Nutrition Articles

Fruit and Vegetable Gardening A-Z: Onions

A Guide to Gardening, Growing and Harvesting Edibles

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Countless healthy recipes and cooking techniques call for onions. There are three kinds of onions: short-day, intermediate-day and long-day. Make sure the varieties you choose match up with your hardiness zone.

Hardiness Zones:
4-11 (Find your hardiness zone.)

When to Plant:
Purchase onion sets from a nursery and set them out in the garden in mid to late March. Dig a small hole for each bulb and plant it (neck upward). Cover it up with soil, allowing the tip of the neck to show through the soil surface.

Conditions:
Prepare the soil in advance with at least 2-4 inches of compost and well-rotted manure. Onions can deal with either thick or well-aerated soil.

Space Needed:
Plant each bulb about 10 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart.

Maintenance:
Be sure to keep the area weeded.

When to Harvest:
It's very easy to tell when onions are ready for harvest. A week after their tops yellow and then drop over, they are fully-grown! Loosen the soil with a garden fork and lay the onions on the ground to dry for a few days before using them.

Average Yield:
One onion bulb can grow to about 1-2 pounds, depending on variety.

Continuous Yield:
No

Life Cycle:
Annual

Difficulty Rating (1-5):
2

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About The Author

Jenny Sigler Jenny Sigler
Jenny is a stay-at-home mom to her young children, Augustine and Olive. An avid gardener and baker, she enjoys writing about health and childcare topics to empower people to make healthy choices. See all of Jenny's articles.

Member Comments

  • I planted my sets about 3 inches apart - rows about 5 inches apart. I'll start using the 'in between' ones as thinnings. I also planted some tiny baby starts for green salad onions. - 3/25/2010 7:43:15 PM
  • I planted my sets about 3 inches apart - rows about 5 inches apart. I'll start using the 'in between' ones as thinnings. I also planted some tiny baby starts for green salad onions. - 3/25/2010 7:43:03 PM
  • I'm sure they can make BIO-Fuel out of those green onion tops. LOL - 5/5/2009 3:01:42 PM
  • Yep - those onions are definitely 10" apart! OK - that's how I'd grow them, too, unless they're one of the really big varieties! - 4/18/2009 9:46:34 PM
  • DEE_LITED
    Thank you, Jennie and Spark People, for all of this wonderful, useful information! This is by far the most helpful gardening advice and direction I've found and is written simply so that it's easy to follow. My garden is in containers, seeds started indoors except for onions. I never would have been confident enough to do this without your help. - 4/7/2009 2:19:33 PM

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