Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to Grow Onions Successfully

Bulbs from the onion family have been used for millennia. Onion remains have been uncovered, dating back as far as 5000 BC. We just don't know if they were actually cultivated or simply gathered. Christopher Columbus introduced it to the Americas during his exploration. It is also recorded that they were planted as soon as the Pilgrim Fathers could clear the land in 1648.

In the early 1600s, onions were used and prescribed by doctors to help with infertility in women. Now they are seen with many health benefits, including improving circulation, good cholesterol, and reducing inflammation.
Planting and Growing:
There are a few ways to plant an onion. The most common is to plant from what is called a set. A set is a onion that was planted the year before from seed and grown very close together. They are harvested when the bulb is the size of a quarter. This is an easy method, but definitely not the best, because onions are biannual and bolt, or produce seed in their second year. The set is a year old, so typically they will use their energy to produce seed resulting in small onions.

To produce large, sweet tasting onions it is best to sow seed directly outdoors or from transplants. Transplants can be purchased at a local nursery or they can be started indoors from seed. Start seeds indoors 8 weeks before last frost and transplant when they are about the size of a pencil. They can be transplanted as soon as soils can be worked, about 6 to 4 weeks before the last frost date.

For a more complete guide to successfully growing onions visit our website.

Happy Gardening!

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