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Lawn & Garden

Choosing the Right Onion for Your Garden

Soil preparation for the garden has to start February 1st. If you do not plan ahead then your plants will be struggling while your soil is trying to play catch-up.

The great thing about my job here as a writer for community is that no matter how much you might know, however much you think you have mastered your field of expertise, research always shows us that we don’t know Jack! That’s right, there is always more to know. This was once again taught to me when I was reading on onions so I thought it might be good to share. You will find the right onion for your region with the Bonnie Vegetables in your local Home Depot garden center.


There are three types of onions you could plant in your garden and day length is what really set them apart. Long-day onions need 14 to 15 hours of sun each day, therefore these typically grow up north where summer day length is longer than in the south. Short-day onions are better for the south, as they need 10 hours of sun each day. Day-neutral onions are adaptable and will grow well in most regions in the United States. Although onions are cool season crops that grow best in climates where temperatures don’t drop below 20 degrees, they produce in 75 to 110 days, therefore can grow everywhere. Check here for your last spring frost date and to see how many growing days there are in your area.


Short-day onions

  • Require 10 or more hours of daylight per day
  • Do best in zones 7 or warmer
  • Can be planted up north but produces smaller fruit due to the 75 day maturity
  • Matures in 110 days in the south
  • In zones 7 or warmer, plant in fall and harvest in late spring
  • Popular cultivars include Georgia Sweet, Sweet Red, Texas Sweet White, Texas Super Sweet, Red Creole, Red Burgundy, Yellow Garnex (Vidalia), Yellow Bermuda, Red Garnex

Long-day onions

  • Need 15 hours of sun each day
  • Do best in zones 6 and cooler
  • Plant in late winter, early spring when temps are above 20 degrees
  • Harvest in mid to late summer
  • Matures in 90 to 110 days
  • Popular cultivars include Walla Walla Sweet, White Sweet Spanish, Yellow Sweet Spanish, Hybrid Copra, Red Wing


Day-neutral onions

  • Need 12 to 14 hours of sun each day
  • Does well all over the U.S. except South Florida and Southern Texas
  • Plant in fall in mild southern climates and early spring in northern climates
  • Matures in 110 days
  • Popular cultivars include Candy Onion, Sierra Blanca, Cabernet, Expression, Great Western

Onions grow best on raised beds with loose, well-drained soil. Onions are heavy feeders that prefer a Nitrogen rich soil. Keep your onions hydrated, being sure that they are getting 1 inch of water per week. Peat moss is a good amendment, as it holds nitrogen well. If you are going to start your onions from seeds then start them indoors 6 weeks ahead of planting. If you are planting onion sets then plant them 1 inch in the ground in a row 5 to 6 inches apart with 12 inches between rows. As the onion starts to grow, the bulb will start to stick up out of the soil. When this happens do not put dirt back over this and stop fertilizing.


Ferry-Morse Sweet Spanish Yellow Utah Jumbo Onion SeedFerry-Morse Evergreen Bunching Onion Seed

When the onion starts maturing, the top will become yellow and begin to fall over. At this time you will want to loosen the soil to help it dry for a few days. Once the tops of the onion are brown then it is time to pull them out of the ground. Experienced farmers will stomp the top of the onion while it is still in the ground to expedite ripening but I would probably just wait an extra day, as to not bruise or hurt the onion. Be sure to harvest in late summer before the cool weather comes. Allow onions to dry for several weeks before storing them. When storing them, make sure they are off the ground, on a screen, in a dry place that is 40 to 50 degrees with the stems broken off.





Other Related Articles:

Bugs and Insects of the Vegetable Garden

How to Grow Vegetable Library

Using annual ryegrass as a cover crop for your garden

Difference Between Hybrid, GMO and Heirloom Vegetables

Amending Different Soil Types

12 Vegetables to Plant this winter

Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors

What is Lime and Why is it Important

Pollination problems with cantaloupe, cucumber, pumpkin, squash and watermelon

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2016-02-21T17:45:13+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL

Greeting Ingar, 

I am with you!  From my years and years of experience the one thing that I know for certain is that, I don’t know it all!!


Thank you for the great series of articles and tips on planting and growing vegetable and keeping GMOs on everyone’s mind.


Your knowledge is forever expanding and is limitless; sharing all that you have learned and teaching the benefits of organic gardening helps us all, well done!    Maureen


Posted 2016-02-23T13:08:17+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question