Onion seed is planted in January, February, and March
If you have thought of planting some of the attractive
varieties of onions offered in seed catalogs, this is how you would
With seed of course, the onions germinate very small, so for them
to have adequate time to grow, you must start them early, at least in
the northern areas. If you have cannot get your seed sown by
sometime in March at the latest, then purchase sets this year and wait
to try growing onion from seed next year.
Another necessity is seed which is quite new. Onion seed doesn't keep well for too many years.
Onions starting from seed seem pretty flexible in adapting to
different mediums to grow in. I have had pretty good luck potting
them in the compost I get from my compost pile. I do well with a
somewhat deep ordinary round pot made of plastic, and after sowing the
seed a bit short of the top of the container, I scatter a bit more
compost over the top of the seed, then cover the top with a sheet of
plastic wrap and use a rubber band to hold the wrap in place. Sow
thin. Compost has some seeds, so expect a few weeds to germinate
too, but these are not usually a bother. Expect germination to
take 10 days - in a cooler window - could be longer. The onion
seed germinations will be all stem, while weeds mostly have two
opposing leaves opening identifying them as non-onions.
About onion seed vs. plants vs. sets. Each gardener has had
experiences that differ with each way of starting. Often, onion
seed is the most economical starts. Sometimes plants and sets
after purchase price and paying shipping can almost approach in cost
the value of the mature onions, yet some obtain superior results with
plants and sets and report poor results with onions grown from
seed. Plants are sometimes called slips and sold in
bundles. Sets are usually sold by count of 100 or by the
pound. When you try starting onions each way, you will find
starts that work best for you and you will have an opinion about the
best way to start onions.
Paradise says: "I always knew fresh food was the best. I'm
just glad with decades of experience I'm getting better at it."
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