Choose Your Onion Varieties
Start Your Onions Early
Plant In Good Soil
Feed and Water Regularly
Harvest Your Onions
Forget apples - an onion a day might keep the doctor away. Onions are high in nutrients, including Vitamin C, folic acid and fiber, and research suggests the antioxidants in onions can help fight a variety of health conditions, including heart disease. As it happens, onions are also delicious and versatile. As condiments, sides or as part of main dishes, onions are part of many cooking regimes and should be a staple in your home garden. Here's how to get planting them.
Onions come in red, white and yellow, and all shapes and sizes. Sweet onions are flavorful, mild tasting and good raw in salads or cooked. However, they don't last long in storage. Storage onions will last as long as 4 months but have a more pungent taste and are best cooked. Onions can be grown from seeds, transplants, or sets. Seeds and transplants offer a wider variety, but in cold climates seeds must be started indoors before planting. Sets (small bulbs) can be planted directly in the ground but lack variety and are often simply labeled as yellow, white or red.
Sow onion seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date in spring. For a summer harvest, plant sets or transplants in the garden about 3 weeks before the last frost date. In regions with milder winters, you can plant transplants earlier in the winter for an early summer harvest.
To grow best, onions need loose, well-drained soil free of rocks and debris. Raised beds are ideal. Amend the soil with compost or other organic matter, such as Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil, before planting.
Before you enjoy your onions, feed them the nutrients they need to grow delicious and flavorful. Apply a plant food with a boost of phosphorus, such as Miracle-Gro® Quick Start® Planting & Transplant Starting Solution, at the time of planting. Follow up with a water-soluble plant food, such as Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food, every 2 weeks during the growing season. You'll want to water about once a week, but avoid flooding the onions when you do.
About 8 weeks after planting, the onion tops should be 6 to 8 inches tall and the bulb should be just starting to form. You can pick some of your onions at this point and use them as green onions. Mature onions should be ready for harvest in mid-to-late summer, when the green tops start to turn brown and fall over. Then simply pull the onions from the ground.