Look in a garden catalogue and you will find all kinds of onion varieties. But if you’re only getting started, all you must decide is if you want green onions (also called scallions or bunching onions) or the conventional bigger onions, which are sliced for cooking, sandwiches and salads, and should you prefer yellow, white or red varieties.
To get green onions, you can harvest any onion variety ancient, grow them from little onions known as “sets,” rather than seeds (which don’t to mature to a large size) or grow a “green” or bunching variety.
You’ll also have to find out which varieties will grow in which you live. It is not climate as far as latitude and day length that influence their growth. Your very best option is to check with your cooperative extension or even a local nursery for recommendations for the top onions to grow in your town.
As a general guideline, long-day varieties do best in northern latitudes, and short-day varieties succeed in southern latitudes. Intermediate varieties can grow well in many regions.
Shallots, which combine the taste of onions with garlic, are grown the same as onions. Also, onions do fine in containers, which is very good to learn whether you’re short on gardening space.
More: The way to grow cool-season vegetables
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When to plant: Approximately a month to a month and a half before the last frost date, when the soil temperature is above freezing (and rather approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit). In mild-winter climates, you can plant in autumn for a spring harvest.
Days to maturity: 60 to 160
moderate requirement: Total sun, though onions may manage light color
Water requirement: Frequent
Long-day: Ailsa Craig, Early Yellow Globe, Ebenezer, Red Delicious, Redwing, Snow White Hybrid, Southport Globe, Sweet Spanish, Walla Walla Sweet, White White
Intermediate Day: California Early, Chocolate, Early Red Burger, Long Yellow Sweet Spanish, Stockton varieties, Superstar, Valencia
Short afternoon: Bermuda, Crystal Wax, Granex, Grano, Red Creole, Savannah Sweet, Southern Belle Red, Vidalia
Bunching: Evergreen Long White, Parade, Santa Clause, White Lisbon, White Spear
Shallots: Ambition, Dutch Yellow, Jermar, Jersey, French Red, Gray (regarded as the best), Prisma, Pikant, Polka, Red Sun
Planting and care: For best outcomes for big, mature onions, grow from seeds or place out nursery plants. You might even grow from sets but these can bolt or flower before the onions fully mature. If you do want to grow from sets, start looking for the smallest bulbs possible.
Cultivate the soil before planting and work in alterations along with a fertilizer. If you’re planting in rows, make them 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart.
Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1/2 inch apart. Lean to about an inch apart for scallions and 3 to 4 inches apart from bulbs. Set nursery plants therefore the bulb shirts are about 1 1/2 inches deep and 4 inches apart. Plant scallion sets about 1 to 2 inches apart and 1 to 2 inches deep. For bigger bulbs, plant 3 to 4 inches apart and only deep enough that their pointed ends are at surface level.
Shallots must be set with the things around a half inch below the surface of the soil and 4 to 8 inches apart, with rows 2 to 4 feet apart.
Keep the soil moist and eliminate weeds, taking care not to injure the onion bulbs, which are near the surface. Issues are few, however thrips, wireworms and downy mildew might be problematic.
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Harvest: Pull green onions up the moment they reach a size that is usable.
For big or mature onions, you want to make preparations prior to the true harvest. When the foliage of roughly half of each of the onions you’ve implanted has yellowed and dried, push all of the foliage down to the ground. The onions will be ready to harvest around three weeks later, although you can leave them in the floor until you want to utilize them. Cut off any flower stalks which form.
As soon as you’ve chosen the bulbs, then place them out on newspaper in a dry, shaded spot a couple of days (to get short-day onions) to up to 3 weeks. Then carefully clean off any dirt and eliminate almost all of the stalks and roots and store in a dark, cool indoor space. Yellow onions generally are the very best for storage.
Harvest shallots once the shoots turn yellow and have expired. Separate the bulbs and let them dry for about a month in a cool, dry, shaded space. They’ll keep for about eight weeks.
More: How to Grow Cool-Season Vegetables