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If you’re new to gardening, or just getting back at it after a few years off, learning or re-learning how to grow onions properly is a must.

Not only are they one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden, but they are one of the plants you can grow all year-round as well.

Read on below and discover all there is to know about growing onions.

About Growing Onions

A row of mature onions growing in the dirt (they look ready to be picked).
A row of mature onions growing in the dirt (they look ready to be picked).

The history of onions has an interesting story. The vegetable is believed to have originated in Asia, although it probably grew wild on other continents as well. Dating back to 3500 BC, onions were one of the few vegetables that did not spoil during the winter months

The popularity of onions peaked as soon as it was discovered in ancient Greece, where athletes consumed large amounts because it was thought to “ease blood flow.” Onions have spread to other parts of the world and have continued to be more than just a vegetable.

Today, onions continue to be an important part of our diet. Onion lovers around the world have found that it is a versatile vegetable, it can be grilled, sauteed, pickled, boiled, cooked, fried, dried, powdered, and more.

Libya is the country that boasts the highest consumption of onions per capita, consuming approximately 147 pounds per person each year.

Quick Onion Growing Information

How much light is needed:Ideally, onions should be exposed to more than 14 hours a day.
How much water is needed:Onions need at least 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water each week to grow healthy.
Is it best to start with seeds or plants:It is preferable to start with bulbs or small plants.
The best month to plant:Sowing is best done during March, usually in the second half of the month.
Preferred climate/temperature:The temperature range that onions tolerate best is 53.5°F to 77°F degrees Fahrenheit.
Is indoor or outdoor growing better:Outdoor growing is preferable.
Do indoor plants need to be pollinated:No. Indoor plants do not need to be pollinated.
Level of difficulty to grow:Easy.
Plant height:Up to 6 inches
Time from planting to harvest:Approximately 120 days.

Tips for Growing Onions

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1. Plot Choice

Onions are extremely sensitive to structural damage and moisture, due to their thin skin. For this reason, they need to be grown in a plot of soil that is firm but well-draining (such as sandy or loamy soil mixes).

Likewise, it is crucially important to make sure your onion plot choice is located somewhere that receives between 10 and 16 hours of direct sunlight.

2. Crop Rotation

Crop rotation means growing different crops in one place to prevent soil disease. Growing the same crop in the same place, year after year causes many species to suffer from soil-borne diseases caused by nematodes, fungi, and insects. 

Extensive crop rotation of onions is required to maintain a healthy plot, uncontaminated with nematodes and/or white rot. To do this, simply switch back and forth each year, growing onions, carrots, radishes, and other similar crops in a different location each year.

3. Soil Preparation

Soil preparation is generally understood to mean the creation of a place in the ground for germination to occur, or the making of a planting bed. However, it may also involve more work if the acreage of gardening space is larger than average.

For example, soil preparation in your 1/2 acre garden may be done with a hoe, but in a 5-acre garden, a motorized tiller or tractor is needed.

Soil preparation is an aspect that requires a lot of attention. In all methods of soil preparation, the goal must be: to improve the structure of the soil the plants will grow in and maintain it.

FAQs About Onion Growing

What is the easiest way to grow onions?

The easiest way to grow onions is from bulbs (just toss them out into the garden and cover them with organic compost). Onions made from bulbs grow healthier and reach maturity earlier as well. They may also be grown from seeds and established plants.

What is the most common mistake in growing onions?

A common mistake in cultivating onions is applying too much nitrogen fertilization. Onions are hardy vegetables that have evolved over thousands of years and in harsh conditions, they don’t need much fertilization. Picking onions early is another common mistake.

What is the best type of soil for growing onions?

Onions grow best in well-drained soils (sandy, loamy, and other fast-draining mixes). In drought conditions, low-quality onions are obtained, smaller in size, faster than they should be and in many cases, the dryness of the soil even causes the onions to crack open.

Suggested Reading: How to Grow Peppers: Gardening Guide

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