Planting Onions in a Fall Garden


Staff member
Got the onions planted for my 2021 - 2022 fall / winter garden. Rows were made up the day before with a tractor and cultivator, fertilized with 21-0-0, the onions were soaked in water overnight, then planted today.

When onion sets arrive at the store they are typically distress and dry from being transported. A lot of times they have lost a lot of water and may look and feel dry. The outer layers of the onion may feel dried out. The easy way to fix this is to soak the onions in bowls of water for a couple of hours, but do not drown them. I move the onions around in the bowl so they do not stay fully submerged for very long. After an hour or so in the bowl I take the onions out of the bowl, put some paper towels down in a tinfoil tray, wet the paper towels, then place the onions on top of the paper towels. I try to place the onions upright so the roots are in contact with the wet paper towels. This provides them with moisture without being submerged in water.

The next day a lot of the onions had small roots around 3/16 inch long that had sprouted overnight. Giving them the water provides the onions with an extra kick start so they are not distressed when they are planted.

We are going to plant the onions just under the soil, roots down, stem up, and spaced around 8 inches apart. Given the right fertilizer, water, and other conditions, these onions may grow to be 3 inches across. If they are planted too close together they compete for water and fertilizer. I see it that the rows have plenty of room, so give the onions plenty of space.

In around 6 weeks I am going to side dress the rows with another spreading of 21-0-0, or maybe some 16-6-12, then use the cultivator to mix the fertilizer into the row.


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