Spring gardening fever has set in for thousands of gardeners along the Wasatch Front. I can hardly wait to share my own excitement over our newly delivered ‘babies’, also known as Walla Walla onion sets, destined to be planted at Wheeler Historic Farm for our 2019 Senior Center Farmers’ Markets! Onions can be grown from seed or sets (onion transplants). Seeds must be started indoors very early (late January to early February). If you missed the deadline, purchase sets instead from a reputable nursery/garden center and plant in late March to early April.
Here are a few important tips for growing onions in the garden.
- Onions are heavy nitrogen feeders – incorporate 1-2 pounds complete fertilizer (like 16-16-8) per 100 square feet (10 x 10 foot area) prior to planting. Sidedress onions with 0.5 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer (21-0-0) per 100 square feet in late May and June. Do not fertilize after mid-July.
- Onions do not compete well with weeds. Keep onion beds well maintained throughout the growing season.
- Drought stress will reduce bulb size. Regularly water onions for best production. Ideal soil moisture content should resemble a wrung out sponge.
- Bonus tip – always plant more onions than you plan to consume and harvest a portion of your plants early to consume as scallions, or immature onions – yum!