Onion is a cool-season
vegetables that can be grown successfully throughtout most of temporate
Europe and North America. Onions may be grown from sets, transplants or
Onions start bulb
formation when the day lenght is of the proper duration and different
varieties of onions require different day lenghts to initiate bulbing. In
general, most common varieties fall into one of two classes, long-day
(for northern latitudes) and short-day (for southern latitudes). For
this reason, onion varieties that are grown in the South are not
adaptable to the North and vice versa. Late plantings of the suggested varieties also result in small bulbs or lack of bulbing altogether in any location.
temperatures and low humidity are advantageous during bulbing and
curing. Onions have shallow roots and compete poorly with weeds and
grasses. Timely shallow hoeing and cultivation are important,
especially when the onions are small.
Onions from sets.
green onions from sets is probably the simplest method for the home
gardener. The plants are quickly established and become vigorous and
strong. Onion sets may be used fo produce both green onions and dry
When to plant.
Onions can be planted as soon
as the garden can be tilled in the spring, usually late March or early
April in prime regions for producing onions. Good fertility, adequate
soil moisture and cool temperatures aid development.
Pull green onions anytime after the tops are 6 inches tall. Green onions become stronger in flawor with age and increasing size.
They may be used for cooking when they are too strong to eat raw.
Though leaves are traditionally discarded, all parts above the roots are edible.
Remove any plants that have
formed flower stalks and use immediately. They do not produce good
bulbs for dry storage. Harvest in late July or early August, when most
of the tops have fallen over. Allow the plants to mature and the tops
to fall over naturally. Breaking over the tops early interrupts growth,
causing smaller bulbs that do not keep as well in storage.
Pull the mature onions in the morning and allow the bulbs to air dry in
the garden until late afternoon. On especially hot, bright, sunny days,
the bulbs may sunburn. On days when this is likely, remove onions to a
shaded location and allow them to dry thoroughly. Then, before evening
dew falls, place them under dry shelter on elevated slats or screens or
hang them in small bunches. Tops may be braided or tied with string
before hanging. Full air circulation for 2 to 3 weeks is necessary for
complete drying and curing. Keep the dry wrapper scales as intact as
possible on the bulbs, as they enhance the keeping ability.