Gardening Tips and Tricks

Growing Onions

Growing OnionsHow To Grow Onions

Onions are the perfect vegetable to grow in the pacific northwest garden. The reason for this, is because they are a cool weather crop and can be planted out in very early spring. When growing onions, we find they do the best when inter-planted with other vegetables. The benefit is that onions are pungent and scare away pests that might otherwise feast on your helpless plants. Onions are probably one of the most versatile plants in the kitchen and the easiest to grow in the garden.

Planting OnionsPlanting Onions

Let me first tell you that there are two different types of onions to plant in the garden. Bulb onions(sets) are the ones that come in a mesh bag and are the size of a quarter. These look like a mini version on the ones you buy at the grocery store. Onion plants are a in a bundle that look like green onions or scallions. Both of these types have have a place in the garden.

Onions grow best in soil that drains well and has an ample supply of nutrients. Before planting them work in a couple inches of compost and add some fertilizer. This will give them a kick start. Bulb onions should be planted so that the little peak at the top is not below the soil line. This is where the green part of the onion will emerge. Onion plants can be planted about a inch or two below the soil line If your going to plant your onions together make sure you give them plenty of room to grow about 4-6 inch’s apart and if not scatter them around in the garden and let nature do it’s magic.

Caring For Onions

Caring for your onions is as simple as planting them. These little guys aren’t to fussy. Onions are decent feeders and I would advise that you fertilize again halfway through the growing season but otherwise just let them be.Water only when they start to look pretty dry, they are drought tolerant vegetables and with all the rain the northwest gets it would be easy to turn them into rotten mush.One thing to keep you eye out for is a flower stem, if you find one simply remove it from the plant and eat it.This is a sign your onion is trying to go to seed and by leaving it attached all the energy will go straight to the top of the onion instead of focusing on producing a huge bulb.

Harvesting Onions

Harvesting your onions can be done throughout the growing season. Onion tops can be cut and used like green onions for a salad or soup. You can also pull a onion right out of the ground and eat it even if it’s not completely full grown. To tell when your onions are mature the foliage will topple over and start to turn yellow. This is when you remove the dirt around the base of the onion and let it begin to dry out. A week later on a dry day dig up your onions and place them in the sun. Drying for storage can take any where from 7-14 days. Or you can just eat them fresh.

After your onions are completely dry place them in a stocking. Yes, you read this right! Nylon stockings are perfect because they allow the onions to breath. Place one onion in the bottom and tie a knot, continue tying knots after each one and eventually you will end up with a string of onion pearls. Store the onions hanging in a dry cool area and they should last up to 9 months.

Onions Pests

Onion Fly, Cutworm, Cabbage Moth

Onions Diseases

Rust, Smut, Downy Mildew, White Rot

Onions Friends

Cabbage Family, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Chamomile, Carrots, Beets, Dill, Lettuce

Onions Foes

Beans, Peas, Asparagus

Onions Varieties

Ebenezer Yellow globe, Alisa Craig, Red Barron, Walla Walla

Tips For Growing Onions

Plant onions on the ends of your beds, it will help deter pests!

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