Onions are an easy and fun gardening crop. Onions have been used for centuries as a cure for anything from colds to arthritis.
This vegetable was worshiped by Egyptians around 3000 B.C. because its concentric circles symbolized eternity.
Onions have also been shown to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. This vegetable enjoys warm weather and plenty of nutrients and water.
Choose a section of your garden that will have at least eight hours of sunlight each day. There are many types of onions including bulb onions, scallion, pearl onions, and leek.
All types can be grown in most areas. Check with your gardening store staff or your local agricultural extension to find out which types do best in your area.
Onions can be started from seeds or from young plants called “sets.” “Sets” are young plants four to six inches tall that are ready to put into the ground.
Both seeds and “sets” can be purchased from your local gardening store or online. Onions come in a variety of sizes and can be red, purple, green, white or yellow in color.
Bulb onions can be harvested in about 100 days or whenever they are the desired size. Before planting, prepare your plot by adding a two-inch layer of compost or dried manure to the soil.
Till to a depth of about eight inches. The compost or manure will provide the nutrients for healthy growth and will also improve drainage.
You can start seeds indoors in pots before transplanting outside. Onion “sets” can be put into the ground when the soil temperature reaches about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
For onion “sets,” place plants about six inches apart.
Plant seeds a half inch deep and two inches apart when the weather is warm enough. When plants have reached six inches tall, thin to allow six inches between each. If you are growing large bulb onions allow more space for the bulb to develop.
For pencil-sized green onions, place plants about three inches apart and cover the roots well. Green onions can be harvested when the hollow green leaves are healthy looking and the plants have developed a strong root system.
Green onions do not actually form a bulb but are harvested and used when they are six to eight inches tall. Bulb onions can be stored in a mesh bag or nylon hose.
First, clean the soil from the roots and clip the tops to a length of one inch. Place stored onions in a cool, dry place that has good air circulation.
Onions are high in dietary fiber and low in calories. They contain Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and copper. Onions have been shown to lower blood pressure. You can use raw onions in salads and as a topping on sandwiches.
Onions are the main ingredient in many soups and stews. Sliced onions can be battered and deep fried to create delicious onion rings. Chopped onions can be grilled. The bulbs can also be cut into quarters and grilled or baked.
It can be fun to grow onions. Onions can be found in most gardens because they are easy to grow and their delicious flavor makes almost all recipes taste better. Onions are a good starter crop for young people just beginning to learn about gardening.