Onions are notoriously challenging to grow efficiently, particularly for beginning gardeners. Which, longer or shorter days, is better for growing onions? Does it make a difference whether you grow them from seed, seedlings, or sets when you first start them? What are the key distinctions between sweet onions and storage onions?
All the above and many such questions do hit the minds of many gardening experts, which is quite common. With the below guide, you can learn how to grow the popular onion vegetable at home very quickly.
How to grow onions: Steps to Follow
The procedure of planting onion seeds can take a more extended amount of time. Thus you should begin the process inside first:
Make furrows for your seedlings that are half an inch deep in a planting tray or another container. Find something suited for the job and fill it with damp soil. It should be kept at a warm temperature, between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. And a thin layer of soil should be placed over it.
You can transplant your onion seedlings into your garden as soon as their little roots have formed. Depending on the weather, this could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
For each onion that needs to be transplanted, dig a hole. The hole has to be approximately 2 inches deep. It should be placed between 4 and 5 inches apart in rows 12 to 18 inches.
- Companion plant
Your harvest of cabbage, tomatoes, leeks, and carrots will complement your onion production nicely. Maintain proximity to beneficial plants to attract beneficial insects and other natural defences.
- Add mulch
When you plant onions in rows, adding mulch or some organic material in between the rows can benefit a lot. It will help to prevent weeds from growing. Plus, it will also maintain some moisture in the soil (lessening the amount of watering you need to do).
How to maintain the growth of onion plants?
The onion plant does not require a lot of attention or maintenance once it is established. To properly care for your onions, please do the following:
- First, you should fertilise them. We all know that onions require a small amount of nitrogen. Thus, fertilising them every few weeks with nitrogen fertiliser or compost can assist the bulbs in developing into more extensive and robust specimens.
- Allow them to get some fresh air. It is essential to refrain from covering the onion bulbs when they emerge through the earth. Your onions will grow more successfully in a location that has looser soil. You should also check that the soil in your garden bed (or elsewhere) drains effectively.
- Give them water. Your onions should only need around half an inch of water once every seven days (and for sweeter onions, a bit more). If you place mulch in the spaces between each row of onions, you won’t have to water them quite as frequently.
- Let the sun shine on them. To grow properly, onions must be exposed to direct sunlight. Make sure there is no shade around your onions at any point so that they may bask in the sun.
- Keep an eye out for insects. Onion crops are susceptible to damage by thrips as well as onion maggots. This is problematic for onions like green onions that use more of the top section of the onion.
What is the best time to harvest onions in a garden?
The best time to harvest mature onions is toward the end of summer, just before the temperature begins to fall.
Even in cooler climates, onions can be grown. But once they reach maturity, they tend to rot. The tops of onions will turn yellow and eventually fall over as they reach the end of their maturation process.
When the onion tops have completely collapsed, the onions are ready to be harvested. Pull up the bulb and place the entire plant in a dark location with good ventilation. Let it dry out gently for up to a few weeks.
After the onion stems have withered and died and the onions have lost all of their moisture content, you may bring them inside and store them in a cold and dark place. Thus, some types can be stored for up to eight months.
Well, you can consume onions you raised throughout the year if you have enough room in your garden and are good at planning.