the skinny on growing beautiful onions.

the skinny on growing beautiful onions.

Onions. A staple in the home that cooks. I think we use onions in at least one meal a day most of the time. 

We are located in Zone 6a/b, just right on the cusp. Don't get too hung up on A or B. You will deal with microclimates and garden placement issues and the list could go on and on. So for this, we are in Zone 6. 

We have a full 4 seasons here in Missouri, mostly a love/ hate relationship. 

Its imperative to pick onions that have the best change at growing for your zone! Long day or short day! 

Onions love soil that has decent drainage. Actually in my experience its crucial for good size bulbs. This is why I only grow onions in raised beds. 

Onions like a good 6.5 pH soil, and really this is the sweet spot for most crops because it supports the best nutrient uptake. Read that again. 

Spacing is another biggie. Onions do need space to round out. Think about it, you put your sets in the ground- or if you are even more skilled than I am, you put your started seeds in the ground come March-ish, and they are tiny! Space those babies out at least 6 inches apart from one another and leave about a foot in between each row. This gives them the space they need to bulb out. 

Onions are the best when it comes to water uptake, so make sure you don't let the beds totally dry out, but don't over saturate them either. Got it? Good. 

The thing about onions is this- They can be eaten at really any stage of growth for the most part. So even if you harvest a not so beautiful round onion, your efforts aren't wasted fully. 

 For full-sized bulbs, let onions grow and mature for about 4-5 months. They are ready to harvest when the bulbs are big and the tops begin to turn yellow and fall over. You can also do the stepping technique if you are needing to speed up harvest. 

After harvesting, wipe them off and store them in a sunny, breezy place if you can- but out of the rain. This is going to start the curing process for best storage! 

After about 10 days, the tops that were green when you pulled them from the bed have started to shrivel up and you can go ahead and trim those off, along with any roots still attached. Try your best to keep the skin layers on for the best storage potential. 

Keep an eye on your harvest and those varieties that might not have a long shelf life, cook with first or go ahead and start dehydrating them. You can keep some in a fridge as they await the stovetop, but as a rule of thumb onions want to be stored in a cool, dark place with the skins intact. 

As with everything in the garden, you don't know if you don't try! Cheers and happy growing. 

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