Growing onions is easy, and they are one of the few things you can plant through winter in cooler areas. While they take quite a bit of time to mature, onions take very little work to grow and are a very satisfying addition to a home harvest-basket. Here we take you through a few simple growing onion tips from the Pip garden!
Getting the right onion variety in the ground at the right time can make a big difference to bulb size. There are early, mid and late season varieties which refers to the sowing (and thus harvesting) time of the onions. There are also long, short and intermediate daylight varieties to throw into the mix. These varieties require differing amounts of sunlight in order to form a bulb, so if planted in the wrong climate zone and the wrong time, they may fail to thrive. As a general rule short-day types are suited to Northern states (Queensland and NSW) while intermediate varieties are more suited to states further south. Your local nursery should be able to help you choose a variety that bests suits your area.
Onions can be sown in trays and transplanted as young “sets”, or sown directly in the ground. Onions love good drainage, and detest mulch (they rot easily in the ground), so growing in small raised mounds can be a good idea. Sowing seeds .5mm in good, free-draining potting mix (either in trays or drilled in the ground) will give them a great start. Keep your onions well weeded.
You should harvest onions once the plants have begun to wither and dry off in summer. They should be hung and cured (like garlic) before storage.
Want to learn more about growing your own onions? Issue 11 includes a feature on perennial onions – the onions you can plant once and then harvest for (almost) ever! To get issue 11, subscribe now!