Growing Onions From Seed - A Step by Step Tutorial

Team McFly Oct 10, 2023
23 People Read
Table of Contents
  1. How to Grow Onions
    1. How Long Do Onions Take to Grow?
    2. How to Sow Onion Seed
    3. How to Care for Onion Crops
    4. How to Prepare and Use Onions
    5. How to Store Onions

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  

How to Grow Onions

You must follow a few basic rules to grow onions properly. You have to make sure that you get the correct soil, the correct temperature, and the proper amount of sunlight. If you have these things, you should have a great crop of onions.

How to Grow Onions

How Long Do Onions Take to Grow?

There are two ways to grow onions: from seed or transplant. Both methods should be started at least six weeks before the last frost date in your area. When ready to plant, you should use the seed as a guide and place it a quarter-inch deep in the soil.

For the best results, onions should be planted in a sunny location with loose, well-draining soil. Plant them in rows, spacing them 12 to 18 inches apart. Cultivating the soil before planting is unnecessary, but it will help the onion grow more vigorously.

Onions are photoperiodic, which means they need light to grow. Therefore, they should be exposed to at least six hours of sunlight daily. You can also use artificial grow lights for this. In addition, you should feed the onions with a rich fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

During the early stages of growth, your onions should receive at least one inch of water each week. If the weather is dry, you may have to water your plants more often. However, once the bulbs have developed, your onions can handle less water.

You can start onion seeds indoors in January. However, the best time to sow onion seeds is in the early spring. First, sow the seed in moist, peat-free multipurpose compost. Then, after eight weeks, you can transplant them outdoors.

How to Sow Onion Seed

You can grow onions from seed if you are willing to put in the time and effort. Then, you can either start them indoors or plant them directly outside in the spring. The key is choosing the right variety for your climate.

In addition to planting the right onion seeds, you'll need a good seedling potting medium. This should be a high-quality, pre-moistened mixture. When starting, you should make sure the mix is flat and able to support the onion seedlings.

For optimal growth, you should fertilize your onions every few weeks. Using organic nitrogen-rich fertilizer will help your onion seedlings thrive. If you're using a fertilizer, read the label and follow the directions. Another option is to harden off the seedlings. Hardening off involves less moisture and cooler temperatures. Start this process a few weeks before the last expected frost date.

To properly harden off your onions, you'll need to provide them with a sheltered place to stay for a few hours each day. Then, once you have them acclimated to the outside world, it's time to move them out to the garden.

You can do this by placing a light mulch on the soil where you plan to plant the seedlings. Light mulches, such as straw, keep moisture in the soil and allow air circulation. This will also keep immature bulbs from being damaged by weeds.

onions planted

How to plant onion sets

One of the best ways to grow onions is to plant onion sets. This is a great way to produce healthy, disease-free onions. However, they must be planted in the right way. Below are some tips for planting onion sets.

First, you will need to plan when to plant your onions. Spring is the best time for planting. Then, you can start your seeds indoors when the weather is warm. Planting them in the spring will put them ahead of the game and allow them to grow until they are ready for harvest in early summer.

If you live in a milder climate, you can plant your onions in the fall. In this case, you will have to cover your plants with mulch to protect them from frost. After planting, you will need to water them. Water them about every 14 days. Please do not allow them to dry out too much, as this can cause fungal diseases. Once the onions begin to swell, you can stop watering them.

A great mulch for your garden beds is decomposed hay. Mulches are also a good way to regulate soil temperature and reduce weeding. You can also use other mulches, such as grass clippings, leaves, and shredded newspaper. These materials have excellent soil-holding properties and will help keep your onions healthy.

Onion sets are an easier and more convenient way to plant onions than planting seeds. They are available at gardening stores and greenhouse centers. Most of these companies have sections in their catalogs dedicated to sets.

How to Care for Onion Crops

Whether growing onions in the ground or from seeds, it's important to follow a few simple steps to help your crop thrive. Onions grow best in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. A healthy root-mycorrhizae partnership is also important for optimal onion growth.

If you're growing onions in the ground, choose a spot that receives full sun. They require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

When planting onions, prepare the soil by removing all debris. Next, dig the soil to a depth of at least one inch. Then, plant your onion seedlings at least four inches apart. Make sure the roots are buried deep enough to support the bulb.

Once your onion seedlings are ready to sprout, lay them out in a sunny area. Keep them away from competing plants. You can mulch the seedlings with straw or other organic material to help keep the soil moist. This will prevent damage to the bulbs and help retain moisture.

The best time to plant onions is in the early spring. However, you can also start them indoors in late winter. After your onions are ready, they will harvest in about three to four months.

To ensure your onions continue to grow, water them occasionally. They will need about an inch of water per week. However, watering too often can promote fungal diseases, which can rot the bulb.

preparing onions

How to Prepare and Use Onions

When growing onions, it is important to consider their proper planting, storing, and harvesting methods. In addition, they require a rich source of nitrogen and ample sunlight.

The ideal pH for onions is between 6.0 and 6.8. It is also important to have a good drainage system. A light layer of mulch can help retain soil moisture and prevent rot.

The best time to plant onion sets is in the spring when the ground is thawing. However, seeds should be planted indoors at least 12 weeks before the outdoor planting season.

For best results, plant in soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Nitrogen-based fertilizer should be applied every two to three weeks.

Onions should be planted at least one inch deep. Plant them in rows or furrows that are at least six inches apart. Tie twine or sticks to the ends of the row.

In the first few weeks after planting, it is important to water the onions. This helps to ensure that the roots receive the nutrients they need to develop. Raising beds or rows can be beneficial if you have heavy clay soil.

You should be able to harvest the onions you planted in 3 to 4 weeks. Depending on the size of the bulb, you can keep them on the soil for an extra week or so. After they are mature, you can cut the onions and store them. However, they will need additional drying time to become dry enough to store.

storing onions

How to Store Onions

If you're growing onions, you'll need to know how to store them. First, they must be kept in a cool and dry environment to stay dormant and avoid disease. Luckily, there are many ways to store them, ranging from braiding them to storing them in a mesh bag.

The most efficient storage method is in an unheated, dark, and well-ventilated garage or basement. Onions should not be stored in the kitchen since high humidity can cause them to rot. When you're ready to store your onions, remove any damaged bulbs or those with blemishes. It would be best if you also cut off the tops. This will allow them to dry better.

A good way to store onions is by stringing them together. You can do this by making a loop from a cord that has been cut to a length of three to four feet. Once the string is made, you can hang it from a hook or a rafter.

Alternatively, you can use a resealable plastic bag or pantyhose. These methods are ideal for storing shallots, too.

Another convenient way to store onions is by using purpose-sold vegetable storage nets. You can use these nets to store onions like you'd store oranges. Make sure to use a net that has ventilation holes so that air can circulate.

If you're storing onions for longer than a couple of weeks, you'll need to keep them in a cooler, more humid place. In general, onions do best when stored at 40 degrees F.

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Table of Contents
  1. How to Grow Onions
    1. How Long Do Onions Take to Grow?
    2. How to Sow Onion Seed
    3. How to Care for Onion Crops
    4. How to Prepare and Use Onions
    5. How to Store Onions

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.