Onions From Seed

Late last year I saw a video from Gary Pilarchik on starting onions from seeds. Gary is a great gardener with plenty of videos on how to do stuff. Go to his YouTube channel or blog.

Growing onions seemed very simple, and so last November I followed his directions. It is almost fool-proof really – just keep the soil wet and let them grow. I wasn’t sure if November was the best time to do this, but I wanted to try it.

The tray I seeded was some bunching onions (scallions) and just kept them in the greenhouse. When it got a little cold, I brought them inside. I definitely did not baby them at all. I just kept them watered. I thought maybe I would transplant them out in January or February, but it was just too cold and I was doing a lot of other things. I was finally to transplant them this past weekend into a little wrap-around bed I build around my garden fence.


This is the full bed, built from landscaping timber. The plan is to fill it mostly with herbs and flowers, but I decided to plant spring snap peas in the back, close to the fence and try to trellis them up that fence. I needed a place for these onions, so in they went! When summer hits, the herbs and flowers will fill it.


In the picture below, you can see the really extensive roots that the onions developed. I was actually very surprised at how long they were! After reviewing the video, I don’t think my transplanting techniques was as good as it could be. I should have used my finger to get a deeper hole to bury the roots, which makes sense. I loosened the soil and made a little hole, but don’t think it was deep enough. It was wider and shallower. I think the onions will be ok, but I will pay more attention to that detail next time.


Below are some onions I started at the end of January and mid-February. They are growing ok, but some of the pots are a little sparse or even empty. I forgot the exact details on the seeding, so I just put about 5-6 seeds per pot. After going back to review the video, for this size, I could have probably seeded 20 or more seeds. I added vermiculite like I normally do for my soil blocks, but I didn’t have to do that. Next time I will just seed and mix to bury them a bit.


Also, my timing was a bit off. The January seeds probably will not be ready for transplant until the beginning of April. The February seeds will go down the end of April. This is why I bought some onion sets and planted them in the garden.

My big concern for these onions, though, is April is past the recommended planting time. It may be ok. I may just harvest them early as scallions. I’m not sure, but I do know I will find out. Next year I will probably start a lot of onions around Christmas time! It really is a cheap and easy way to grow so essential a vegetable as onions.



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