For years, amateur gardeners have been growing their favorite flowers and vegetables from plant starts purchased at the local nursery. Why not learn how to do it yourself? Growing onions from seed is a relatively simple project that requires no more than two square feet of space.
The first step in the process, of course, is to identify your onion’s best growing conditions. Then you can move on and decide what type of soil you need before planting your seeds. Or you can choose from among several varieties of onion that can be grown indoors or outside, depending on the variety and the growing conditions.
Once your seeds have sprouted, you must keep them soil-warm throughout their first growing season. That means daily watering with a fine mist. At first they will sprout tiny leaves and then some larger ones, but in about two weeks, when the plants are about a month old, they will begin growing roots.
How long does it take to grow onions from seed?
Start planting your seed onion varieties when the ground is still moist. Choose the best growing conditions of your home’s location (light, temperature, soil composition and humidity), and plant the seeds one by one in a well-drained but moist organic potting mix that is slightly acidic. Seedlings should be watered every day until they are about 1/2 inch tall. Then place in a sunny spot with adequate moisture for continued growth.
Onions can produce fruit within six months of planting, or four months from transplanting.
What is the best way to grow onions from seed?
When you are ready to plant your onion seeds, do so no more than 1/4 inch deep in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Water every day until they begin to sprout; then water every other day. The onions should be kept in a sunny location and the soil should be warm throughout the growth cycle.
Are onions hard to grow from seed?
Onions can be difficult to grow from seed and it is not uncommon for them to die, especially if they are exposed to heat or cold temperatures. If your onions are wilting and dying as they mature, check the soil temperature and/or water. Also try using a slow-release fertilizer that contains organic matter, such as alfalfa meal.
What is the best month to plant onions?
Early spring is usually the best time to plant onions. If temperatures are cool, remember to keep them frost-free.
What varieties of onions do I need for my garden?
The most popular onion varieties are the yellow Spanish and white French. You can also grow purple and red onions, though they are usually more suitable for cooking because they have a milder flavor. Vidalia or other sweet onions are grown in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida.
Should I soak onion seeds before planting?
Soaking the onion seeds for about 48 hours before planting will help them to sprout. However, if you choose not to soak them, be sure to keep the soil moist at all times and make sure they are kept in a warm, sunny location. You should also consider installing a grow light above the container if you’re growing your onions indoors.
Can I grow onions from purchased onion sets?
Onion sets or bulbs are very affordable and easy to plant. The benefit of onion sets is that they give you a head start on your garden, as the onions will grow roots and sprout leaves within 3-4 weeks of being planted. Onions might also be a great choice for beginning gardeners because they are relatively easy to plant.
Will onions multiply?
Onions will produce several sets of true bulbs in the fall. You can replant them anytime after they sprout and then harvest the bulbs in early spring. Onion sets or bulbs will keep producing for several years, so you can plant extra sets of plants every year.
What are my chances of getting a good crop from onions?
Onions are fairly prolific, and they can be grown from seed or purchased set bulbs, with more than 20 percent germination and good stand in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. Onions that produce in South America, Africa, Asia and Europe have been known to produce seeds, but you probably won’t get results anywhere near the same as you will in the United States.
How much space does it take to grow from onion sets?
Depending on the size of your garden, you might be able to fit an onion set or two per group of four or five plants. Do not plant more than one set/bulb per square foot of soil surface area.
How long does it take to grow onions from onion sets?
When you plant your onion sets, make sure they are thoroughly and evenly moistened to prevent rotting. Once the seeds have sprouted, give them as much sunshine as you can while still maintaining soil temperature at about 70 degrees. If you’re using sets that have already been growing for several weeks, the onions will be ready to harvest within four or five months.
What can I do to prevent disease on my onion plants?
Onion thrips, onion smut and downy mildew can cause weakness and stunted growth in your onions. To prevent this, make sure that you rotate your onion plants every year or plant resistant varieties. Also, make sure that you keep the environment around your onions as free of pests as possible by weeding and using mulch.
When do I plant onion seeds?
Onion seeds can be planted anytime between May and August, making them a very convenient vegetable to grow. They should be planted in soil that is well-drained, but not too sandy or covered in clay. Make sure that you plant the seeds one-quarter inch deep and three inches apart from each other.
Can you grow onions in pots?
Onion seeds will germinate faster if they are planted in small pots that are filled with a potting soil.
What’s the best way to store onions?
Store your harvested onions in a cool, dry place, making sure that they are kept at room temperature. The ideal place is the pantry or a spare refrigerator, but it can also be stored on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Frozen onions can be kept in storage indefinitely.
Can you move onions once planted?
It is essential to plant your onions carefully, as they should not be moved once planted. If you do need to move them, make sure that you take a spade and loosen the soil where they are growing. Then transplant them with a trowel and gently replace the soil.
What are some tips for onion planting?
Before you plant your onions, make sure that the soil is moist and loose. Then fill a bowl with water and use it as a form for marking where you plan to plant your onion sets. Make straight lines going directly from the bowl to the spot where you plan to plant your onions.
Do onion seeds need heat to germinate?
Yes, onion seeds need heat to germinate. The best place to germinate your onion seeds is on the patio or in a sunny window box. Make sure that the soil is moist and warm when you plant your onion seeds.
How do I keep my onions from drying out?
If you plan on storing your onions for long periods of time, make sure that they have plenty of water in their container. If you want your onions to stay fresh longer, wrap them in a paper towel before refrigerating them.
How do you grow and plant onions?
Grow onions in a sunny, warm spot. If you are planting your onion sets individually, make sure that they have adequate room to grow. Plant them an inch or two below the soil line and water them well.
Can you direct sow onion seeds?
Yes, you can direct sow onion seeds. To do this, make sure that the soil is moist and loose. Then make a trowel full of seed and place it in the hole with the tip facing up. Cover with a good amount of soil and water the hole until it is completely soaked. Then gently press a single handful of seed into the soil at a time.
There is no one right way to grow onions. The best thing you can do is follow your own tastes and preferences when it comes to growing onions. You want to grow onions that have a high ratio of bulb to stalk, and you want to get larger bulbs than smaller bulbs. Though you can’t control the size of the bulb when you plant them, there are ways to control the growth of the stalk as well. The best way is to give your bulbs plenty of room and lots of water. If you’re growing onions from sets, make sure that they have enough room between them so that they don’t all touch each other and kill each other off (they’ll form a heterogeneous population).