How to: Grow Onions

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How to: Grow Onions - by Benson - Swedish Design

How to: Grow Onions

Growing onions is actually easier than you might think. There are numerous varieties of onions, and their care and planting are almost the same. It's also a crop that stores well, so growing many different varieties is not only fun but can provide you with a supply that lasts well into autumn and winter. And think of all the delicious dishes you can make with onions! One of our favorites is pickling red onions, and imagine how tasty it is with homegrown ones. When you grow onions, start by selecting which varieties you want, and there are plenty to choose from. It can be beneficial to plant different varieties to have a harvest throughout the season and to create variety. After that, it's time to prepare the soil with compost and choose a sunny spot. To plant, either dig small holes or create rows in the soil about 3-5 cm deep, then place your onions with 10-15 cm spacing between them and cover them with soil. In this guide we will go over everything you need to know about growing onions.

Here's how to grow onions, step by step:

  1. Start by selecting your onion varieties.
  2. Choose a well-drained sunny spot.
  3. Prepare the soil with compost as soon as it thaws and is frost-free.
  4. Dig holes or create rows about 3-5 cm deep.
  5. Plant your onions with a spacing of about 10-15 cm, depending on the variety, and label which varieties are where. Cover with soil.
  6. Water generously until the soil is thoroughly moist.

What will you need?

Here's how you do it:

Start by deciding if you want to plant from seeds or set out ready-made bulbs; we recommend starting with ready-made bulbs as it's simply easier and eliminates the need for indoor pre-planting.
It's also time to choose the variety; most onions thrive under similar conditions, although leeks are a bit more sensitive and prefer sandy soil, so planting them separately if you want to grow other varieties can be beneficial.
Personally, I like to have red onions, yellow onions, and shallots because those are the ones I use most in my cooking.
After that, just wait until the ground has completely thawed and you're sure there's no more frost at night. You can already start thinking about where you want to plant your onions, and it's important to choose a well-drained spot with plenty of sun.
When it's warm enough outside, you can prepare your soil by removing any weeds and mixing it with compost. Onions like soil with plenty of organic material, so this step is crucial.
Once your soil is prepared, it's finally time to start planting. You do this by digging holes or creating rows about 3-5 cm deep. Then place your bulbs with a spacing of 10-15 cm, depending on the variety, and cover them with soil. Water generously so the soil is thoroughly moist but not wet.

Can I plant onions from seeds?

There is nothing stopping you from planting onions from seeds, but there are a few things you need to think about before doing so. You will have to sow the seeds quite early in the year, preferably around Valentine´s Day, and they should'nt be exposed to too much heat after the onion shoots start to appear. Otherwise, you might get onion plants with mature bulbs too early, and then you'll never get the chance to plant them outside.
Onion plants from seeds can also be a bit more sensitive to cold since they haven't had the chance to toughen up as much as ready-made bulbs, and therefore, ready-made bulbs tolerate cold a bit better.

How do I care for and water my onions?

Onions aren't particularly sensitive crops, but they don't like weeds, so keeping an eye out for those throughout the season is a good idea. You usually don't need to fertilize them any more during the season; the fertilization you did at the beginning is enough for the onions. Dont overwater your onions either, make sure the roots don't drown, but water often enough to keep the soil moist and not wet.

When should I harvest my onions?

That's a good question, and the answer to it is it depends. Harvesting time depends on whether you're going to use your onions immediately or if you plan to store them for a longer time. If you're going to eat them right away, you can harvest them when they look ready. However, if you want to store your onions, harvest them at the end of the season when the onion's flowers and leaves have completely withered.

How do I store my onions?

When you've harvested your onions, it's time to think about storage, but first, it's a good idea to let them dry a bit by placing them in a warm but not sunny place. When they're dry enough, you can store your onions in a slightly cooler, dry place. A root cellar is best for this.


Good luck!

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