A beginner’s guide to growing onions
11/21/2019 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
A beginner’s guide to growing onions

Onions are versatile vegetables, and for good reason: They harbor several health benefits that range from preventing inflammation, to reducing the risk of cancer.

These vegetables are also used in a myriad of recipes, and having onions on-hand can be quite a boon for any home cook. But how can you start growing these tear-inducing vegetables?

Tips for growing onions

Before you begin planting your onion seeds or transplanting the seedlings, you need to find out which variety of onion would flourish in your location. There are three variants of onions: short, intermediate and long day.

The bulb will start to grow once the hours of sunlight in the day reach the hours of daylight required for the variety you’re planting in your garden.

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Short day onions, which are ideal for Southern gardeners, will start bulbing when the day is 10- to 12-hours long. Intermediate onions start bulbing at 12 to 14 hours, while long-day onions, which are suitable for Northern gardeners, start bulbing at 14 to 16 hours.

In the South, there is much less variation in day length between seasons compared to the North. If you plant long-day onions in the South, they may not experience enough day length to trigger the bulbing process.

Always plant your onions before the day length is reached to give it enough time to grow enough leaves before it starts bulbing. The farther north you are from the equator, the longer your day.

If you want to grow short or intermediate onion varieties, start from seeds or transplants, instead of bulb sets. Sets require very long days, and while they can produce nice green onions, you will rarely get large bulbs. Start seeds indoors in the winter and transplant for the largest bulbs, or you can plant seeds at least six weeks before the last frost date.

Onions thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. Water the ground around the onions instead of directly on the leaves to avoid disease. Onions prefer consistent moisture, but you shouldn’t saturate the soil with water regularly.

After the onions start bulbing, water the plants more. Keep your onions mulched to help them retain moisture.

The medicinal benefits of onions

Onions don’t just contain vitamins and nutrients. They also have anti-allergenic, antimicrobial, and decongestant properties.

  • Onions bulbs can prevent blood from clotting. Additionally, onions can lower blood pressure.
  • Onions can be used as a poultice on the chest that helps relieve congestion. An onion poultice can also be used for abscesses and boils.
  • Onions have a heating effect that can improve circulation and sweating, so try some onion remedies during cold and flu season.
  • Relieve a cough or sore throat by steeping crushed, raw onions in honey. Take the syrup daily until you feel better.
  • Use onion skins to make a tea that can boost poor circulation. Onion tea is recommended for people with gout.

Lastly, onions can also be used as an organic pesticide and fungicide. Puree onions with water, then spray it on your plants.

Growing onions in your garden can take a lot of time and patience, but the outcome is more than worth it. You’ll be rewarded with onions that taste and smell much better than the ones you can find at your local supermarket.

Sources:

Chestnut-sw.com

SelfReliantSchool.com

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