags, or any well-ventilated space. Make sure the space is dry. Moisture will spoil the onions. You can make a braid of onions with their stalks and hang them in a barn or shed.

You could dig up spring onions whenever you want to use them for your recipes. Be careful to dig these when the soil is wet. This will avoid any harm to the nearby onion plants. Put them away in a dry, cool, dark, well-ventilated location.

Organically Grown Onion Nutritional valuesPer 100g (3.5 oz)
Energy166 kJ (40 kcal)
Carbohydrates9.34 g
Sugars4.24 g
Fiber1.7 g
Fat0.1 g
Protein1.1 g
Thiamine (B1)0.046 mg
Vitamin C7.4 mg
Folate (B9)19 μg
Vitamin B60.12 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)0.123 mg
Niacin (B3)0.116 mg
Riboflavin (B2)0.027 mg
Calcium23 mg
Iron0.21 mg
Magnesium10 mg
Manganese.129 mg
Phosphorus29 mg
Potassium146 mg
Zinc0.17 mg
Water89.11 g
Fluoride1.1 µg
Growing onions in your garden: Nutritional information.

Onion plant diseases

The onion fly, stem and bulb eelworm, white rot, and neck rot are common diseases. These bother the gardener the most. Diseases affecting the foliage include rust and smut, downy mildew, and white tip disease. The bulbs may be affected by splitting, white rot, and neck rot. Shanking is a state in which the middle stalk turn yellow and the inner part of the bulb collapses into an unpleasant-smelling slime

The onion fly (Delia Antiqua) lays eggs on the leaves, stems, and on the ground close to onion, shallot, leek, and garlic plants. This fly is attracted to the crop by the smell of damaged tissue and is liable to occur after thinning.

So that is our Onion growing guide for now. Keep in touch and learn more about gardening, home, and wellness here at TheGreenBalm!

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