Onions are used for many things today, most often in cooking, especially in meat dishes. Onions have also been said to treat head colds, baldness and a wealth of other ailments. If you plant them from seeds, it will be a long time until harvest. Depending on your climate, onions can be harvested in the first year, but some can be harvested only the second year. Onions that bring crops the fastest include spring onions, green onions and Japanese onion varieties.
Start the onion seeds indoors. Keep in mind that onions are temperature sensitive, so they need cooler weather to grow on top, and warmer weather to develop the onion bulb. Place the seeds on a damp paper towel in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator. Keep them there, replacing the paper towel out so it doesn't mold, until the seeds begin to germinate. This can take about two to three weeks. You want the seeds to germinate about four to six weeks before the last frost date in spring. In mild-winter regions, you will be transplanting the sprouts in the fall or winter, depending on the variety.
Use a rake to go over the area you are going to plant the onions in. You want the soil to be well-worked, loose and in a well-drained area. Use the rake to get the dirt up about six inches deep, removing rocks, roots and dirt clumps.
Add well-aged compost to the planting bed before planting. Place the seeds, sprout side up, in a hole a couple of inches deep and cover it with 1/2 inch of soil. Top it with a light layer of peat moss, about 1 inch thick.
Water the seeds generously right after planting. Do this lightly though so you don't disturb the seeds. Use light sprinkling until the soil is soaked.