Garden Friday: Onions

I ordered onion sets this year for the first time.  The regional catalog said they would send them out at the optimal planting time… which is apparently my 2nd child’s day of birth.  So needless to say, I’ve missed the 3-week window of planting the 300+ sets as advised.  But I put them in the cold basement for a month and am now hoping for the best as I try to make progress in getting the bed ready during non-rainy naps.

Anyways, my question to you is do you plant onions?  From seed, set or what?  And what is your optimal spacing/layout in a backyard garden?

3 responses to “Garden Friday: Onions

  1. deb April 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I think sets are easier, or even those little already-growing sprouts in garden centers the ones with bare roots and rubber bands. I plant them close together, about half as far apart as the mature onion would be. As I need them, I pull up the ones closest together to use. By the time all are mature, I’ve thinned them —for dinner—and they are happy with the space. I find if I leave bigger spaces, weeds move in, and I’m not catering to weeds.

  2. Betty Jo April 14, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I start my onion starts in pots in the greenhouse. They don’t mind being crowded, you can dump a bunch of seeds into a small pot, and let them be freindly for quite a while before going in the ground. I’ve sown onion seeds outside, Some say that one can get a more uniform crop that way, but I think I get better germination with starts instead. When the starts are 4 inches high or so, I plant 6 rows in a 4 foot by 50 ft bed, leaving but a few inches between the baby onions in the rows. As Deb said, it’s fun enough to thin as they grow, using the baby onions as scallions. I find that onions really aren’t good at competing with weeds, so I’m with Deb. Close rows minimize weeding. I used to put other stuff in the same bed, but it always seemed to turn out that I selected bed plant companions that wanted different water regimes, so now I dedicate one of the raised beds to onions and garlic. We still never have enough to make them last through past March.

  3. xenawarriorscientist April 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    No idea! How helpful is that?

    Down here, the strawberry farmers always put onions on the first row (the one closest to the road). Every. single. farm. The spiky onion tops scrape the devils outta the air before they get to the strawberries, you see. Something to think about. : D

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