How to Grow Onions

Comments: 1
By: James Fry
January 25, 2018

Onions are a staple in many kitchens around the world.

They not only enhance flavor, but will taste like pure satisfaction because they are the direct result of YOUR labor!

It is easier to grow onions than many other vegetables because they are low maintenance plants. Onions can lend flavor to any dish.

You can easily harvest garden fresh onions right outside your back door. All you need is just a little effort and to follow these steps.

Plant Family and Companions

Onions belong to allium family and their other family members are chives, leek, and garlic.

Many varieties of onions are available including bulb onions, multiplier or perennial onions, tree or Egyptian varieties, welsh onions or spring onions, yellow onions and sweet onions.

Depending on the variety, onions can be pungent, tangy, mild or sweet.

Onions are categorized as long and short day varieties. Long day onions are predominantly grown in North America and Europe.

Methods to Plant

Many onion varieties can be grown by planting seeds, by using onion sets or by transplanting onion plants into the garden.

It’s advisable to grow onions by transplanting onion plants and through onion sets because it requires long daylight hours approximately 15 hours to grow onions by planting seeds into the garden.

Onion sets are like small bulbs less than 1 inch in diameter, which are grown in a year before actually growing the onions.

These sets can grow into mature bulbs the following year.
Transplants or seedlings are preferred in areas with shorter seasons where the seeds are planted indoor, watered regularly and transplanted back in the garden when it is right season.

Soil Preparation

Onions are cool season plants so they grow well in a loose soil that drains well. Add manure to your soil and fertilize it almost a week before planting the onions. Keep watering the soil occasionally for steady growth. They need a weed-free area because the presence of weeds around the bulbs hampers proper development.


In North America the best time to plant is the spring season usually mid-March to April. Onions fight well against frost so onions can grow well in any climatic conditions. Feel free to plant early as long as you have frost cloth.

If you are planting the seeds then set them 1 inch apart and 3/4in below the soil. Sow them in rows with 1 foot spacing in between. When planting sets, leave them around 4 inches apart, then dig a small hole and place the set with the neck upwards.

A great way to ensure a healthy crop is by using a greenhouse which will prevent weather fluctuations from affecting the crop.


Green versions (chives or the “leafy” part of the onion) can be harvested when they are still young and green to get a milder flavor. Once dried, sometimes become red, white, or yellow in color.

They are harvested once their tops are withered completely and skin becomes dry like a paper. This indicates that the root/bulb is fully developed.


Though green onions cannot be stored for a long period, you can keep them green and fresh for few days by putting them in a water jar.

Dry onions can be stored for months in a cool, dry and ventilated place with temperature ranging from 35 degrees F to 40 degrees F.

Now go out there and plant some mofogin onions!

How to Grow Onions

1 thought on “How to Grow Onions

  1. You said: “It’s advisable to grow onions by transplanting onion plants and through onion sets because it requires long daylight hours approximately 15 hours to grow onions by planting seeds into the garden.”
    I would say that is the easiest way – but it doesn’t promote food independence. How about a little low, down on the seed thing so we don’t have to keep going to someone else for sets?
    (I have generic instructions, but suspect that there is so much more than sterilizing the tray of dirt before you start.”

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January 25, 2018

Posted In: How to Grow

One Comment


james-fry-permaculturist Hi, I'm James! Here you can find resources and inspiration to help you grow your own REAL food with LESS time, money, and effort than you thought possible.