Fresh onions in spring, preserves in winter: plant onions in your vegetable patch to provide for year-round availability in the kitchen!
There are many onion varieties.
- White or fresh onions are planted in September and eaten in spring.
- Colored onions – red, pink and yellow – are harvested at the end of the summer.
- All year long, you can plant bunching onions on a windowsill, too!
They can keep up to six months in a cool and dry spot.
For areas that have a rather mild winter, you can plant onion seeds in the ground directly, forming a line.
- Cover seeds with ½ inch (1 cm) soil.
- After sprouting, thin to keep one onion every 4 inches (10 cm).
It’s also possible to plant bulbs directly, from February in mild regions to April in harsher climates.
- Vegetable patch: How to grow onions
Caring for onions
Onions can thrive in all sorts of soil, as long as they are well drained.
Downy mildew is among the main causes for losing crops.
- This can occur in summer, when strong rains follow a heat wave.
Onion maggot flies are another enemy.
- They gnaw on onion leaves on the young spring shoots.
- Alternating rows of carrots and onions helps avoid onion maggot fly invasions.
It is also possible to spray decoctions made from repellent plants such as garlic or absinthe, or set up an insect mesh to send the flies off.
- Vegetable patch: How to care for onions
Before harvesting onions for storage in August-September, cut back leaves to ensure that bulbs mature.
- After a few days, pull the onions out and let them dry in the sun for 48 hours, spreading them out on racks.
- Bring them inside for the night.
- Cut stems when dry, and keep your onions in a cool, dry place.
Health-related properties of onions
In the Alliaceae family, akin to garlic and shallot, onions are everywhere in cooking and boast many medicinal properties. With high antioxidant levels (especially for red onions), they are a source of manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
Ingesting them on a regular basis is said to protect against cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers.
Pixabay: Deniz Hoşbaş
Is it possible to make a nursery and do the transplanting in November and how long will it take to mature.
Hello, I take it you mean to start the seedlings now in August and then transplant them in November to their growing bed? If so, yes, you can do that, it has some advantages and some inconvenients though:
Advantages: it’s better to have small onions than nothing! They won’t have grown very big by November, perhaps only a half-inch or an inch across (1.5-2.5 cm). But they’re already edible and delicious. And in the ground, they’ll send roots out and have a better start in spring.
Disadvantage: that growth period followed by winter might count as “year 1” for this biennial. This means it might start to go to seed end of spring even if it isn’t so large yet. To protect against this, you’d have to make sure it never lacks water, without overwatering of course, or it’ll definitely bolt. Going to seed depletes the bulb.
Best is to start them as you ask, that way you’ll have small onions in fall, winter, and the beginning of spring which you can pick fresh from the ground, but then start a second batch in February for a regular seasonal harvest.