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Growing Great Onions

Updated on March 20, 2012

onions

Onions, so many uses, salads, sandwiches, soups, stews and simply to add flavour to a wide variety of foods. What can be better than cheese and onions together in an omelet or as a grilled cheese sandwich or just plain on a Kaiser? I enjoy a thin slice of Spanish onion with a good cheese on whole wheat bread or a bagel.

I also enjoy, on the rare occasion, onion rings and French onion soup, not necessarily at the same meal but both are their own taste sensations.

Onions are not all the difficult to grow. First off, you have two types of onions, summer onions and winter onions. Summer onions are fresh onions that come in yellow read and white and have a fairly thin skin.

These are the sweet onions, the ones that you are most likely to find in yoru sandwich or salad. It is their high water content that makes them sweet.

The winter onions also come in red, yellow and white but have several layers of thick and dark skin. These onions are ideal for storage and what you want on those cold winter nights when you want to add some zest to a stew or soup.

Now, as I said both summer and winter onions come in three colours, red, yellow and white; however, around 87 per cent of the onions that are commercially grown are yellow; white account for five per cent and red eight.

Yellow onions are very versatile and are used for just about all types of cooking and are what make French Onion soup so tasty.

The reds are great in salads and sandwiches but can also be delightful when tossed on a grill as part of a kebab for example.

While onions are identified with Mexican cooking, although I have to admit there have been times when a white onion was all that I had and it ended up in my cheese sandwich.

Now if you want fresh onions for your cooking needs then grow your own. You can grow them for both immediate use and for storage so that you do not run out of these culinary delights during those harsh and sometimes way too long winter weeks.

Growing Onions: Planting Onion sets

Ph:

Onions, pickled 3.70 - 4.60

Onions, red 5.30 - 5.80

Onion white 5.37 - 5.85

Onions, yellow 5.32 - 5.60

The most effective way to grow onions is to plant onion sets. An onion set is a small bulb, to 1 inch in diameter. Onion sets are produced under conditions that rapidly produce a small bulb which, when planted, will grow a larger bulb. You can buy onion sets at the local plant centre.

Onions can handle some frost and, in general, do not mind the cool and wet weather of spring. They prefer a soil that is rich and that drains well.

You can plant onion sets from two to four weeks before the last frost. Buy bulbs that are less than ¾ inches (19 mm) in diameter.

Space the onion sets approximately 4-6" (10-15 cm) apart, depending on the size of the mature bulb. Make sure that you gently press the bulbs into the soil about an inch (2.5 cm) deep and make sure to plant them so that their pointed tips just break the surface.

baby onions

courtesy flickr/Ilovebutter
courtesy flickr/Ilovebutter

onions & garlic

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  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thank you for dropping by.

  • britishbirdlover profile image

    britishbirdlover 7 years ago from London, UK

    Really informative hub - thank you for sharing.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    hope your luck is better next season, thanks for dropping by

  • SamSurvivor profile image

    SamSurvivor 7 years ago

    I'm certainly going to give your tips a try. None of my onions made it this year. Red, Whites and even the little green onions withered and died. =(

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    the tips are there, for example, "They prefer a soil that is rich and that drains well."

    to check ph of various crops. http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/lacf-phs.html

  • Pat Merewether profile image

    Pat Merewether 8 years ago from Michigan

    I was hoping for some tips on growing onions, like type of soil, ph, etc.

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

    I agree with Marisue, great hub, I will definitely plant this. I use onions most of the time, but would rather use home grown ones.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    here in New Brunswick white and purple are about the same price but both are more expensive than yellow. thanks for the comment.

  • Susan Ng profile image

    Susan Ng Yu 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    Our school caretaker is planting vegetables in our backyard. He tried growing onions but they just withered and died. :( The okra are doing well though.

    White onions are a bit more expensive than the purple onions here in the Philippines. I usually just use white onions when I need the overall color of the dish to be white. But I can't tell the difference between the taste of the two. I just know that the purple onions make me cry more. :D

  • marisuewrites profile image

    marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

    super...thank you and I'll read your upcoming HUB

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    This site give soem information that might help; http://www.eap.mcgill.ca/publications/eap55.htm, also i plan to write a hub on planting for harvetsing probably within the next week or so.

  • marisuewrites profile image

    marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

    Bob, can you recommend what vegetables to plant or not to plant near each other? I have read -- is it squash and cucumbers that cross pollinate? We planted 8 hills of cucumbers one time and could have fed the village -- and we planted marigolds around the tomatoes to keep off bugs. How would you lay out a garden in terms of what to plant in the first row and what to plant to the back, if you were goung by ease of harvesting? (too many questions...)

  • hans56 profile image

    hans56 9 years ago from Amsterdam/Chicago

    Very nice hub, it would make a nice title growing growing Asparagus upside down. :-) The off grid items are good! Please continue!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    the aspargus comment made me smile, we have all made at least, one gardening mistake.

  • marisuewrites profile image

    marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

    solarshingles  I agree,  he just quietly goes about sharing his knowlege, brings peace to my day.   and sunshine!

    I think I whispered to you on one of your hubs that I planted asparagus upside down. LOL

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thank you both for your kind words, onions are one of my essential foods.

  • solarshingles profile image

    solarshingles 9 years ago from london

    There is no good kitchen without an onion, for me, or it almost always starts with onion and pan...and the homegrown is far the best!

    Bob, you are a good and a wise Man, who inspires on hub pages.

  • marisuewrites profile image

    marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

    I love all your hubs -- such peaceful topics and nothing better than growing gardens...I'm saving this hub!! keep it up thumbs up!

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