My answer would be because onions are one of the easiest and best investments on the planet! There’s hardly any work involved and the effort that is required is minimal.
Onions are easy to keep. And it’s pretty hard to beat the price. Mine average out to about 6 to 10 cents a piece if they’re from transplants and about a penny or two a piece if they’re from seed. No way you’re gonna get that price in the super market. And you can’t get the same quality and taste of home grown onions at any price in a store.
Allow me to further elaborate on the ease of onion growing:
When you garden like I do you don’t have to prepare beds —they’re already prepared under the mulch.
You don’t have to fertilize ——- organic matter is already there.
But more than 1500 onions?!
So you say you can’t imagine planting 1500 onions or more. All I can say is —–neither can I! (All at one time anyway.)
I order my onions in two batches. I get about 700 in February (or sooner if the weather is good) and about 800 in March. I open the package, take the band off the bundles and spread them out in a flat box and put them in the garage. Onions will keep up to 3 or 4 weeks this way if you run into a weather problem.
Weather allowing I spend about 30 minutes everyday planting onions. That’s about 100 or more onions per day. At the end of the first batch (about 7 days) I forget about them until the next batch arrives. Then I repeat the process.
No, I don’t want to Weed
And of course I don’t want to weed either, so I sprinkle straw and/or leaf mulch on my onions after they’re planted. As they grow — add more. Mulch keeps the weeds from growing.
The only reason I even give them a thought after planting is because I can hardly wait to start eating them. When they’re scallion size I start pulling 3 for lunch and sometimes 3 for dinner. (Time wise – that’s about 15 seconds to pull them.)
Four to five months later they start maturing. I’ve done no work at all up to this point except to pull and eat.
I Don’t Water Either!
Yes, that’s right —–I don’t water either. “But onions need an inch of rain a week!” you say. Well — when I started growing onions, I also read that. I said to myself, “I’m not set up for watering and I cant’ do that. So I’ll see.” Here I am 33 years later and have never watered my onion crop. They are one of my most successful crops!
In June when they start maturing (the tops fall over), I start harvesting. I’ll pull whatever is ready each day. Usually it amounts to 12 to 30 onions a day or every other day. It takes about 5 or 10 minutes to pull them. When I leave the garden I walk over to the screens I have set up for them with a shade canopy and place them on it. Another 10 minutes at most. (The maturing goes on for about 6 weeks in my garden.)
As they Cure
As the weeks go on and the onions on the screen fully dry, I collect them gently in a basket, take them to the back steps, sit down, and proceed to cut the roots and tops. I usually end up with about 3 or 4 sessions like this (remember I have 1500 onions) that last for a little more than 1 hour each. This is the most work I do for my 1500 onions.
Another 5 minutes of “work”
Oh – one more thing —- I do spend about 5 minutes every 3 weeks or so during the winter to check my onions to make sure none are going bad.
Did I always plant 1500 or more onions?
No. I started out with about 300 onion sets each year. (It took a while to learn that transplants make the best onions.) Why did I increase the number? Because I ran out of onions and store-boughts don’t taste good.
When I found out how easy onions were and how little work is involved — not to mention that you can’t buy onions like garden-growns —- there was no reason not to grow more.
Given time — you might find the same thing to be true.
Organic gardening is easy, efficient, effective and —- a lot healthier!
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