Onions are biennial plant that grows from an underground bulb.
They are related to carrots and garlic and belong to the lily family.
There are about 2,000 different varieties of onion in the world.
One bulb will grow into several small onions depending on the variety and the growing season. You may grow as many as 4 or 5 onions from a single bulb.
When growing onions, you should keep a few things in mind to make them grow as large as possible.
They require plenty of light, and well-drained, fertile soil. The best time for planting is in the spring when the ground is warm and can be worked.
Onions grow best if the soil temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and is preferably sunny.
Onions should grow for about three months before reaching their full size. A typical onion should grow to about the size of a baseball. You can easily check their size by looking at their tops.
Harvesting them when they’re still green is okay. If the onion is fully mature, the stems are brown.
When growing onions, you must remember that they are bulb-borne plants and require a well-lit environment.
They can be planted about a quarter inch deep and should receive between fifty and sixty degrees of temperature.
Depending on your climate, you may need to add grow lights or heat mats.
Onions grow best in full sun and should be planted in a location that gets 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
The plants should be away from any other plants that will shade them.
Harvesting onions from a single bulb is an easy process as long as you know when and how to harvest them.
Once the tops of the onion bulb have turned yellow and are falling over, it is time to harvest the bulbs.
The tops should be removed and the bulbs should be laid flat to dry.
Store them in a cool place without getting them wet, and make sure to allow plenty of air circulation. They should be used within four months, but you can store them for months if you store them properly.
Onions are best harvested in midsummer. If you plant them early, you can harvest them a month early. Once the bulb has reached about four inches in height, harvest the bulb.
If you plant them in the spring, you should leave the foliage on the plant until it produces a bulb. If you’re growing in a southern climate, the day length is shorter than in the northern hemisphere.
After harvesting, onions should be left to dry in a shaded area for several days. They should not be exposed to direct sunlight because it can cause damage to the outer scales.
Once mature, onions can be stored under a dry shelter for two to three weeks. Using slatted racks will help maintain proper air circulation and prevent rot.
Onions and Soil Preparation
When growing onions, there are several important factors to consider. First, the soil must have consistent moisture.
Inconsistent moisture will result in small bulbs, while too much moisture will cause rot.
Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plant will regulate the moisture. You can also buy a moisture gauge to monitor soil moisture.
Onion Growing Season
Another factor to consider is the growing season. Different varieties of onions grow in different climates.
They are grown in different latitudes, and the right time of year to plant them can determine how many onions you get.
The best time of year to plant them is during the spring or summer. This allows for a good crop, and the bulbs will be ready for harvest by the summer.
One bulb of onion will produce several smaller ones. This process is called ‘set’. A plant can grow from two to four sets.
Four sets will produce 50 onions. Onion seeds will take a lot longer to grow. Onions should be planted in a sunny area, where they will receive full sun all day.
Multiplying onions, also known as bunching onions, are perennials that produce new plants from a single bulb.
This type of onion is best planted in the spring or autumn, although you can also grow them in the winter in milder climates.
Multiplying onions is easy to grow and requires little maintenance.
To multiply onions, simply remove the outer layer of leaves, and transplant the remaining portion of the plant.
Then, cover the plants with a thick layer of mulch in the fall, to protect them from winter weather and stimulate an earlier crop. Then, remove the mulch in the spring, when the soil warms up.
You can also hill your onions to encourage them to grow taller. This will result in long, blanched stalks and longer edible greens.
Multiplying onions can take anywhere from 65 to 120 days to reach maturity.
Inoculating soil with mycorrhizae
There are several ways to boost the yield of your crops. One of these is to inoculate your soil with mycorrhizae.
This fungus increases the production of your crop by increasing the concentration of various nutrients. Several studies have been conducted on onions, and you can read about the results here.
Soil contains a variety of populations of microorganisms that have beneficial and detrimental effects on crop productivity. Depending on the soil type, these populations can either increase or decrease the production of crops.
In a recent study, the population of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil was altered by different cultural practices. Soil pasteurization and steam sterilization were found to enhance plant responses to the inoculated fungus.
These practices boosted the onion chlorophyll content and P concentrations. In addition, they increased the nitrogen-use efficiency of inoculated onions.
Regardless of the type of soil you use to grow your crops, the most important element for growing onions is moisture.
Despite their shallow roots, onions require consistent moisture.
Therefore, it is important to apply mulch around them to avoid the soil from drying out.
Compost is a great mulch for onions because it feeds the soil and retains moisture. Onions also need good drainage to grow well.
Day-length Onion varieties
Day length is an important factor to consider when growing onion bulbs.
Onions are sensitive to day length, and the variety you choose will determine how long the bulb will take to grow.
Some varieties grow longer, while others are shorter. In Maryland, there are several types of day-length onions, including long-day, intermediate-day, and day-neutral varieties.
Day-length onions are planted in the fall and mature in the early spring. These plants need about 12 hours of daylight to mature, while long-day varieties need at least 14 or 16 hours.
There are new day-neutral varieties that are being introduced to the market, but the selection is limited.
Some of these varieties have pungent flavors, while others are milder.
When growing onions, avoid planting them too deeply, which can interfere with the bulb’s development.
In addition, don’t forget to mulch them with straw, which will help retain moisture and keep out weeds.
It is important that the foliage remain healthy so the plants can generate enough energy to grow large bulbs.
The immature bulbs should be covered with light mulch to protect them while they are growing.
The mulch will also retain moisture and allow air circulation.
In addition to healthy soil, onions also need moist foliage. A common cause of foliage diseases in onions is over-watering, which can lead to fungal and bacterial spores attaching to the leaves.
It is best to irrigate your onions using drip irrigation or soaker hoses.
Regardless of the irrigation method, onions do best with consistent moisture, which is important to the root system.
They tend to rot when the soil becomes too wet, so it’s essential to provide consistent moisturizing.
How to Identify Mature Onions
Once the onion bulb has reached full maturity, it will begin to shrivel and turn brown.
To ensure that the onions mature properly and remain healthy for longer, you may need to harvest them and store them.
They should be stored in a cool, dry place to avoid rot. Be careful not to bruise the onions when handling them.
When trimming them, make sure to cut off about one inch of the top.
Then, store the cut onions in an airtight container in a cool and dry location.
Once the onion has reached maturity, harvest it by pulling it up by the base of the green foliage.
Harvesting a mature onion may require regular watering and weed control. It is not necessary to harvest the entire bulb.
The mature onion will have brown stems. This is an indicator that the bulb has reached its maximum size.
Once the onion bulb is mature, it will be ready to plant.
To plant an onion, you can dig it up a quarter inch deep and plant it in soil that is 50-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also mulch the plant with straw to retain moisture and suppress weeds. The roots will sprout in seven to twenty days.
During the cold winter months, you may also want to use grow lights or a heat mat for the plant.
For the best results, it is best to plant the onion in a location that gets six to eight hours of sunlight each day.
It is also best to plant the plant in an area where other plants don’t shade it.