Surprisingly simple to cultivate are onions! Early spring is when they are planted, and midsummer through the fall is when they are harvested. There are several tips and tactics that can make the difference between a fantastic harvest and a dismal one when starting onions from seed or sets. Learn how to sow, cultivate, and harvest onions.
1 sowing the onion seeds
- Pick the appropriate seed for your growth zone.
- Onions fall into three categories:
- long-day, and
- These classifications are based on the growth zone and plant hardiness of where you live.
- You could not have a very fruitful crop if you select the incorrect variety of onion for your region.
- You should choose short-day onions like Red Burgundy, Red Creole, and Vidalia if you live in Zone 7 in a warmer climate.
- Choose long-day onions such Alisa Craig, Copra, and White Sweet Spanish if you reside in Zone 6 or a cooler climate.
- Any growing zone is suitable for day-neutral onions like Cabernet and Candy.
- You can find your zone using online resources and tools. To learn about your region, consult a map of plant hardiness zones.
- The onion seeds should be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the latest date of frost. The seedlings will benefit from this head start. It will enable them to grow into strong seedlings before being planted outside.
- A shallow container should be filled with moist seed starting mix. The container needs to have some drainage holes and be around 4 inches (10.16 centimetres) deep. You can give it whatever size or shape you like.
- The seed packet’s label should be followed when planting the seeds. Start by scattering the seeds over the moist soil if you don’t have the seed packet anymore. After softly misting them with water, a seed mixture layer measuring 1/8 inch (0.32 cm) thick should be placed over them. When you’re finished, gently pat the soil with your hand.
- Until the seeds grow, keep them warm and moist. The seeds can be covered with a humidity dome or with starting mix and plastic. Keep them somewhere warm, between 21 and 24 °C (70 to 75 °F). Put the containers on a heat mat if the temperature is too low where you live. After 7 to 10 days, the seedlings should start to appear.
- Till they sprout, keep the seeds warm and moist. If you don’t have a humidity dome, you can also cover the seeds with starting mix and plastic. Keep them somewhere warm, at 75 to 80 °F (21 to 24 °C). Put the containers on a heat mat if your area is too cold. After 7 to 10 days, you can anticipate seeing the seedlings sprout.
- Once the seedlings have sprouted, reduce the humidity and heat. Move the seeds to a cooler location after removing the humidity dome or plastic cover. Keep the soil moist and fertilise it regularly. Compost tea or diluted fish emulsion are the best fertilisers.
2 Transplanting the Seedlings
- Before transferring the seedlings outside, harden them for 4 weeks. Four weeks before the last date of frost, begin hardening them. Slowly acclimate the seedlings to the outside during this time. Put them outside for a few hours in a protected area to start, then bring them inside for the remainder of the day. Once you are able to keep them outside all night, gradually increase their outdoor exposure each day.
- The seedlings’ adaptation to lower temperatures, less sunlight, and less watering will be aided by the hardening process.
- The seedlings will go into shock and may die if they are immediately transplanted outside.
- A minimum of 4 inches (10.16 centimetres) in height should pass before planting seedlings.  By doing this, it will be made sure that the young plants are resilient enough to withstand the elements outside.
- Prepare some phosphorus-rich, well-draining soil in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Spread a layer of 5-10-5 fertiliser over the soil that is 112 inches (3.81 cm) thick. The soil should be fertilised to a depth of around 8 inches (20.32 centimeters). Check to see if the soil is loose and soft.
- If you can, try adding some organic material to the soil, like compost made for gardens or rotten animal manure.
- Look for a fertiliser that is strong in phosphorus if you can’t acquire
Growing and Harvesting the Onions
- Never let the onions dry out and water them constantly. To maintain the health of the onions, think about putting some nitrogen in the water. However, you only need to do this through mid-July.
- As the bulbs mature, remove the soil around them to reveal the tops. The bulbs of the onion will also protrude from the ground in addition to the leaves. You might want to brush some soil away from the bulbs if they aren’t emerging from the ground, leaving only the roots and the bottom portion of the bulb in the soil. The bulbs will dry more quickly as a result.
- Take the bulbs out. When the bulbs are 2 to 3 inches in diameter, you can start picking them. To prevent the bulbs’ tops from decaying, bend the plants toward the earth (pink neck). Allow the bulbs to dry and turn brown for 5 to 6 days.
- Additionally, this will hasten the drying process for the bulbs.
- Leaves should be trimmed to 1 to 2 inches. You can leave the leaves on the onions longer if you want to weave them into a rope like you would garlic.
- Out of the ground, remove the bulbs. The onion bulb can be harvested once the peel on the outside has dried. To store your collected onions, place the bulbs in a container such a box, bag, or wheelbarrow. Make sure the container is ventilated, warm, dry, and dark.
- Cure the onions away from direct sunlight in a warm, dry area with excellent airflow. On a screen, distribute the lamps widely to allow for adequate airflow. Let them mature in a garage or shed. A porch with less direct sunshine will also do.
- The skins of the onions may weaken and encourage bacteria if you cure them in direct sunlight. They could begin to decay if you cure them in an area that is moist and humid.
- The cured onions should be kept in a dry, cool location with excellent airflow. You must carefully keep your onions in a bag or box if you are not braiding them and hanging them up. As long as they are kept dry and refrigerated, you can keep them anyway you like. Good airflow is essential. Here are a few common methods for storing onions.
- Hang the onion sack with the onions within it.
- The onions should be kept in a shallow box. To keep the bulbs apart, use newspaper.
- Onions should be kept in nylon stockings. Between each bulb, tie the stocking in a knot. The stocking is hung. Simply cut below or above a knot to obtain an onion.