I recently came to the realization that onions are my favorite thing to grow in my garden. They are so easy to plant, are generally low maintenance, and you can reap their harvest for a good chunk of the year.
In Texas it is generally recommended to plant your onion sets anywhere between December and January. I usually plan to plant my onions in January, because lets face it…December is just crazy town.
Before I dive into the how-to portion of the post, you might be wondering what onion sets even are. They are basically a transplant, they just come in bunches and are not planted in dirt. They actually look kind of like a bunch of green onions that you might buy from the grocery store. But you don’t buy them from the grocery store, you buy them from your local nursery or an onion farmer. I think they are much easier to plant and grow than seeds and if you are a little OCD like me, they are super easy to plant in perfectly spaced rows.
Below are some steps and tips when planting onion sets.1 Preparing the soil. Onions (like most things) like loose, aerated soil. Because my garden is usually looking a little sad come January, I like to get out there a week or two before I actually plan to plant the onions and clean up my beds. I pull weeks, till the soil, and add a fresh layer of compost. Then I make sure to give the beds a good soaking.
Remember that onions like sunshine and generally do better in raised beds or a garden bed that has really good drainage. On another note, I have tried planting onions in pots and have not been very successful so the ground is definitely recommended.
The day you are planting the onions, make sure the soil is moist…not soaking wet and definitely not dry.2 Spacing. If you aren’t planning on harvesting the young onions to use as green onions, you should space the onions every four inches. If you do plan to use them as green onions, plant them every two inches.
To easily space them I use my hands instead of a ruler or just eyeballing it. My fingertip to my knuckle is about 4” so I use my hands to set each row along the edge of my garden and work my way in.3 Depth. Onion sets need to be planted about an inch deep. While I am spacing the rows, I also use my hands to create the holes. The top third of your pointer finger is a pretty close to an inch so dig it in to create the hole for where the onion set will go.
Repeat this until all your onions are planted.5 Fertilize. Once your onions are planted sprinkle a little fertilizer around the onions. A fertilizer with the middle number the highest is what is recommended for onions. Since I had it on hand, I used the Lady Bug Flower Power fertilizer because it is 4-6-4.
You will also want to fertilize your onions every 2-3 weeks until they start to bulb, then you should stop fertilizing. Onions need fertilizer because the bigger the green top, the bigger the actual onion. And who wants small onions?
For the most part, onions are pretty low maintenance while they are growing. Just keep them water, weeded, and fed.
Now harvesting and curing onions is a different matter all together. And that my friends is another how to for another day.
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