Onions are a wonderful staple crop in our household, and we like to store some of our onion bulbs for 6-8 months over the winter. We eat a lot of them, and we usually plant over 200 onions each year. If you follow a few simple steps, you can harvest a large amount of high-quality onions from a small garden.
Onions are such a versatile vegetable â€“ they feature in so many recipes, so growing your own onions means youâ€™ll always have them to hand. They are easy to grow from baby onions called sets. Although seed is available, sets are the easiest and quickest way to grow onions. Sets are also are better in colder regions, and are less likely to be attacked by some pests and diseases.
Common name(s): bulb onion or common onion,Allium cepa (Botanical Name)
Flower colours: White
Bloom time: Year round
Max reacahble height: 15-18 cm
Difficulty to grow:: Easy
Planting and care
Select a location with full sun where your onions wonâ€™t be shaded by other plants.
Soil needs to be well-drained, loose, and rich in nitrogen; compact soil affects bulb development.
Till in aged manure or fertilizer the fall before planting. Onions are heavy feeders and need constant nourishment to produce big bulbs.
At planting time, you can mix in some nitogen fertilizer, too, and side dress every few weeks until the bulbing process begins.
Onion seeds are short-lived. If planting seeds indoors, start with fresh seeds each year. Start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before transplanting.
Plant onions as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, usually late March or April. Make sure temperature doesnâ€™t go below 20 degrees F.
For sets or transplants, plant the smaller sets 1 inch deep, with 4 to 5 inches between each plant and in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.
Think of onions as a leaf crop, not a root crop. When planting onion sets, donâ€™t bury them more than one inch under the soil; if more than the bottom third of the bulb is underground, bulb growth can be restricted.
Sunlight: Select a location with full sun where your onions wont be shaded by other plants.
Soil: Soil needs to be well-drained, loose, and rich in nitrogen; compact soil affects bulb development.
Water: Generally, onions do not need consistent watering if mulch is used. About one inch of water per week (including rain water) is sufficient. If you want sweeter onions, water more.
Temperature: 20 degrees F
Fertilizer: Give an occasional feed with a general liquid fertiliser. A light feed of sulphate of potash in June will help ripen the bulbs ready for storage.
Caring for Spring Cut Bunching Onion
Fertilize every few weeks with nitrogen to get big bulbs. Cease fertilizing when the onions push the soil away and the bulbing process has started.
Do not put the soil back around the onions; the bulb needs to emerge above the soil.
Generally, onions do not need consistent watering if mulch is used. About one inch of water per week (including rain water) is sufficient. If you want sweeter onions, water more.
Onions will look healthy even if they are bone dry, be sure to water during drought conditions.
Make sure soil is well-drained. Mulch will help retain moisture and stifle weeds.
Cut or pull any onions that send up flower stalks; this means that the onions have â€œboltedâ€ and are done.
Onions can be harvested when the foliage turns yellow and starts to topple over. Although it is sometimes suggested to bend over the foliage or gently lift the bulbs to break the roots, this is no longer recommended.
Leave for two to three weeks and then carefully lift with a garden fork.
Onions for storage must be firm, disease-free and then dried for two to three weeks, either laid out in the sun or in a shed if the weather is wet.
Typical uses of Spring Cut Bunching Onion
Special features: Onions are a cold-season crop, easy to grow because of their hardiness.
Culinary use: In foods, onion is used in many recipes.
Onion is used for treating digestion problems including loss of appetite, upset stomach, and gallbladder disorders; for treating heart and blood vessel problems including chest pain (angina) and high blood pressure; and for preventing â€œhardening of the arteriesâ€ (atherosclerosis).
It is also used for treating sore mouth and throat, whooping cough, bronchitis, asthma, dehydration, intestinal gas, parasitic worms, and diabetes. Some people use it as a diuretic to increase urine output.
Onion is applied directly to the skin for insect bites, wounds, light burns, boils, warts, and bruises.