Green onions and scallions
image by EwenAndDonabel/Flickr.com
Onions are part of the allium family, which makes it a cousin of garlic, shallots, chives and leeks. Onions can be grown from seeds, transplants or sets, with sets the most popular of the three. Being a cool-season vegetable permits the onion to be grown almost anywhere in the country. Onions can be classified as long-day (good for northern regions) and short-day (good for southern areas) and do best in the specified location. Onions are one of the most popular vegetables grown in gardens.
Select a location to plant the onions that will provide at least six or more hours of full sun. Choose a site that has not been used for onions for the last three seasons.
Provide enough space for 3 to 4 inches in between full-size (dry) onions and/or around 1 inch for green onions. Allow for a 1 to 1-1/2 foot space between rows.
Prepare site as early as you can work the soil ahead of planting date. Planting should be done around the end of March or beginning of April.
Use a rototiller, hoe and/or shovel to cultivate the soil thoroughly. Add compost and manure to the soil with a shovel and blend it in well. Smooth the soil with rake. Fertilizer can be added at this time, if needed.
Purchase onion sets. Divide sets into two groups. Use ones smaller than a dime for growing dry onions and larger ones for growing green onions.
Use a hand trowel or a gloved finger to make holes 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep. Place sets in holes with the pointy end up.
Space plants according to type (green or dry) as previously described. Sets planted for green onions can actually touch. Press the soil firmly around the bulb.
Supply a minimum of 1 inch of water per week. Use a drip or soaker hose for best results when rainfall is less than the amount needed.
Mulch can be added to conserve water and help prevent weeds. Pull weeds by hand or carefully use a hoe to remove any weeds around growing onions.
Harvest green onions when tops are 6 to 8 inches tall. Pull onions from the ground. Dry onions are ripe when between one-fourth to one-half of the top has fallen or you can wait until most all have fallen completely. Pull from the ground and allow to air dry.