White, yellow, or red, Onions come in many varieties. Here are some top tips to know when growing all kinds.

 

1. Sets or seeds
  • Onion sets (young bulbs grown the previous year) are convenient, fast growing, and quick to mature. Good sweet onions are grown from seed, but because onion seedlings grow slowly, it’s best to buy them in bundles instead of growing them yourself.
2. Don’t plant too early
  • Although onion seedlings tolerate cold weather well, exposure to spring freezes sometimes encourages them to develop flowering stalks at the expense of big bulbs. Set out sets or seedlings no more than a month before your last spring frost date.
3. Feed them early
  • Fertilize onions with high-nitrogen fertilizer such as fish emulsion early in the season, because big plants grow big bulbs. Bulbs ripen better under dry, less fertile conditions, so cut back on food and water during the summer.
4. Speed ripening
  • Give bulbs a push that speeds ripening by loosening the soil around them with a hoe as soon as they begin to swell. Or keep them mulched with a fine-textured material, such as grass clippings, spread around the plants in thin layers.
5. How to tell when bulbs are ready
  • When the tops begin to turn yellow, bend the leaves over with the back of a rake; this will divert the plant’s energy to the bulbs instead of the stems. A few days later, after the tops have turned brown, lift the bulbs with a fork. Lay them out to dry in a warm, shady spot protected from rain.

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