All How To Grow Onions At Home – Beginner’s Guide
Everyone is quite familiar with the edible bulbs, onions from the allium family. Due to their strong flavor, onions are a favorite of people in many cuisines. Also, onions are even known to offer a variety of health benefits. They regulate blood sugar levels, boost the immune system, and keep the cholesterol under control. Now, how to grow onions?
Growers can grow them along the garden beds’ edges and tuck them into corners. Here, you will get to know how to grow onions at home and other important aspects related to onion growing. It is easy to grow onions at home but takes patience. However, you will get onions that smell and taste better than the onions you get from the market.
Different Varieties of Onions
If you go to purchase sets or transplants at a nursery, you will come across different varieties suitable for your area. However, sometimes, you will only see labels as red or yellow on onions.
This vegetable is categorized based on its day length. Here, day length means the amount of daylight there is while onions begin forming green leaves, tops, and begin forming bulbs.
Short-day onions start making bulbs when there are just 10-12 hours of the day length. These varieties of onions thrive well in the western and southern US, which include:
Texas Grano: An enhanced strain of ‘Yellow Grano’. They feature great storing ability and disease resistance.
Cipollini: These doughnut-shaped, flat onions can be stored for five months.
Granex: These globe-shaped, sweet, large onions are also known as Vidalia onions. They are early producers.
Long-day onions start making bulbs when there are 14-16 hours of the day length. They grow well in northern states.
Yellow or White Sweet Spanish: These long-season onion varieties include the earlier Olympic (F1) and Walla Walla.
Redwing: Red-colored onions hold up great. These late season, solid onions grow well from transplants.
Italian Red Torpedo: These heirloom onions are reddish-purple having an elongated shape. They can be grown as short-day onions.
How to Grow Onions
Onions are extremely loved bulbs of the Indian subcontinent. They can be cooked in soups, stews, gravies, and eaten raw. It is quite difficult to imagine a table spread without this vegetable. Onions can be easily grown and do not require much space. They need pleasant and cool weather without rain and humidity. Thus, the ideal time for growing onions is from November to February. To grow bulbs, you can use a container or open space. However, make sure that the soil is porous and fertile. Now, let’s see how onions grow!
Method 1: Grow onions in the backyard
Step 1: Soak some onion seeds in water for a day. Drain them and keep the same in the open for around 2-3 days. After that, sow them in a tray in the soil.
Step 2: To sprout, seeds will take around 6-8 weeks. Meanwhile, you can prepare the space where you would like to sow these saplings, which could be a grow bag, backyard, or balcony. For nourishing your plant, you will require fertilizers. Go for organic fertilizers!
Step 3: Monitor your sapling and water them regularly for ensuring that the soil is enough moist for facilitating growth. After they sprout, plant the sapling in the demarcated place.
Step 4: While sowing them, keep them 15 cm apart. This ensures that the bulbs get enough place for growing and not hindering the growth of one another.
Step 5: Now, you will get to know when your plants are ready to harvest. You will see the tops of onions above the soil. When the leaves start to shrivel, pull them out from the ground.
Step 6: Leave the onions for three days and then, cut the leaves off 1 cm from the onions. You can use these leaves for cooking too.
Method 2: Grow bulbs from previous onions
Step 1: Take a 6-inch deep container and the width could be anything depending on how many onions you like to grow. You can also use a tub for growing yellow onions.
Step 2: Now, fill that container with soil deeply enriched with compost and manure. At the top, leave around 1-inch space.
Step 3: Now, employ starter onion bulbs from the leftover cooking straps, which are the onion’s root parts. Usually, we discard them while cooking. You can save that part for growing red onions later.
Step 4: Next, dig a deep pit of about 2 inches and place the onion bulb there. Cover that bulb with soil. Now, keep adding water until the soil turns moist.
Step 5: Make sure that the soil remains moist all the time. Whenever you feel that the top soil has become brittle and dry, then some water. Place your container in a place that gets about 6-7 hours of sunlight daily.
Step 6: You have to harvest the onions when sprouts reach about 3 inches in height. Wait longer if you want them to grow a bit bigger. Once reached that height, pull them out, clean, and use them.
Also, check out this video to grow onions in a pot.
Some Tips on Growing Onions and Maintenance
After you have planted onions, water them. You do not require to soak the onions but ensure that the soil is always moist and dark. Water the plants regularly until you spot germination. After this, you have to change the schedule for watering to twice a week based upon how sunny and hot it is outside. If your plant is really dry, then you should continue watering it on a daily basis.
Once the plants are tall, growers can add a mulch layer around them to help retaining moisture and to reduce weeds. You can also use straw as it locks in moisture and is seasoned sufficient so that you do not need to worry about insects. This is important because you would not like the ideaof dealing with unnecessary insect visitors at that stage.
Also, remember that onions require more time for growing than other crops. So, you have to weed and water them pretty a bit. Plus, you have to be more efficient in the garden to do everything required for saving time.
Onions require nitrogen and so, you have to fertilize them every two weeks using a high-nitrogen fertilizer until the onions start to form.
You can go nitrogen-rich fertilizers as well as chicken manure. The most critical part of growing onions is fertilization. Without much nitrogen, the bulbs would not properly grow. If you are using a liquid fertilizer, mix it with water in a can. Then, water every row by hand.
Keep on fertilizing your plants every two weeks until some weeks prior to harvest. Onions love nitrogen during their complete growing cycle.
Onions take around 30-4 months from sowing to harvest. In case, you like spring onions, also called green onions, harvest them around 3-4 weeks after planting the sets. Otherwise, remain patient and keep on watering, fertilizing, and weeding. In no time, you will see plump and nice onions peeking out their heads from the soil.
So, monitor the onions carefully and look when the green tops start to flop over and change their color from green to brown, showing it’s the harvest time.
The best thing about growing onions is that after you have planted them in the soil, they develop themselves, which takes around two weeks. After that, you are set to pick the fresh onions.
Spring onions feature a sweeter and lighter flavor, which is perfect for cooking various recipes. Otherwise, you have to wait until see big crowns coming out of the soil. Now, the green tops will start turning brown, which is a sign that your onions are all set to be harvested.
How to Deal with Pests and Problems
Splitting: When the soil is soil becomes too dry at the time of the bulb formation, they begin to double or split.
Rot: When the soil is too damp, you may see bulb, stem, or neck rot. To avoid this, go for better air circulation and soil drainage.
Onion root maggots: You will find the eggs laid near the plants’ base. The larvae burrow into the plant’s stems and feed on the plant and kill it eventually. To avoid their infestation, rotate the plants annually. Cover new seedling to prevent eggs from being laid. Also, you can use diatomaceous earth.
Thrips: The yellowish-brown flies could feed on the leaves and will result in curling and twisting. If they repeatedly attack, it causes the bulb to stop developing and thus, they do not mature. So, do not plant them near grain crops and opt for resistant varieties. To control temporarily, use insecticidal soaps and neem.
Now, you know how to grow onions. You can grow them in different ways. Here, we discussed how you can grow them in your backyard with seeds and also, with the leftover root parts. It is very simple to grow onions. However, you have to take good care of them. Water and fertilize your plants regularly. Also, keep the other tips in mind that we mentioned here. Now, grow onions at home in your backyard and enjoy home-grown onions to cook your delicious meals!