How To Grow Onions From Seed
This year, I decided that I wanted to grow the majority of my onions from seed.
There were two main reasons for this decision. The first was because we eat SO many onions, and seeds are a bit more economical than onion sets. The second reason was because there are way more varieties available in seed form than in sets.
So, I sprouted over an entire flat of onions inside in late January.
To plant onions inside, you simply sow them into seed starting mix, cover with a thin layer of the mix, and cover until they have sprouted.
Once they have sprouted, remove the cover, and place in a sunny window, or under a grow light. As they grow, keep them trimmed to about 3 inches tall. This way, they will put more energy into developing the roots, and not the tops.
Begin to harden off the onion sets about a week before transplanting them into the garden. For spring onions, they can be transplanted as soon as your soil is workable in the early spring. Usually early to mid March in my area of the world. Onions are best planted in the Waning of the moon (getting smaller, rather than larger).
To transplant, use an old fork to gently separate and remove each seedling from the flat or container, and plant in a 3-4 inch deep hole.
You want the soil to come about halfway up the onion seedling. Gently press the soil down around the seedling with your fingers. Repeat this process until you have planted all your onion seedlings.
This process takes freaking FOREVER.
I wasn’t even attempting to do half of our onions this way, and it severely tried my patience. I ended up planting them in little clumps to hurry up the process!
I simply don’t have an entire afternoon to devote to planting ONE flat of onion seedlings. So, I definitely won’t be using that method again!
The other way to grow onions from seed is to sow the seed directly into the soil as soon as the ground is workable, and the moon is in the correct phase.
Simply broadcast the seeds, and cover with a thin layer of soil. Once the seeds have sprouted, thin to about 3 -4 inches apart. You can use the thinned seedlings like green onions or chives!
So, this year, the majority of our onions are being grown from seed that I sowed directly into the ground outside, plus the seedlings I sprouted inside, and a few onion sets I grabbed from the local feed and seed to use as a comparison.
We will see in the late summer which ones thrive the best and give the most bang for the buck/effort!
I also will be planting some perennial onions this fall to help reduce the amount of annual onions I have to plant each year. I am all about perennials that reduce the amount of time, effort, and money that I have to spend!
How do you like to plant your onions, and do you have a better solution to the tedium of planting tiny onion seedlings??
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