Growing Onions

Photo: © Quinn Dombrowski, Creative Commons

Growing OnionGrowing Onion Building Its Bulb

In my garden, growing onions is not proportional to how many onions I eat. If it were, my garden would be 90% onions! My mom used to say, “Bad cooks don’t use onions. Good cooks use onions. Great cooks start with onions, and then add everything else.” (Well, okay… not brownies.) Tito and I probably go through 400 pounds of onions a year.

Growing onions successfully is pretty easy, but does require a bit of specific knowledge, especially relating to choosing a variety that matches your latitude. To keep this from becoming a book, I've broken everything about growing onions down into the following pages to help you go straight to what you're looking for:

How to Grow Onions

Onions need soil that is loose and evenly moist so that they can easily push it aside when they start to form bulbs. You can grow onions from seed (my fave, gives me something to do in late winter when I start all my seedlings in the basement under lights), or onion "sets", which are clumps that look like scallions in arrested development. Supposedly onion sets give you faster harvest, but I think that's only if you haven't started seeds early indoors. Read more by clicking through the sections below:

  • Types of Onions
    To grow large bulb onions it’s critically important to choose types of onions that match how far north or south you live, because onions need to experience a certain day length before they switch from growing green tops to forming bulbs. Find out which types (and varieties) will work for you!
  • Planting Onions
    All about planting onions: how deep and how far apart to plant, the difference between growing from seed, onion sets or onion transplants, and when to plant onions for maximum bulb growth.
  • Growing Onions from Seed
    There are some advantages to starting your own onions from seed, but you’ll need to start them indoors in order to get a jump on the season and give your onions enough time to develop bulbs. Find out how and when to plant, and when to transplant outside.
  • Onion Diseases
    Most onion diseases are a lot easier to prevent than to cure. Learn 5 ways to prevent onion diseases, and find out what to do if your plants do become sick.
  • Onion Bolting
    Onions will send up a flower stalk if they become stressed, which takes energy away from growing nice large bulbs. Learn how to prevent onion bolting, and what to do if onions do start to go to seed.
  • Harvesting Onions
    Make sure to wait for harvesting onions until the tops start turning brown. Learn the proper way to harvest and cure onions for the most successful winter storage.

  • Storing Onions
    There are several cool and clever ways to store onions, but the most important things are to provide excellent air circulation and to keep them dry. Read about tips and tricks for storing onions.

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