“I’m afraid of planting onion bulbs,” the customer said, “I can see them going straight into the ground and taking me with them.”
But don’t worry! We’ve come up with three simple steps that will allow you to overcome this fear for good. Follow these instructions and soon you’ll be able to plant onions with confidence (and without feeling like a trapped plant).
Step One: Plant the onion bulb so that it’s pointing downwards.
Step Two: Continue to dig down until you hit a hard surface.
Step Three: Place the bulb on that surface. It should be sitting upright, not facing you (otherwise you could have planted it upside-down). And that’s it! You’ve overcome your fear of planting onion bulbs.
Who would have thought?
You certainly wouldn’t. So to ease your mind and to show you that planting onion bulbs can be a little bit easier than it looks, here’s a little background information on onions.
There are two types of onions: Allium cepa and Allium fistulosum.
Allium cepa, the common onion, is the most commonly grown in Britain (it’s the onion you find in almost all supermarket freezers).
Onions grow from seeds or bulbs (which is why they can be so scary). Seeds need to be planted in a place with light, air and warmth. They start off very small – but if they’re kept in a warm place, as they grow their roots will get longer and their heads will get bigger and bigger.
That’s why you should plant them at least two or three inches apart so that they have enough room for growth.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How many onions do you get from one bulb?
It depends on how big the bulb is and whether or not you put them into the ground at the same time. If you have planted them together, then each onion bulb will have a different number of onions in it. But if you plant them one by one, then each bulb will always grow around five to six onions.
When should I start planting onion bulbs?
You can plant onion bulbs from now until the end of May. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to start them straight away, so you won’t have any future excuses!
How do I know if my onions are ready to be planted?
There are three signs that you can look for: they’re all a bit green at the base of the plant; their roots have grown longer than they were before; and finally, they’re drying out (which means that soon your bulbs will be ready to harvest).
How do you plant dry onion bulbs?
Make sure you buy the bulbs and the soil at the same time if you want to plant them right away. If not, wait until they’re dry and then you can plant them in a way that’s best for your soil type. If it’s very wet, try using a deep container (such as a plastic bag) with holes in it and place your onion bulbs inside it before you put them into the ground or into a pot.
Do I need to soak onion sets before planting?
If you’re planting fresh onion bulbs, then no – you don’t need to. But there will probably be some onion sets (the ones that come packaged in little pots) inside the soil, and those do need soaking before planting.
Do onions die if they go too cold?
If it gets too cold for your onions, they usually don’t die. Onions are, after all, a species of plant. They can live pretty much anywhere as long as there are enough water and light around them. So if you’ve planted your onions too early or they’ve suddenly started to look a bit limp, don’t worry! Just take them out of the ground and place them somewhere safe until the weather gets a little bit warmer.
What’s the difference between a green onion and an onion bulb?
Green onions are actually young onions (which is why they’re also called spring onions). They’ve only been grown as seeds, so they haven’t gone through the process of growing from seeds into bulbs yet. They’ve been planted, they’ve grown and then they’ve been taken from the ground and eaten.
While you can eat onion bulbs, green onions do not have to be cooked or prepared in any way before eating. They are delicious!
Can you move onions once planted?
It is possible to move your onion bulbs once they’ve been planted. It’s not something you should do on a regular basis, but if you’re planning on planting them outside for the summer and then bringing them into your house for the winter, then moving them around won’t be a problem.
What happens when you plant a whole onion?
The best way to think about this is: if you plant a whole onion, then when you get your onions they will have lived in the ground for a few weeks. Which means that they’ll be more mature (and also more likely to be ready to harvest).
How do you increase the size of an onion bulb?
When they get bigger, the onions will be ready to harvest. You’ll need to take them out of the ground (or out of your pot) then dry them off, before planting them again.
How do you transplant onion bulbs?
If you have an onion growing in a pot or a container, then it’s easy to move it on to another pot. Just make sure that the new pot has at least as much room for growth as the old one did (and vice versa).
That’s it! Now you have a clear idea of what onions are, what they need and how to plant them. All you need to do now is get out there and start planting onion bulbs.
If you’re really fed-up with growing onions – and you want to get rid of your fear at the same time – then take a look at our step-by-step guide for growing potatoes: How to Overcome Your Fear of Planting Potatoes.