Features of growing onions
The plant is part of the onion family. The family includes onions, shallots, which have a similar growth form, and green onions, which are grown more for their green leaves than for their bulbs.
Onions are cold hardy crops and can withstand temperatures well below freezing, and it is possible to plant winter and spring onions. It can be planted from seeds, and from small bulbs.
Bow: care and planting
Growing onions is not difficult if you properly care for the soil and ensure proper irrigation. Planting an onion is a very simple operation. Onions love cool weather at the beginning of their growth, so they plant it in early spring or late autumn.
Culture prefers sunny areas. Although temperature and soil fertility also affect onion growth, it is light that acts as the main force in bulb formation.
Soil for planting onions
The most suitable for an onion plant are ventilated and not very dense soils, with a pH of 6 to 7. It is difficult for it to grow on clay and dense soils, most of all it is afraid of stagnant water.
Since onions require loose soil, it is important to dig up the soil a few months before sowing. Deep tillage is not necessary, but it is important that the soil does not remain compact.
Onions are not very water demanding vegetables. It should be watered only when the soil is completely dry, trying not to overdo it, since the onion roots are rather superficial and rot when stagnant.
In the spring, watering once a week is usually enough, but in dry and windy weather, you may need to water more often. In summer, it is important to prevent the soil from drying out and hardening under the sun. Water the onion deeply to help grow strong and healthy roots.
The plant is undemanding to nutrients and especially does not like excess nutrients. For this reason, it is good to avoid fertilizing before planting, it is better to fertilize the soil a few months before planting. In a crop rotation, it is placed after a pumpkin or zucchini, thus using the fertile land left over from the predecessor vegetable.
How and when to plant onions
Onions can be grown from seedlings, sets or seeds. You can sow seeds directly in the garden, and then transplant as seedlings. Transplanted after about one and a half to two months, when the seedlings reach a height of 15 cm.
Ideally, it’s best to avoid transplanting, as the onion plant doesn’t particularly like it.
Please note! Onions are grown in rows 25-30 cm apart, leaving about 20 cm between each plant. This measure is very indicative of the classic onion. If you grow onions for green feathers, you can halve the distance. Planting size also varies with variety, which remains small, planted very closely.
It is very important to saturate the soil with oxygen and keep it loose. Loosen at least 3-4 times during the onion growing period to break the soil crust. If the soil is clayey, then even more often, but be careful not to damage the roots.
Weeding is important to protect onions from weeds. The plants do not cover much of the surrounding soil and therefore can hardly compete with weeds. Weed control ensures that the crop has enough space and nutrients to develop well and grow bulbs.
Those who do not have time to regularly weed the soil can choose to mulch with garden cloth or straw. With mulching, you can save on watering costs, as the mulch helps retain moisture.
Varieties and sowing dates
There are many varieties with different characteristics by which they can be classified. The first difference is color. As a rule, colors indicate periods of growth: usually red – early, white – medium, golden – late. Onion types can also be divided by shape: there are elongated or round bulbs.
Sowing dates are different: winter varieties and spring varieties. It is important not to make a mistake, because there is a risk that the plant will bloom, ruining the harvest. There are varieties of onions that are sown on beds in late autumn. After winter, they develop a bulb, which can be harvested as early as May. As a rule, before winter, sowing is carried out for golden or white onions.
Summer varieties are sown at the end of winter (in February for seedlings), and in March-April in the garden. They ripen in summer and usually keep longer. Summer bow can be any color: white, golden or red. Varieties of red onion are one of the most sought after and appreciated for their taste.
Green onions are grown for their greens, not bulbs. Like onions, it can be grown from autumn to spring (sowing in October or November) or from spring to summer (between March and April).
From a growing point of view, green onions require some special care to grow. It is fertilized with a little more nitrogen to encourage feather growth. There should never be a lack of water, otherwise the stem becomes fibrous. Harvest earlier than onions when the leaves are tender (usually 70-90 days after sowing).
The onion is a hardy horticultural plant with little exposure to parasites and disease. Avoid excess water, which promotes noxious rot. It is very important to ensure excellent water drainage. This greatly reduces the occurrence of diseases.
Onions should not be grown in areas where another related plant has previously grown (another onion, garlic, asparagus). The combination of onions and carrots is good for both vegetables.
Brown leaf tips or brown spots on the middle and lower parts of the leaves can be caused by plant diseases.
More information! Prevention is essential, starting with soil drainage. The roots of the onion plant are very sensitive to stagnant water, a typical problem of this cultivation is root rot
There are pests that can damage the crop. The onion fly is the insect that poses the greatest problem for this crop. To drive it away – plant carrots and onions together. Carrots are actually a natural repellant for this fly.
Downy mildew is a fungal disease that can affect the onion plant. The leaves turn gray, then turn yellow and dry. In this case, it is necessary to carry out copper treatment so that the spores do not hit the bulb. Sulfur has fungicidal properties and helps fight many diseases. Neem oil and other fungicides are also available for use.
How to collect and store onions
The harvesting method is very simple: they dig up the whole plant to get a buried bulb.
Onions are a vegetable that can be stored almost year-round if harvested at the right time and stored properly.
The bulbs can always be harvested, they are edible at any time, but for long-term storage, you need to wait until the plant dries. First of all, you need to have time to harvest at the right time. Once harvested, the bulbs are left to dry for a day or two in the sun, then stored in a cool and dark place.
Pay attention! If you pick an immature bulb, even if it is dried later, they will germinate at the first moisture. Collected in time, they are stored for a long time.
If the bulb is not stored properly, it will rot or germinate in an attempt to give life to a new plant. You can plant it in the ground or water to get fresh green onions.
The shelf life of a vegetable has a duration of 60-120 days, depending on the variety. Typically, yellow onions last longer, while red onions are less durable. For this reason, the red and white varieties are usually eaten fresh, while the yellow ones are left more for the winter. Therefore, it is convenient to plant different onions in the home garden in order to use them all year round.