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Long-day bulb onions need long
summer days to produce their
Onions are available in three forms: sets, transplants, and seeds. Sets are small bulbs that are dormant. The smaller the sets are, the better. Sets are easiest to plant, but they come in the smallest number of varieties. Transplants are usually more reliable about producing bulbs and are available in more varieties than sets. Seeds are the least expensive and offer the greatest number of varieties, but they take the longest to develop and are most prone to disease and environmental problems.
Onions need a well-prepared bed with all the lumps removed to a depth of at least 6 inches. The soil should be fertile and rich in organic matter. Bulbing onions need full sun, but green onions can be grown in partial shade. Plant transplants or sets 1 or 2 inches deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. If you're planting onions from seed, plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep and thin to 1 to 2 inches apart. If you have limited space, you can grow onions between other vegetables, such as cabbages or tomatoes.
The soil should not be allowed to dry out until the plants have started to mature, which is marked by the leaves starting to turn yellow and brown and droop over. At this point, let the soil get as dry as possible.
All varieties can be eaten as green onions, though some varieties are grown especially for their bulbs. Harvest leaves whenever you need. Harvest green onions when the bulb is not much larger than the leaves. Harvest dry onion bulbs after the leaves have dried. Lift the bulbs completely out of the soil. Dry the bulbs thoroughly before storing.
There are more kinds of onions than you can shake a stick at. If you're confused, keep reading -- in the next section, we'll talk about the different onion types.
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