Onions!

The 2017 growing season has begun! February is here and I planted onion seeds yesterday morning because they need a bit more time to get going than most crops. It takes them roughly 110 days to reach maturity when sown in the spring. Onions like well drained soils. So they are ideal crops for raised bed gardening if you choose to go that route. They don’t need a lot of nitrogen at the start of their lives, but they need good, fertile soil to grow and mature in. I’m currently using a mixture of seed starting soil and potting mix.

img_3600The variety I’ve chosen to grow is called Candy (F1). You can see what the seeds look like on the right. I would like to eventually move to all heirloom and open pollinated crops, but I chose this hybrid because of their excellent storage ability and taste. When choosing which onions you’d like to grow, simply look at how you currently use them. Do you like to eat them raw in salads? Then you should look at red varieties. Do you cook them in just about everything like me? Then a good white or yellow variety would be best suited for your garden.

fingersTo get your seeds started, grab a seed tray and fill it with your growing medium. I recommend seed trays with cells that have a 1 1/2 diameter, but they can be a bit smaller if that’s all you have. Next, using your fingers, make little holes in the center of the cells that are roughly 1/4-1/2 inch deep. If you don’t think you can accurately eye it, use a ruler to mark a wooden skewer or whatever you have around the house. After your holes are made, you can start dropping a into each cell.

Some people choose to drop more than one seed in and then thin later. This is because some seeds simply won’t germinate and sowing more than one seed per cell insures each cell has a growing plant. This is a common practice for commercial growers. I sowed 36 onion seeds, but I really only need about 30. My seeds are a year old so their germination rate has likely gone down. I won’t complain if I end up with more than I need because  friends and family members are always happy to receive fresh, garden treats.

img_3602After all your seeds have been dropped in their holes, gently bury them with more soil, and then give them a good spritz of water. Make sure to spray enough water to soak down into the soil and reach the seed. Place your tray near a sunny window. South facing is best, if possible. It’s very important to not let the soil in your trays completely dry out. If you’re leaving your house for several hours, be sure to give it a spritz before you go.

Well, that’s it folks. Super easy to plant and super easy to maintain. Just keep these babies hydrated, sit back, and wait for them to peek their little leaves out of the soil.

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