- Growing Onions In Container Gardens
- How to Grow Onions in Container Gardens
- Choosing a Location for Growing Onions in Containers
- Remember to Water Your Potted Onions
- Growing onions indoors gives you an endless supply when you need them.
- Growing onions in containers
- Growing onions in water
- Growing onions from onions
- Cut and come again onions
- Growing Onions Vertically in Soda Bottles
- Growing Onions from Seed
- Planting sprouted onions
- Growing onions from sets
- Growing Onion in Containers:
- Introduction To Growing Onions
- Varieties of Onions for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Suitable Container’s for Growing Onion in Containers:
- The Best Season for Growing Onion in Containers:
- A Suitable Location for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Soil Requirement for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Propagating Methods for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Growing Onion in Containers from Seeds:
- Growing Onion in Containers from Transplants:
- Propagation for Growing Onion in Containers from Sets or Bulbs:
- Watering Requirements for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Fertilizing for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Pests and Diseases in Growing Onion in Containers:
- Harvesting Methods of Growing Onion in Containers:
- Tips for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Post Harvesting Tips for Onions:
- Read: Growing Capsicum In Containers.
- Read: Hydroponic Farming.
- Watering Onions
- How to Get Bigger Onion Bulbs:
- How to Plant Onions
Growing Onions In Container Gardens
Many people would love to grow onions, but due to a small garden or perhaps no garden at all, they just don’t have the space. There is a solution though; they can try growing onions in container gardens. Growing onions in containers allows you to be growing onions indoors or in a small space in your backyard.
How to Grow Onions in Container Gardens
The way how to grow onions in container gardens is much like growing onions in the ground. You need good soil, adequate drainage, good fertilizer and plenty of light. Read this article on growing onions for more information on basic onion care.
Really, the only difference between what you do when you grow onions in the ground and when you grow onions in pots is choosing the container you’ll be growing them in.
Because you need several onions planted to get a decent crop, attempting to grow onions in pots that are only 5 or 6 inches wide would be cumbersome. If you choose to grow onions in pots, choose a large mouthed pot. It needs to be at least 10 inches deep, but should be several feet wide so that you’ll be able to plant enough onions to make it worth your while.
Many people have success growing onions in a tub. Because plastic tubs are much cheaper than a comparable sized pot, growing onions in a tub is economical and efficient. Just make sure that you put holes in the bottom of the tub to provide drainage.
You can also grow onions in 5 gallon buckets, but realize that you may only be able to grow 3 or 4 onions per bucket as onions need at least 3 inches open soil around them to grow properly.
Choosing a Location for Growing Onions in Containers
Whether you decide to growing onions in a tub or in pots, it’s essential that you put the onion container somewhere that gets six to seven hours of light. If you are growing indoor onions and don’t have a location with adequate sunlight, you can supplement the light with fluorescent bulbs set close to the onions. A shop light on an adjustable chain makes an excellent grow light for people who growing indoor onions.
Remember to Water Your Potted Onions
Water is an important to growing onions in container gardens because your container onions will have little access to naturally stored rainfall from surrounding soil like onions grown in the ground do. Onions grown in containers will need at least 2 – 3 inches of water a week, perhaps even more in hot weather. Check your onions daily, and if the top of the soil is dry to the touch, give them some water.
Just because you have limited space doesn’t mean that you need to limit what you grow. Growing indoor onions or growing onions in a tub on the patio is fun and easy. Now that you know how to grow onions in container gardens, you have no excuse not to.
This article shows you how to use onions as indoor plants. Growing onions indoors is a fun project and one that the kids will love to help with.
Onions are easy to grow both outdoors and inside. They are one of those vegetables tha
Many gardeners think that they would love to grow onions, but they also assume that one needs a large amount of space to grow them. This is not necessarily the case and there is an easy answer to this problem.
Just try your hand at growing onions in containers. Doing this will allow you to have onions growing on a small patio or deck garden, or even have them growing inside your home.]
There are many types of this versatile vegetable. Find out about the onion varieties here.
If you don’t have the space for a full scale vegetable garden outside, you can still grow onions indoors.
You can even have an endless supply of them if you do it just right since onions are a cut and come again vegetable. (they will regrow from the original stock with roots.)
Onions are a very persistent vegetable. They will sprout, regrow, and sprout again. Just look at this basket of them. Many have already sprouted and could be used to make new plants.
Growing onions indoors gives you an endless supply when you need them.
There are lots of ways to grow onions outdoors, but they usually require a big garden space. Outside, onion sets are often used,(basically small undeveloped onions) but when we are thinking about the task of growing this useful vegetable inside, we have to think outside the box.
Most of these ideas will end up giving you onion tops, rather than onion bottoms, since those require quite a bit of space to grow.
But the sprouts of onion have a lovely taste, too, and can be used in all sorts of recipes, in addition to using them as garnishes.
For today’s project we will focus on the ways to grow them in a more confined area. Here are a few of the ways to grow onions indoors. Kids will love these projects too!
Growing onions in containers
Growing onions in pots is easy. You won’t get a large crop like you do outside, but the top will give you a part of the plant that you can use in recipes. Place a small whole onion in potting soil in a pot and it will spout new growth.
You can either slice off the onion where the roots are, or place a small whole onion on soil and it will grow, in time. When it has developed repeat the process as often as you like.
Growing onions in water
Onions don’t even need soil to grow. Growing onions in water is a project the kids will love because they can see the roots growing through the sides of the glass.
If you place a sprouted onion with the roots down in a glass of water, it will continue to grow on the top with new shoots.
You can either cut off the top part and use it in recipes, or plant the whole onion, roots and all, in soil and watch it grow.
Onions can be a decorative plant too, as this photo shows. The onions are sitting in a bowl of water lined with pebbles. I also force paperwhites using the same technique with great success.
All types of onions will regrow. One of my latest experiments was to try to grow vidalia onions from bottoms that would normally end up in the trash or compost pile. My onion sprouted quickly and gave off new growth in just a few days.
Growing onions from onions
Don’t discard those old onion bottoms in the trash. You can create an endless supply of them without ever having to buy more. This can be done with all types of onions.
The roots of onions are very persistent. In this photo whole onion bottoms are planted in soil and the green sprouts are growing. If you cut off the green parts to use in salads, more will grow.
Cut and come again onions
Growing green onions indoors is a cinch! This is one of my favorite ways to grow onions. I buy one clump of spring onions at the store. Then I place them in a jar of water and cut just the green tops for recipes.
You will have new growth before you know it and never have to buy spring onions again. See my tips to re-grow spring onions in water here.
Growing Onions Vertically in Soda Bottles
This idea is such a fun one for kids to do. Grow onions vertically on a window sill. You will need a 5 liter bottle that you have made holes in.
Fill the bottle with potting soil and onion sprouts and watch your harvest grow indoors! The kids will be fascinated growing onions when they see the soda bottle covered with onion tips that have grown out of the holes in the bottle.
Growing Onions from Seed
Spring onions don’t take up much room outside and will send up flowers quite easily. I had one batch that took up just a square foot of space and it lasted about 4 years before it finally gave up the ghost.
Onions are biennials and will produce seed in their second year.
The plant sends up stalks with flower heads on them. These are called umbrels. When they go brown, cut them off the plant and place them in a paper bag and allow them to dry completely for a few weeks.
Once dry, give the bag a shake to separate the seeds from the other matter in the flower head and store them in a cool, dry place.
The seeds can be used to plant in soil both indoor and out and spring onions grow very easily indoors from these seeds. (Store bought seeds work too.)
Grow lights are a big help for starting seeds indoors.
Planting sprouted onions
Onions sprout easily and that is good for getting more plants for free. This project can be done on a deck.
Get a 4 gallon container and add some wood chips about half way up. Fill the rest of the pot with potting soil. (the wood chips will act as drainage.)
Keep the soil evenly moist and the sprouted onions will grow for you. The roots on the bottom will love the new, rich soil!
Do you ever reach into the onion bin and find an onion that has sprouted where the sprout actually splits the onion? Don’t just use part of it and discard. Put that sprouted part to work.
Slice into the onion to expose the sprout and carefully cut the onion in two (take care not to disturb the sprout).
Carefully cut around the sprout and plant. You can use the part not planted but will end up with another onion too!
Growing onions from sets
If you are interested in growing real onions and not just their tops, buy onion sets. These are small, dry onion bulbs that have been grown the previous year. They are very easy gardeners to grow.
Just press the small onions into the soil up to their tops, barely covered with soil 3-4 inches apart in rows. Since whole onions require room to grow, you won’t be able to grow many unless you have a really large pot.
Sunlight is also an issue. Onions need a LOT of sunlight, so a south facing window is best. Normally, whole onions are grown outdoors or in pots on a patio.
The tops will be ready in 20- 30 days. Whole onions take 100 to 175 days to reach maturity.
Admin note: This post first appeared on my blog in January of 2017. I have updated the post to add more information and photos and also added a few new ways to grow onions indoors. I’ have also included a printable project card and a video for you to enjoy.
Would you like a reminder of this post for ways to grow onions indoors? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest.
Have you discovered other ways for growing onions indoors? Please share your tips in the comment section below.
Active Time 30 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Difficulty easy Estimated Cost less than $1
- Sprouted whole onions
- Onion bottoms
- Seeds from onions that have flowered
- Spring onions
- onion sets
- Plastic bottle and sharp knife
- Place whole spring onions in a glass of water. They will sprout. Cut off the green tops and more will grow.
- Place a whole sprouted onion in a soil. You’ll get sprouted tops for salads that will regrow.
- Cut wholes in a soda bottle. Add soil and place shallots in the whole area. They will sprout green tips.
- Place a whole onion in a glass of water. It will sprout and grow leafy tops
- Place seed onions in large pots of soil, they will grow whole onions.
- Place large scallions in a bowl of water over pebbles. They will continue growing leafy tops.
- Plant onion sets in soil. You’ll get tops in about 30 days and whole onions in 3-6 months.
- Collect onion seeds and use them to grow onions. (spring onions are best for doing this indoors)
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Growing Onion in Containers:
The following Information is all about Growing Onion in Containers.
Introduction To Growing Onions
the onion is also known as bulb onion or common onion. Onions are more widely cultivated vegetable. Onions are perennial, annual plant and harvested in its first growing season. The onion plant has hollow, bluish leaves with a bulb at the base of the plant, bulb swell day by day. The onion bulbs are compressed with stems surrounded with leaves that envelop a central bud at the tip of the stem. Onions have white-purplish flowers with many small buds. When the onion gets ready for harvesting, the foliage dies down and the outer layer of onion bulb gets dry and brittle. After harvesting the onions are dried and used for cooking. The onions have yellowish- to bluish green color and they grow alternately. The leaves die back in autumn and spring, the crop is generally harvested in autumn, if not harvested and left in the soil over winter, the growing point in the middle of the bulb begins to develop with new leaves in the spring. The plant generally grows up to 15 to 45 cm, the size of the bulb varies from 2-3 mm from 8-10 mm depending on the varieties.
Onion is one of the best container grown vegetable, and many varieties of onions are available, and all types of onions thrive under the same growing conditions.
- Scientific Name for Onions: Allium cepa.
- Family: Onions belong to the family of Amaryllidaceae.
- Common Names: Onions, Red onions, etc.
Varieties of Onions for Growing Onion in Containers:
Onions come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of the popular cultivars are Red, White, yellow, and Spanish onions.
- Yellow or brown Onions: These onions full-flavored and are the best choice for everyday use.
- Red Onions: These are also called purple onions and are the best choice for fresh use.
- White Onions: These are traditional onions used in Mexican dishes.
Onions are consumed at all immature stages; Large and mature onions are most eaten. Young plants are harvested before the buds appear and are called spring onions or green onions. The young bulbs before maturing are called as summer onions. Select the desired variety that suits your growing environment, check with the local growers to select the suitable variety.
the daily requirements of onions are classified into short-day and long day. Depending on their growing conditions, some onions required a short day, and some prefer long day.
- Short-day onions need 10-12 hours of daylight in the summer to form onion bulbs. These are suitable for the warm climate; Short-day onions are suitable for southern parts of the country.
- And long-day onions take 14-15 hours of sunlight in the summer to form onion bulbs. And long-day is suitable for the northern part of the country.
- Intermediate varieties of onions: these onions need 12-14 hours of sunlight, they grow in neutral-day temperatures. Grown in the middle parts of the
- All varieties of onions are suitable for growing in containers in both outdoors and indoors. Onions are easily grown in indoor under a grow light with timers. Green onion is the most suitable variety for container gardening.
Suitable Container’s for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Onion grows under the soil, so for growing onion in the container, depth of the container plays a major role.
- Each onion plant required minimum 4-5 inches of space to grow.
- The container should be capable of holding a minimum 4-5 gallon of potting soil.
- The ideal size of the container should be 10-14 inches depth and 8-10 inches in diameter.
- Select some large plastic container or planter boxes with a good draining system. Each container should have a minimum of 2 to 3 drain holes.
- Some people use wide plastic tubs to grow onions, even grown in grow bags or some use plastic buckets, wooden boxes or water tins. Prepare them with 2 to 3 drain holes.
The Best Season for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Onion is a cool season crop, so it should be planted in cool seasons.
- Ideal season to grow onion in containers is a few weeks before the last frost date of the season. And these onions can be harvested in early summers.
- Onions grow well in USDA zone 5 to 9.
A Suitable Location for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Onion plants love sunlight, it grows well in bright light.
- Sunlight requirement depends on the variety of onion you choose to grow, some need direct and sun grows in partial shade. If growing from onions from seeds, check requirement on the seed cover. If growing from sets, check with a local grower to know about plants sunlight requirements.
- Place the onion containers in a location where it receives 5 to 6 hours of direct sun per day.
- Location for your container can be patios, balconies, terrace gardens, back yards, front yards, and outdoor gardens.
- If growing onions indoors, onion seeds need the cool temperature to germinate and high temperatures for bulb formation. So, by the time the plant starts forming bulbs move the container to outdoor or place them near a windowsill where it can get 6-7 hours of direct sun.
Read: Growing Chillies In Pots.
Soil Requirement for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Onion thrives well in Loamy, well-drained, fertile soils. And the pH level of the soil should be between 6.0 to 7.5.
- Onion plants do best with good quality potting soils, instead of gardening soil. Select the potting soil rich in organic matter and slightly alkaline. Select the potting soil that has equal quantities of peat and vermiculite or perlite.
- Enrich the potting soil with compost or slow release organic fertilizer for a good start of the onion plant.
- Onions are the heavy feeder, soil should be enriched with nutrients throughout the growing season.
Propagating Methods for Growing Onion in Containers:
Onions are propagated from seeds, sets or onion transplants. People living in long and warm growing seasons, propagate onions in containers from seeds. Onion plants from seeds take 8 to 9 months for harvesting. An Ideal method for propagating onions is through onion sets or transplants. Growing onions from transplants have a very short growing period and onion can be collected in a short notice, but propagating onions from sets in highly recommended as they are less prone to diseases.
Growing Onion in Containers from Seeds:
- Select good quality seed from a reputed nursery or garden stores. The growing requirement of the onion should match our climatic conditions. Choose the seeds reading labeled requirements on the seeds covers or consult local grower on selecting seeds.
- Use seed starting mix and seedling tray or small containers for planting seeds. Fill the pre-moisten seed start mix in the desired container and sow the seeds ½ deep and cover the soil loosely. And cover the seeds with a plastic cover or humidity dome and place seeds in a cool dry location
- The ideal temperature for onion seed germination should be ranging from 21°C to 24°C.
- Once the seeds sprout, remove the cover and place container in a cool location with bright light
- Keep the moisture levels of the soil constantly. Feed the seeds with fish emulsion or compost tea every two weeks.
- And the onion seeds take 3 to 4 months to mature.
- And transplant the seedling to the desired container in the outdoors when they are about 3-4 inches height.
- The Seedling should be hardened off before transplanting into outdoor. Hardening Off is the process of making seedling adaptable to outdoor climates gradually. Expose seedling gradually to direct sun, cool nights, and to fewer water frequencies. Hardening off should be done in a sheltered location for a few hours on the day one and increases the exposure day by day.
Growing Onion in Containers from Transplants:
- Sowing seeds and then transplanting seedlings is a time taking process. Instead of sowing seeds and growing transplants, buy the transplants from nurseries and plant them in desired containers.
- Growing onions from transplants have very less harvesting period than from seeds.
- Buy the transplants from a reputed supplier and transplants should be firm and dry to the touch.
- Transplants should be planted 4 weeks before the last frost date.
- Fill the desired container with potting mix, enriched with compost or slow release fertilizer. And maintain soil temperature at 12 to 13°C before planting.
- Plant the transplants 2 to 3 inches deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. Water the plant and place them in sunlight for 5 to 6 hours per day.
- Maintain constant moisture levels and once the plant gets firm, add some organic mulch like dried leaves or straw to control weeds and retain moisture in the soil.
- Use watering cans with a fine hose and water only at the base of the plant.
- Overhead watering makes foliage wet and leads to fungal diseases.
- Onions propagated from transplants take 5 to 6 weeks to produce onions.
Propagation for Growing Onion in Containers from Sets or Bulbs:
- Onions can be easily grown from seeds and transplants, but growing onions from sets or bulbs are very easy and diseases resistant. Onion bulbs or sets come in many varieties, but they are sold by color not the variety. Choose the desired bulbs or sets based on color. These are available in all nurseries and garden centers or farmer stores.
- The Ideal time to plant the onions, bulbs or sets in early spring or in autumn.
- Fill the desired container with a good quality potting mix, enriched with slow release organic fertilizer or compost. Slightly wet the moist the potting soil, before filling it into the containers.
- Leave a ½ inch space between the rim of the container and the surface of the soil.
- Push the bulbs about 1 inch deep into the soil with points facing upward. Maintain 2-inch space between each bulb.
- Water the onion bulb and place them in sunlight for 6 to 7 hours per day. Check the moisture levels regularly as the potting soil dries out quickly.
- Once the bulbs sprout with plants and grown up to 2 inches height, place a thin layer of organic mulch to retain the moisture levels of the soil and control the weeds.
- Feed the onion bulbs after 2 to 4 weeks of planting. And feed them every two weeks. Use a balanced organic liquid fertilizer in a ratio (8:8: 8 or 10:10:10). Mix the fertilizer with water in a ratio of 2 teaspoons of fertilizer for one gallon of water.
Watering Requirements for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Onion growing in containers needs more water, as the potting soil dries out quickly.
- If you are using ceramic container, onions grown in these pots need more water frequencies.
- Soil should be kept moist constant, as soon as it dries out, water it through till water floods out of the draining holes.
- Water when the topsoil up to 2 inches deep dry. Water the plants checking moisture levels.
- Onion plants propagated from transplants need water than the plants propagated from sets.
- Water the soil with a hose and nozzle, drip irrigation or soaker hoses to keep the soil moist constantly.
- Mulching is compulsory to retain the moisture levels in the soil.
Fertilizing for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Onions are good feeders; fertilizing levels can be reduced if using a nutrient-rich potting mix.
- During the growing seasons, onions should be fertilized with balance organic liquid fertilizers every two weeks.
- Fish emulsion or compost tea should be used occasionally, this helps the growth of healthy leaves.
- Don’t use a fertilizer with high nitrogen levels, high nitrogen levels can produce poor onion bulbs.
- Too much fertilizer will burn the root and makes leaves yellow.
Pests and Diseases in Growing Onion in Containers:
- Common pests that attack onion plants are thrips and onion maggots. Thrips mainly attacked during hot and dry weather. Spreading an aluminum foil as mulch can control thrips.
- These common pests can be treated with mild insecticide soap spray or Neem oil spray.
- Onion bulbs can be attacked by adult flies, placing a thin layer of sand around the onion bulbs can control adult flies.
- Diseases that attack onion are smut, downy mildew, and pink root due to fungal infections.
- Using organic fungicides can control all fungal diseases.
- Using a good quality potting soil and health onion bulbs can control fungal diseases.
Read: Frequently Asked Questions About Plant Diseases.
Harvesting Methods of Growing Onion in Containers:
- Harvesting Onion Bulbs: when the tops turn yellow and start to fall, it indicates that onion bulbs begin to ripen. At that time, bend the top down to fasten the ripening process. Once the tops turn completely brown pick up the onion bulbs.
- Harvesting green onions: pick up the green tops, when the top reaches up to 6 to 8 inches for green onions. Green onion is also called spring onions and they have a great taste when they are young and tender.
- After harvesting, pull up the onions and leaves, dry them for a couple of weeks.
- Store them in a cool and dry place, fresh onion has good taste and onion can store more than a year in room temperature.
Tips for Growing Onion in Containers:
- Cover the onion plants with a floating row cover cloth to protect the plants from pests.
- The size of the mature onion depends upon the healthy greens, more the healthy leaves more the quality of the onions.
- Onion plants are heavy feeders, feed the plants constantly with a mild liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season for the best results.
- During the rainy seasons, move the onion container to indoors or cover them up with garden cloches, plastic cover with good ventilation.
- For sweeter onions, water the plants more than normal water levels.
- Bolting in Onions: when the onion plant prematurely sends a stalk of flowers, stalks are called bolting. Onion bolting is caused when the plant is under stress. Other reasons for bolting is due to hot, dry weather of summer. As soon as you see onion bits, just snip the buds and then harvest and eat those onions first.
Post Harvesting Tips for Onions:
once the tops of the onion plant start to fall over, stop watering. Onion without water will start to harden. These onions are good for long-term storage.
Read: Growing Capsicum In Containers.
Read: Hydroponic Farming.
The right amount of moisture is key in your onion patch. When watering your onions, there is a fine line that must not be crossed when it comes to the amount of water your onions need. Onion plants require adequate water to produce high yields, but it doesn’t take much over watering for your onions to become diseased and rot in the ground. There are several methods to watering your onions including furrow irrigation, drip tape, and overhead watering. We prefer furrow and drip tape irrigation systems as overhead watering can promote the spread of disease in your onion crop.
You will want to water occasionally but thoroughly, applying about one inch of water each time. We recommend using the “knuckle rule” to tell when it’s time to water. Stick your finger into the ground near the plants; if you can’t feel moisture up to your first knuckle, it’s time to water. In a typical 12 week growing season, we recommend irrigating with one inch of water once or twice a week depending on the amount of rainfall received.
The furrow irrigation method encompasses “flooding the beds” in the furrows and allowing the plants to soak up water slowly and thoroughly. As a general rule, when the top of the bed is totally darkened by moisture, you have provided enough water to your onions. Furrow irrigation is the main method of watering used on our farm. Check out our video below to learn more about furrow irrigation.
Some onion growers use a drip tape irrigation system to water their onions co nsistently and uniformly. Drip tape is a series of punctured tapes buried in the ground that deliver water directly to the plants’ roots. This helps avoid fungal diseases caused by overhead watering. For those of you interested in using a drip tape system, be sure it’s designed and deployed properly to water your onions evenly. Uneven watering can result in decreased yields. Areas that are too wet will promote leaching and disease.
Install drip tape down the center of your onion beds between the rows of onions at a depth of 3-4 inches (emitter space should be at least 12 inches). With drip tape, you will still follow the “knuckle rule” to know when it’s time to water.
Here’s a video on watering your onions.
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How to plant onions in order to harvest a basket of big beautiful onions. This post tells you when and how to plant onions in your garden.
Onions are a cool-season crop and can be planted as soon as the soil is workable; as early as 4 weeks before the first frost free days. In Manitoba, our average first frost free date is May 24, so onions could go in around April 20th if the soil is ready. Even if the green tops start poking out, onions can take frost or even a layer of snow.
Did you know that onions are photothermoperiodic? Cool word, but what does it have to do with planting onions? It means onions are sensitive to light and temperature. Which in turn means, in order to grow nice big onion bulbs, you need to make sure your onions get enough hours of daylight. If you’ve ever planted onions and wondered why you’re bulbs were so tiny – not enough daylight is likely the main culprit. Remember the longest day of the year is June 21 and daylight time decreases after that, getting onions in as soon as the soil can be worked and overnight temps are higher than -6°C (20°F) takes advantage of those long days.
Long-day onions (white, yellow or red cooking onions) – the kind we grow here in Manitoba – need about 13 to 16 hours of light daily during bulb formation (early May to July).
How to Get Bigger Onion Bulbs:
- Ensure they aren’t shaded, onions need the maximum number of hours of daylight to grow big bulbs.
- Provide adequate space between onion bulbs, 3-4 inches (even though the bag may say 1 inch, as mine did).
- Remove weeds that may compete for light and/or moisture.
- Ensure sufficient moisture during bulb formation especially – onions won’t look like they need water (ie they won’t wilt), but they do!
- Plant early enough in the season to ensure onions will get enough hours of daylight.
- Plant the right variety for your area – long-day (north), intermediate-day (central) and short-day (south). Buy local!
- Loosen the soil so the soil is not too compact for the bulb to grow.
How to Plant Onions
It is easiest to grow onions from onion”sets” – immature onion bulbs. If you prefer to start from onion seeds, they must be started in doors very early in the year. One little onion set will grow into one big onion, so plant as many as you want to harvest. Put the onion with the root side down and the pointy side up in the soil.
When to Plant: Early, 4 weeks before last frost free day (end of April to mid-May in Winnipeg) – when soil is workable
Days to Maturity:75-110 days depending on variety, green onion tops can be harvested within 3 weeks
Where to Plant: Full sun is best in well drained, fertile soil
How to Plant Onions: With pointy tip up, place sets in soil and cover with 1″ (2.5 cm) of soil. Don’t go too deep!
Spacing Between Sets:space 3-4″ (8 cm) apart so each bulb has plenty of space to grow
Spacing Between Rows: space rows;12-16″ (30-40 cm) apart
Depth of Seed: 1″ (2.5 cm) deep
Companion Seeding: Seed onions next to cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, celery, carrots, beets, peppers, spinach, parsnips, strawberries. I like planting onions next to my carrots with the hope that the onions keep carrot flies away – I’ve never had them, so I keep this partnership alive!
NON- Companions: Avoid planting onions next to beans, peas, sage and asparagus
Here are some random photos of onions growing in our garden.
By end of July onions are flopped over and ready to harvest. You’ll want to read the following:
How to Harvest and Cure Onions
How to Store Onions
How to Dehydrate Onions
How to Freeze Onions
Here are a few other How To’s to get your gardening going:
How to Plant Corn
How to Plant Leeks
How to Plant Carrots
How to Plant Peas
How to Plant Garlic
Top 5 Herbs for Your Garden
Grow Your Own Seasoning Blend
Grow Your Own Herbal Teas
When to Plant Different Vegetables
Need help planning or getting your vegetable garden going? Get Getty to help you figure things out. Getty Stewart is a freelance Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and avid veggie gardener. She loves growing food and has been doing so forever. Need a workshop or a little one-on-one, Get Getty!