How to grow and care for onions

 How to grow and care for onions

 The common onion (Allium cepa) is a biennial bulb closely related to garlic (A. sativum), shallots (A. ascalonicum), and chives (A. schoenoprasum). Onions have hollow, blue-green leaves that emerge from the bulb, which is actually a modified multi-layered leaf arrangement. A shallow network of roots extends from the bottom of the bulb, and the bulb can grow partially above the ground as the plant grows.

 Onions should be planted in the spring and their growth rate is moderate. They can be planted from seeds, transplants (seedlings have germinated), or seedlings (small onion bulbs start their second and last year of growth). Be aware that onions are poisonous to pets due to their chemical composition, so be careful where you plant them.

How to Plant Onions

Plant onions in the spring, when the soil thaws and the temperature remains above 28 degrees Fahrenheit. A sunny location with loose soil and a neutral pH is best. Leave at least six inches between each plant, spacing the rows of onions about a foot apart to allow mature plants to spread.
Onion seeds are usually planted indoors about six weeks before the outside soil temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are starting with seeds, plant them outside when the soil temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
It will be possible to plant in autumn and warm weather. Onions will remain dormant during the winter and continue to growing in the spring

Selecting a planting site

 Choose a sunny location with loose soil. Compacted soil or rocks will inhibit bulb growth. Avoid planting near other Allium species in previous years. Pests and diseases that target crops can persist in the soil. Growing in containers is also an option if you don't have the right garden conditions. 

Spacing, depth and support
To plant onion plants, push them into the ground so that only the top is visible. Spaces are placed about 4 inches apart in rows 12 to 18 inches apart. Once the decorations are in the ground, leave them alone; do not raise the earth around them. The foundation should always come off the ground. Only plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep. Space the plants about 4 inches apart, and in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.Supportive measures will generally not be necessary.

Onion Plant Care

  • Light

Onions need full sun - at least six hours of direct sunlight per day - to grow well. And onions, the sunnier, the better.

  • Soil

The right soil is the key to making onions grow well. The soil must be well-drained, even sandy, and rich in organic matter. Empty potting soil will work well. And the soil pH moves between neutral and slightly acidic is better.

  • Water

 Onions need constant water to support the swelling of the bulbs. Give them 1 inch of water per week. But don't allow too much water or allow the bulb to sit on hot soil, as this can cause the bulb to rot. A layer of mulch can help retain moisture.

  • Temperature and humidity

Onion seeds need temperatures of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. The best temperature for onions is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Water is not a problem as long as the soil's water needs are met.

  • Fertilizer

Onions are beautiful and heavy to eat. Feed them every few weeks with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to encourage leaf growth, which will produce large bulbs. To know how much to use, follow the directions on the product label. Once the soil starts to break up around the growing bulb, the leaf growth process ends and no more fertilizer is needed.

  • Pollination

Many gardeners grow their onions as annual crops and harvest them before the flowering plants appear. Bees and other insects, as well as the wind, serve to pollinate onion flowers.  

  • Types of onions

Onion plants or transplants purchased from a local garden center will usually be suitable for your climate. But when you're shopping for order seeds, make sure you choose a variety for your climate.

 There are three types of onions you can choose from:

You may also read:10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF ONION

Short day onions 

Short day onion will begin to form bulbs when there are 10 to 12 hours of light each day. They work best in southern regions where summer daylight is short. Some short day onions include 'Southern Belle', 'White Bermuda', 'Granex' and 'Cipollini'. 

Long-day onions

Long day onions begin to develop bulbs when the light is 14 to 16 hours per day. They are good for mountain climates where summer days are long. Some recommended long day onions include 'Walla Walla', 'Ring Master', 'Red Zeppelin', 'Yellow Sweet Spanish', 'Italian Red Torpedo' and 'Redwing'.

Day-neutral onions 

Day neutral onions begin to develop bulbs when they receive 12 to 14 hours of light each day. They are suitable for gardeners in the central United States, but will produce well in many areas. Good varieties include 'Red Apostle', 'Early Yellow Globe', 'Cabernet' and 'Superstar.

Onion versus garlic
Onions and garlic are in the same family that produce edible bulbs. In addition, they require similar growing conditions, especially loose, nutrient-rich soil. However, garlic bulbs usually grow smaller than onions. A bulb of garlic is also a very densely packed clove, while an onion has many leaves in shape. 

Harvesting onions
The time it takes for the bulbs to mature depends on the variety and whether they come from seeds or plants. But you can bring onions at any time; Even thinned seedlings from the same row can be used as green onions.
Onion bulbs are fully mature when about half of the leaves on the top fall off and the skin of the bulb feels like a leaf. Bulbs that remain in the ground until 50 percent or more of the green top has fallen will last longer. It is best to harvest in dry weather.

 Once you see that half of the leaves have fallen, gently bring the remaining leaves without damaging them to the bulb. Then leave the bulb on the ground and harden for a few days. Next, dig the bulb instead of pulling it. You don't need to dig deep, just to loosen the remaining roots. Brush off any loose soil and cut the leaves about 1 to 2 inches from the bulb. Also cutting the roots. 

You can use fresh cut onions at any time and store them in the refrigerator right after they are cut. To preserve the rest of your harvest, place the onions outside in a warm, dry place for a few days to dry. Then hang them in a mesh bag in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. The temperature should be around 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, do not store them in the refrigerator because it is very humid.

How to grow onions in pots
If the soil in your garden is very limited or you don't have the right lighting conditions, growing in pots can be a good option for onions. Choose a bag that is about a foot deep. You can plant several onions in one container as long as they have about six inches of space on each side. It is also important that the pot has drainage holes. Unglazed clay is a good material that allows the soil's moisture to flow through its walls.

Onions generally do not require pruning. However, be sure to remove any damaged leaves quickly. If left lying around on the ground, they can introduce disease or pests to the plant.

In addition to growing from seeds and seedlings, you can also propagate onions from scraps. This is a great way to expand your harvest and get the best of what would otherwise be free. The best time to start this process is early spring. 

This is how:

  Cut about eight inches off the bottom of a fresh onion and remove the top skin.

Place the cut side on a dry surface to dry for a day. Place the bottom part (root) in a container filled with water without soil. Cover the top with a little soil. Keep the bag in a warm place with bright light.

 Keep the soil moist but not cold. In about two weeks, you will begin to see green leaves emerging from the soil. Roots will develop at the same time. Once the leaves are several inches long and feel resistant when you gently pull them, you will know that the roots have grown enough to be transplanted.
How to grow onions from seeds

If you are growing onions from seed, plant them indoors in trays filled with seed mix at least six weeks and up to 12 weeks before planting time outside. Place the tray under artificial grow light for 10 to 12 hours per day. Keep the bottom of the pot moist but not soggy. When the temperature outside is consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, transplant the plant into the garden.

Planting and repotting onions
Use a well-drained, well-drained soil to plant onions. You can mix in compost to improve drainage and nutrient content. In addition, because it is best to choose a container that can accommodate the size of the grown onions, moving should not be necessary during the flowering period.

Since onions usually grow as annuals, overwintering will not be necessary. If you are planting fall crops in warm weather, consider beds. They will help maintain a constant temperature for dormant onions during the winter.

Common pests and plant diseases
Pests and diseases that affect other Allium species can also affect onions.

 They include:
Rot: In humid conditions, onions can grow stem or bulb rot or rot. Avoid rot by ensuring there is good moisture and air. 

Splitting: Bulbs can be divided if the soil dries out while the bulbs are growing.

Thrips: These yellow-brown flying insects feed on leaves and can cause it to twist and curling. Repeated attacks cause the leaves to stop growing, so onion bulbs do not grow. Plants are resistant to different types and do not plant onions near the plant. Neem oil and insecticidal soap can provide temporary control.

 Onion root maggot: Root maggot larvae hatch from eggs laid by brown maggots at the base of onion plants. The worms enter the plants, feed on the underground plants and eventually kill the onion. Move the tree to a different place every year to prevent it from falling. Using a cover for the seeds can prevent the eggs from being laid. Diatomaceous earth can also be effective.


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