Civilization without Onions?

I have to agree with Julia Child, "It's hard to imagine civilization without onions."  In our household I cook with onions all the time.  They add amazing flavor and taste to dishes.  I discovered that onions have been grown for at least 5000 years or more. They are easy to grow, transport and like a variety of soils and climates. They provide fiber and are high in vitamin C along with other great health benefits. 
This will be the third year that we have grown onions in our garden.  However, this is the first year we have started them from seed indoors instead of buying onion sets at the garden center. We planted the seeds in flats on March 2nd then placed them under grow lights.  (Start them 9-10 weeks before your Frost Free Date). 
Yellow Sweet Spanish Onions (started from seed)
This year we chose Yellow Sweet Spanish.  They are a reliable producer and popular for their sweet flavor.  Known as a long day onion they need 15 hours or more of sunlight and are best grown in the North.  They can be used as a bunching onion which is really nothing more than a young onion planted from seed harvested 30 days after planting (also known as scallions or green onions).  They mature to a one pound globe shaped onion in 95-100 days. 

The week before planting I started by hardening off the seedlings. You can read more about this process by reading my previous post here: Hardening off Seedlings

This past Sunday it was time to plant our onion transplants! Our garden plan for this year is drawn below.  I decided to plant onions in Bed #2 & #4 this year.  I also planted lettuce in Bed #4 that same day. 

2014 Garden Layout
BED #4: Ready for Onions & Lettuce
The easiest way to get the seedlings out of the tray was to use a plastic spoon which scooped them out without destroying the plant.  I planted 9 seedlings per 12" x 12" square using the Square Foot Garden Method.  
Planting seedlings using a plastic spoon 
Seedlings planted!
BED #2:(on left) Planted with 36 Onion seedlings.
 After planting the seedlings I then cover the raised bed with row cover fabric (pictured below) to give the seedlings extra protection from insects, squirrels and frost.  
BED #4:(on right) Currently planted with 19 Garlic, 36 Onion seedlings & 42 Lettuce seedlings.
1. Keep soil consistently moist until bulbs enlarge. One inch of water per week (more for sweet onions). Keep in mind that onions will look healthy even if they are bone dry. When tops start to fall over withhold water. 

2. Cover with a layer of mulch.

3. Fertilize every few weeks with nitrogen for large bulbs. Stop when onions push soil away and bulbing process has started. 
Our harvested Onions last year (along with other veggies)
1. If an onion sends up a flower stalk cut it from the plant immediately or the bulb will be reduced. (From our pictures below you can see that this happened to us last year) That must be why our onions only grew to about 1/2" round. 

2. In May or June onions are sometimes attacked by the onion fly.  You can protect your crop with row covers.  
April 8th 2014
Next week I will plant the Parsley and 2 weeks later Carrots!

No comments:

Post a Comment