Growing onions sets or seeds

sliced onionI just love onions! Yes, not everybody does, in fact some people can’t stand them! I’ll eat them raw, cooked, fermented or anyway they can be made.

The only thing I don’t care too much about is how they burn my eyes when cutting them, but there are methods to reduce that.

If you’re like me and love onions then you probably want to grow them. The good news is they are easy and don’t take much space to grow.

The question then is, do I grow my onions from sets or seeds?

Growing onions seedsseeds from an onion

As a young child before I understood how nature worked, I didn’t realize onions even had seeds since I had only seen the sets that you can get at any hardware store in the spring. Then one day I saw a packet of onion seeds and was like, whoa, onion seeds! Shouldn’t have been a mind blowing moment but, it was. At that moment I vowed to try and grow them from seed one day.

Years later my vow came to fruition and I came upon some onion seeds to germinate myself.

Of course, I didn’t have any experience with germinating them so I just sprinkled them into the bed I prepared for them. Needless to say my success rate was not great. In the end I think I only got a few onions to germinate and one or two actually made it to maturity. They did not grow very big either.

Some things I learned from this experiment:

1. Make sure you have seeds of onions that will grow well in your region. Just like anything, certain plants grow better in certain regions. I had seeds that were sent to me in a package and were not best for my area. Now, If I had done a better job of preparing them and germinating correctly I would have had a better success rate.

2. Plant them at the appropriate time. When I planted my seeds, it was a little too late to expect a good rate of success. But this is true for any vegetable, timing is very important, not necessarily critical but important to get a good harvest. Seeds take time to germinate and onion seeds seem to take a little more time to germinate and don’t grow extremely fast. So if you want to have transplants for the spring you will want to start your seeds at least 20 days before it’s time to set them out in the garden.

3. Start the seeds in a green house or indoors if possible, in seed trays. This is very important because you can control the soil type and soil temp. Onion seeds need a loose soil to germinate and the temperature needs to be at least 50 degrees fahrenheit. I like to use single cell seed trays but an open tray that you sprinkle the seeds in will work also. There is just more work when it comes to seperating them to plant in the ground.

The next time I germinated onion seeds using the methods above, my success rate was much better and was able to harvest more onions.

Growing onions setsonion sets

Growing onions from sets is very easy and the preferred method for most people.

Even though I like growing plants from seeds, I actually prefer to grow onions from sets because of the ease, and since my space is limited for seed starting I can save space by buying sets and planting straight into the garden.

Normally the sets that can be bought at you’re local stores are ones that grow well in your area. In my case, that leaves two or three varieties but that’s fine for me, I mainly just want yellow onions that are fairly mild and can be used in pretty much any recipe.

The greatest thing about sets is you can plant them straight into the garden or container. No waiting!

Depending on what you want to get from them will determine how far apart you should plant them. I like to plant mine close together and as they get bigger thin them out to about three inches apart and use the ones I pulled as green onions.

Harvesting and preservingharvesting-onions

In general onions are easy to grow and require little maintenance once planted in the ground. When they are ready to harvest the best thing to do is pull them and lay them right where they were pulled and leave there for a day or two while they dry. Once they have dried cut the tops off and trim the roots and place them in a mesh bag which can be purchased on amazon or use a recycled one. I bought some reusable cotton bags from Amazon with drawstrings. They work great! Onions don’t require much to last a long time if they are harvested and stored correctly. Hang them in an area that it is climate controlled. Don’t place them next to potatoes or they will start to rot.

If you see them sprouting use them quickly or what I like to do is ferment them to use as a snack or garnish on dishes.

Onions are great for your health, they suck toxins out of your body and are high in vitamin c, folic acid, contain calcium, iron and are a good source of dietary fiber. Fermenting also adds to the many benefits of onions by adding good bacteria that helps your digestive system break down food. Why would anyone not want to eat onions?!

Seeds or sets?

onions mesh bagNo matter what method of growing onions is used you can have success of a large harvest of onions that can last till next growing season.

Try both methods if you are able to. Even though I prefer sets, I will still germinate seeds sometimes, especially when I want to try a different variety to see how I like them.

Growing onions seeds or growing onions sets is easy and takes little space. I encourage you to grow your own and let me know what recipes you like to use onions in. I can always use more ways to use onions!

 

what to plant in a small garden

Figuring out what to grow

Here you are with a very limited amount of space and can’t decide what to plant in a small garden!

This is a tough dilemma for a lot of people. Some seem to have it all figured out while others can’t decide what they want to do, so they end up doing nothing.thinking monkey

There are many things you can do, many plants you can grow, but how do you decide on what exactly to do?

The answer is not always easy but it’s not as hard as some make it out to be.

Here are a few things that might help you decide what to plant in your small garden.

 

What is your favorite plant/vegetable?

What is your favorite plant or vegetable? This is what you should first think about. When you have a small or limited amount of space, grow what you love the most. This can be hard sometimes because, if your like me you have more than one favorite type of plant or vegetable. So how do you get past this? Well, maybe you can flip a coin or do the trusty ol inny minny miny mo, or whatever you use, to break a tie.

A lot of plants can be grown together which gives you an opportunity to grow multiple things in the same space if you like. We have all seen or may have pots with multiple flowering plants in them, something that is usually found at your local nursery. The thing you don’t see is mixed vegetable planters, but you can do this, especially with leafy vegetables.

Companion planting is a very common form of growing and can actually be very beneficial for plants. I will talk about this more in s different article.

Make a list

plant listIf you can’t narrow down what you would like to grow, make a list of what you want to grow and then write down the characteristics of each plant next to its name.

Example:

  • Geranium: heavy flowering, low growing, great for pots, must dead head to keep blooming., needs full sun to part shade.
  • Tomatoes: needs lots of water if in a pot, can grow very tall depending on variety, stops setting in temps above 75 degrees at night, gives delicious fruit.
  • Citrus trees: can be grown in a pot, likes to be slightly root bound, will need to be potted up into bigger pots eventually, has wonderful smelling blooms, produce very beneficial fruit, low maintenance, may have thorns.

If you don’t have a lot of space for vining or tall growing plants you can mark those off of your list.
If they are not a heavy bloomer and you are looking for consistent color mark that off your list. (Some plants have very colorful foliage which can be an option for color instead of blooms.)

You might even be more organized with the pros and cons than my list above, but you get the idea!

Copy others

In school we are told not to copy, which is good advice, but in the real world being a copycat can be very beneficial. We do it all the time when we go on diets and start work out regimens. When we cook a meal from a cook book, or make something from pinterest. In fact when you study about the most successful people in life in their respective industries, you will see a bit of copycatting from previous successful people.

In the world of gardening there is more copycatting than you may know and that’s because when someone figures out a way to grow something successfully, there is no reason to beat your head against the wall to learn what is already known.

Next time you are out at an apartment complex or at some condos, look around and see what people are doing. This will give you inspiration and ideas that you may never have thought of or you will see someone doing what you didn’t think was possible.

It’s truly amazing what can be grown in small spaces! We take for granted, sometimes what plants are capable of and how strong they can be!

 

Experiment

When in doubt, experiment!

Sometime you just can’t decide what you want to do. In this case just jump head first and try what makes you happiest. It may mean buying five plants to stick in one pot and killing all the plants because it didn’t work out, Or maybe it will and you will have the most beautiful planter ever!

The truth is you can’t go wrong, gardening is all about experimenting, trial and error, being a mad scientist. It’s fun! This is what it’s about. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Besides, going with the crowd all the time is boring. Be creative, let your gardening juices fly and do whatever comes to your mind.

Sometimes we need to take off the bars of out thoughts and let things come to us. Don’t restrict yourself because you have limited space. There are a lot plants that can be grown in small spaces. Some can be grown without soil!

You have the power

Don’t let you tiny space deter you from growing the plants you want to grow. If you have a favorite plant, try growing it in your space, if it doesn’t work, O well. Find another plant and keep growing.

Make your list of your favorite plants, the pros and cons of each to help you narrow down what you can grow in your space and start planting.

Don’t be afraid to copy what others are doing. I won’t tell anyone, I promise.

Put you lab coat on and start experimenting. This is really the true fun in gardening. Trying things to see what works and doesn’t. It’s so exciting when things go better than you expected.

Don’t let yourself be afraid to try growing things because your space is limited and you don’t know or can’t figure out what to grow. You have the power to create a living space no matter what size it is!