How to Grow Onions at Home
There is no doubt that onions are a food that cannot be missing in our kitchen. They bring flavor to our meals and are present in countless dishes and recipes. They also have many properties which are beneficial for our health. Learn how to grow onions at home in the following article.
Technical data regarding the cultivation of onions
- Onions are one of the plant species that have been cultivated for centuries. They are very versatile and beneficial for our body. You can plant them either in the garden or in a pot, as long as you fulfill certain conditions, which are:
- Plant them directly in the soil.
- The planting seasons are spring, summer and winter (not fall).
- The time of growth is four months from planting until harvesting.
- If you want to plant them in pots, these must contain at least three liters (3 quarts) of water or a minimum depth of 20 centimeters (7.8 inches).
- If you are planting onions in the garden, the distance between each plant must be 15 cm (6 inches) and between the rows 40 cm (15.7 inches).
- Regarding the type of soil, it is important to know that onions need soil that is rich in nutrients and fertilizer in order to develop well. They like soil with peat, silt and some sand. They do not like soil that is too sandy or with clay.
- The elements that onions take from the soil are potassium and phosphorus but not nitrogen. Therefore, it is advisable to put down a good layer of compost before planting, whether it is planted in a pot or in the garden.
- Onions prefer places that are in full sun, especially during the weeks in which the bulbs are formed.
- Throughout their life cycle, onions need very little water, with the exception of their vegetative state, that is, before the bulb is formed. Some 20 days before harvesting, it is advisable to stop watering.
- You can harvest the onions when the tops of the leaves become yellow, twist and break. This is when the onion is mature. To lift the bulbs use a hand rake or fork to avoid damaging the skin and then leave them half-buried for a few days. Later remove them from the pot or garden and let them dry in the sun for two weeks.
- It is essential to keep the onions free from weeds and avoid sudden changes in humidity which can damage them.
- The ideal temperature for onions during the growth of the bulb is between 15 and 25 ° C (60 and 78 degrees F) and it grows well with other plants: strawberries, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. It is not advised to plant them with legumes.
The three seasons of planting onions are:
- At the end of the summer
If planted in rows, separate each plant well from the others. If planted in pots, the seeds are randomly scattered. Cover the seeds with 1.5 cm (0.5 inch) of compost and press it down slightly.
- In winter
In regions where winters are usually very strong and snowy, it is recommended to first grow seedlings (small plants) and leave them in the greenhouse, indoor patio or inside the house. Thus you will have small onions ready to be transplanted in the spring. They are then placed in dry soil and in rows about the size of the seedlings.
- In spring
It is only recommended to plant in spring if the following summer will be wet and cool or if you have no place to store the onions. The separation between each plant should be 10 cm (4 inches) and only when they have reached a height of 10 cm (4 inches). Spring is the best time to plant bulbs instead of seeds. Make holes every 15 cm (6 inches) in a row. Place a bulb in each hole, cover it and press down firmly.
How to plant onions in pots
If you don’t have the space at home to make a garden (or no land available), you can experiment with planting in pots on the balcony, terrace or patio. It is easier than you think, you do not have to take any gardening classes or become a farmer overnight. You just need to prepare the soil well, condition the location and choose the pots.
The first thing to do is obtain a good organic soil to put in the pots. You can buy it from a nursery (if so, choose whichever is blackest because it has the most fertilizer). On no account should you use artificial fertilizers, because although they will make the plant grow faster they are harmful to your health. Furthermore, if you are planting in your home it is because you want to eat healthier things, surely.
If the soil is dry, “cakey” or a very light color, you can mix it with a manure-enriched soil, which is a good dark black color. Let the nutrients settle for two weeks before planting.
The pots should be at least 20 cm (8 inches) deep and 30 cm (12 inches) wide. If you are going to plant seeds, you should also leave 15 cm (6 inches) between each hole because when they grow they need more space. If you are using seedlings, it is best to prepare them before and put them in the pot when they reach 10 cm high (4 inches).
During the first two months you should water them every other day and leave them in a place with lots of sun. You can easily grow them after four months. Try to pay attention each day to see how the plant is growing, what it needs or what it doesn’t need. You can experiment to become an expert.