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The Basics for Planting Onion Sets
Papa's Tips for Growing Onions
As promised, Papa continues to share some of his successful gardening tips. By now, most of us know that onions also have some great health benefits so growing your own can be both rewarding and healthy.
Dr. Mercola discusses how onions, when crushed or chopped, produce allicin and it's this compound that protects against cancer and heart disease. Not only that, but they contain vitamin c, vitamin b6, manganese, and folate.
Onions can also help prevent some other diseases. What a nutritional powerhouse, right?
Apparently they also have quercetin which is helpful if you suffer from allergies. Right now, here in Virginia, we are all feeling the burst of pollen! Perhaps we should be planting onion sets and eating more onions?
You can read Dr. Mercola's article by clicking here.
We were such a lucky family! Our grandmothers lived on either side of us. What better neighbors could a kid ask for?
There was always a sympathetic ear and, of course, treats like homemade cookies, cakes and ice cream.
My grandfather had a horse at one point whose name was Camanche. Man, I tell you, I was over there all the time begging to ride that mean old horse of his.
That was part of my daily routine until Camanche threw me off. The wind got knocked out of me and then I was cured of my horse infatuation - for years. 🙂
The only interaction Camanche and I had after that was from a distance. Sometimes my grandfather would take me out on his horse-drawn cart.
I felt safe enough in that and we must have looked pretty cool right? Wow, I got off topic on memory lane there.
Back to Gardens
I can remember when we were kids and our Mom, Dad, and Grandma would be working together to start our huge garden (although my mom preferred working in the flower garden--check out this article for flower gardening gift ideas!).
We would run over, anxious to help; fighting over the tools. Then one by one, we would slowly start to fade.
It wasn't long before we realized it was hot, buggy, and dirty. Not only that, but what looked like fun was actually pretty hard work. And so, we quit and left the adults to do most of the work.
Of course, when it was time to weed and water, I think we tried hard to disappear, lest we be asked to help.
We would have to run home for "emergency" potty breaks or drinks of water and of course, we would linger as long as we could.
I don't think we were very successful in that because I remember weeding a lot.
Despite the hard work, the bugs, and the weeds, I do have fond memories of all of it.
Although I enjoyed picking and shucking corn, I think my favorite part was pulling the onions and carrots. It amazed me to see the size of the food coming up out of the dirt. It was like digging for treasure!
Directions Step-by-Step for Planting Onion Sets
- Onions grow well in loose soil so you will want to ensure you've loosened up that soil well before you plant.
- They need full exposure to the sun so plant them in a place that has that full sun.
- Buy the onion sets at your favorite greenhouse. He buys his at the local Agway store but they are also available on Amazon.
- Plant in the early spring when you won't be expecting extreme low temps. For us it would be early April but it could be earlier depending upon where you live.
- Use a hoe to dig a 6 inch furrow, which is just a long narrow trench.
- Use a string if you want to provide a nice straight line. Just use sticks or stakes and tie the string to each end to help guide the line.
- Sprinkle 1 inch line of 10-10-10 pelletized fertilizer in the furrow. (or other organic fertilizer if you prefer)
- Cover the fertilizer with a light coating of soil.
- Place the onion sets about 6 inches apart, with the top up and cover up to the top of the stem just barely above ground.
- Don't plant too deep because it may impair maximum growth.
- Weed them often and water them on a regular basis.
- They can be harvested after the stalks lay over and this is typically in the early fall.
- Be sure to dry thoroughly in the sun.
- Remove any loose soil.
- Store in a flat box or some other container but keep in a cool area that has subdued light.
- They will last at least 3-4 months this way.
- A couple may spoil now and then, just be sure to remove them if this happens.
Tools and supplies for planting onion sets:
Simple Garden Hoe like this one to loosen the soil before planting. The hoe shown below is a good, solidly constructed one.
It is made of 14 gauge steel and reinforced fiberglass. The company offers a limited lifetime warranty. This product is made in the USA.
The Onion Sets
These are just what the bulbs are called that you plant vs. planting from seed. These bulbs could be planted in a garden or easily in a raised bed planter.
I read the reviews on them and one person said they harvested about 30 pounds of onions and stored them in a cellar all winter!
Fertilizer of Your Choice
This Happy Frog organic fertilizer gets good reviews, it adds some beneficial microbes to your soil which is good, as we know from our post on green walls.
This type of fertilizer makes the food within it available on a slow and gentle fashion over time. I love that this is made in the USA. However, Papa uses a 10-10-10 fertilizer and says it works out best for his garden.
Now that you will be harvesting great onions, what will you do with them? Do you have a storage spot picked out? If you end up with 30 pounds of onions, will you donate some?
I know of one thing you can do with them. Use them in great recipes like this one: Moroccan tajine recipe
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