If you’re having problems growing onions, here are some points that will help you.
I grow over a 1,000 onions a year and use to grow as many as 3,000 a year when I grew for market. I’ve always considered them an easy crop — even when I first started raising them 35 years ago. I guess I just stumbled into getting it right from the very beginning.
I never gave the “whys” a lot of thought until this year when I heard several folks say they haven’t had good luck with growing onions. To be more specific: One friend who planted about 150 transplants said his never came up. Another person who plants sets never gets anything but small pearl sized onions.
WHEN you plant onions is critical.
The general rule of thumb is to plant onions 4 to 6 weeks BEFORE the last freeze date in the spring.
Here’s the reason:
Onions will form bulbs based on the hours of daylight. In order for them to get big, they need plenty of growing time BEFORE they start to bulb. If you plant your onions when the amount of daylight is already enough for them to bulb, you’ll get pearl onion size onions.
You must plant early enough to give them time to grow before the day length is reach that triggers bulbing.
Planting DEPTH – Only 1 inch.
I couldn’t understand why my friend who planted about 150 transplants didn’t have any come up. That is — until I found out the he had planted them 3 inches deep. Way too deep for onions!
When the drought broke in September, we had about 12 inches of rain within a few days and it brought his onions more to the surface. They started growing —-and this fall my friend has many “spring” onions.
So whether you plant sets or transplants – make sure they’re not too deep. One inch is a good depth.
Using SETS? The small ones make the bigger onions.
If you plant from sets and want big onions, use the smallest sets. (About the size of a marble.) Larger sets will make only green onions.
Sort your sets and plant the larger ones separate from the smaller ones. Then you’ll know which ones won’t make large onions. Thus, you can use the green onions while you are waiting for the others.
One last thing:
An onion transplant is an onion plant between 8 to 10 weeks old which has not gone through the bulbing process.
Overall, transplanted onions grow bigger and store longer than those grown from sets. If you have enough onion savvy — grow your own transplants. If not, some garden centers sell them.
If you’ve had trouble with growing onions, one or more of these four points might well make all the difference in your crop.
Other Posts on Onions:
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