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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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