Planting onion bulbs can seem a little intimidating if you’re new to gardening. But don’t worry! Onion bulbs are simple to plant and a great way to grow a nutritious food source in your garden.
In this article, we’ll walk you through planting onion bulbs, including the recommended varieties and how you can get a nice harvest.
Before you learn how to plant onion bulbs, what should you know about them?
Onions are a vegetable that we all know and love. They’re easy to grow and can be used in various ways.
But did you know that the onion plant is unique? Here’s everything you need to know about onions.
- Onions belong to the Allium family, which also includes garlic and leeks.
- The most common type of onion is red, but there are also white, yellow, and purple onions that you can grow at home.
- Onions can be toxic if consumed raw because they contain an alkaloid called thiosulfate which can cause hemolytic anemia, methemoglobinemia, Heinz body formation, or Heinz body anemia.
- Planting onions with carrots, peas, and beans will improve their flavor and help them grow faster.
- Onions should be planted in the fall or spring, though some varieties can be planted in the summer.
- Onions can be grown from seeds planted in the ground or from sets planted in a pot and then transplanted.
- They’re perennials, which means they grow back every year. So once you plant an onion, you’ll have a supply of them for as long as you want!
- Onions will grow on almost any type of soil, but if you want larger bulbs, make sure your soil is rich with organic matter like compost or manure.
What variety of onions should you plant?
There are wide onion varieties, so you might confuse yourself about which one you should plant. To help you, here’s a list of recommended onions to plant.
- Yellow sweet Spanish variety. This is large, round, and yellow-white in appearance.
- Red Wethersfield variety. This is flat with white flesh and red skin.
- Walla Walla variety. This has huge bulbs.
- White Bermuda variety. This has white, thick, and flat bulbs.
- Hybrid Yellow Granex variety. This is sweet, like the Vidalia variety.
What are onion bulbs, and how to choose the right one?
You can plant onions in seeds, but we prefer planting them with sets or bulbs. The reason behind this is that they’re easier to plant and grow.
Onion bulbs are tiny onions that have that little sprouted leaves on top. These bulbs have already matured for 14 weeks, which can withstand light freezes and has a higher chance to grow than seeds.
You can purchase onion bulbs at gardening stores. Make sure to buy those with ¾ inches in diameter and avoid larger ones.
Tips for planting onion bulbs
Planting onion bulbs is easy. But you should know a few things before you start to learn how to plant onion bulbs.
- Make sure your soil is well-drained and fertile. If it’s not, you’ll want to add some compost or other organic matter to your garden bed before planting.
- Onion bulbs need full sun, so make sure they get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. You can plant them in partial shade if necessary, but they’ll produce fewer onions if they’re in too much shade.
- Onion plants grow best when the soil temperature is between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit (16-18 Celsius). That means you should wait until late spring or early summer before planting them outdoors in most places!
- The soil should be prepared at least eight weeks before planting; this will allow time for the soil temperature to rise sufficiently so that it can germinate the onion bulbs when planted in it.
- When growing onions, you should plant them in rows about 12 inches apart from each other. You can plant them closer together if you want a bigger harvest, but this will affect how quickly they mature and how long they store for later use!
How to plant onion bulbs?
Part of learning how to plant onion bulbs is to prepare and consider some factors like the following.
- Choose a spot where it gets lots of direct sunlight. Trees or other plants should not shade it.
- Prepare organic matter beforehand, like compost or aged manure, and mix it into the solid where you’ll plant your onion bulbs. This is essential in improving the soil itself and its texture.
- Remove debris or rocks present in the soil.
- Ensure the soil is well-draining and loose. It should not be compacted.
- Plant during spring. You can start planting indoors six weeks before transplanting them in the ground.
Steps on how to plant onion bulbs
- Plant onion bulbs no more than 1 inch deep in 2 to 6 inches apart.
- When planting, just gently press them in your loose soil.
- Just set your onion bulbs with their point end facing upwards.
- Don’t bury them too deep to ensure bulb development.
- You can mulch it with straw in between rows.
- As your onion grows, you need to monitor them.
- For those immature bulbs, just cover them with light mulch for moisture and air circulation.
- If there are emerging onions, do not cover them.
- Provide fertilizer like nitrogen every two weeks to achieve big bulbs.
- But stop fertilizing when the onions seem to push the soil away once the bulbing process begins.
- You don’t need to water your onions if consistent light mulch is given.
- But if there is no mulch, you need to water it.
- If you prefer sweeter onions, water them more.
When harvesting onions, you need to pull those that have flower stalks. It simply means that the bulbs underneath have stopped growing. You can use these onions a few days after harvesting, but they’re not ideal for longer storage.
Here’s how you can harvest your onions.
- Make sure that your onions are already mature. Check the top if it becomes yellow and starts falling; then it’s preparing itself for harvest.
- You need to loosen the soil around the onion bulbs for it to dry.
- Harvest onions during dry weather. Late summer will do.
- Once the tops become brown or dry, pull them.
- Make sure you handle them carefully without any bruises because they will rot.
- Remove the roots by cutting them.
- Trim the top part with just 1 to 2 inches.
Start planting onion bulbs today!
As you can see, it’s not that difficult to learn how to plant onion bulbs in your garden. Just follow the steps above, and you’ll be well on your way to growing healthy onions! Well, that’s it! You can now plant onions in your garden. Remember to water them regularly, and don’t forget to harvest them when they’re ready.