One of the first vegetable we are able to plant in our gardens is onions. In our climate, if it is not a terribly cold winter, we can plant our first round as early as end of February.
This year I was a bit late as we had to wait to get our compost delivered and then till it in. So it wasn’t until April that we planted our onions. I usually like to get two rounds of onions in one season, but it is looking like it will only be one this year.
Step by step guide: how to plant onion sets:
Prepare your garden bed. You want to add your amendments and get it tilled in. Your dirt needs to be broken up and soft before you plant.
Take the time and get all of your supplies gathered and ready to use. In order to plant your onion sets, you will need:
- A garden hoe
- Row markers: You do not need anything special. I have used sticks and even some extra plastic cutlery. As long as you have your plan written out on paper, you do not need to label your rows. You just need to mark them.
- Water hose
- Straw or your choice of organic mulch. Stay away from the wood mulches as they can change the PH of your soil.
It is now time to dig your rows. I draw a straight line with my garden hoe from one side of my dedicated garden space to the other. Then I place my row markers at the beginning of each row. It is very important to mark your rows as you plant because once you cover up your planted row, you will not be able to tell where things were planted. It will all look like blank dirt until the seeds sprout.
It is time to plant your onion sets. After you have your rows dug, take your onion sets and place them in a single row. Space them 4 to 6 inches apart. You want to give them enough space to grow and spread their roots. If you plant them too close, they will compete for water and food and it will effect the size of your finished onion.
I plant 4 rows at a time as it works best to keep me moving forward. Planting just one row at a time, I find, takes too long from start to finish.
Covering your rows after you plant your onion sets. Once you have your onion sets in the ground and they are spaced out correctly, cover them up with your soil and lightly pack them down. This helps keep them covered when you water.
After they are lightly packed down, give them a nice drink of water. Making sure that you water enough that the water soaks the onion set. This will trigger them to start waking up and start growing.
After you plant onion sets: add your mulch
After watering, it is time to lay down your choice of mulch. I always use straw, as it helps keep the weeds to a minimum and it also helps keep moisture in the soil.
I add 4 inches of straw over my onion bed. After about 2 weeks, I do go over and check to see if the onion sets are growing okay. If needed, I will move the straw to the side so they are able to grow a bit more. Then after a few more weeks, I will weed any weeds that popped up and push the straw back around the onion bed.
Why I plant onion sets verse starts
Onion sets, I find grow better in our climate than starting with starts. I find the starts struggle a bit more and do not thrive. I get healthier and larger onions by planting sets verses starts.
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