Growing Onions from Seed to Harvest (thumbnail)

Growing Onions from Seed to Harvest

Last year I grew 8 months worth of onions and this year I plan on surpassing that. I started these here that you see in October 2023. It’s now mid April of 2024 and most of them are ready to harvest. I’m growing two varieties of onions - Texas grano, a sweet onion with white flesh, and Red Rocket, which is a red onion. These are short day onions, meaning they need 10 hours of daylight. As soon as daylength hits the 10-hour mark, a short-day onion starts forming a bulb. This is opposed to long-day onions which require 14-15 hours of sunlight to bulb. Both of these varieties are ideal for southern growers like me. Many of you might know that I’m based in northeast Florida, so this is a great option for my climate.

I grew a number of onions from seed, AND I saw that my local nursery had starts for sale so I grabbed one bunch of those of those and planted those too. Ok that’s the background. Let me tell you how they progressed over the months:

  • When I sowed these, I knew that they were too close together and that I’d eventually need to split them up so they can grow at least 5 inches apart. I made a video about that so check it out to understand more about separating and spacing them properly.
  • Once I separated the onions, I covered them with mulch, which maintains the proper conditions under the soil. Temperature and moisture levels don't go to any extreme while the beds are mulched. Mulching also keeps the weeds at bay, so that the weeds don’t steal nutrients from our onions.
  • The onions begin growing like tiny blades of grass, then those leaves get taller, thicker, and stronger over time. In my experience, I noticed that the bulbing phase begins a couple of months before it’s time to harvest, which for me was late February.  

Alright, now that I’m talking about harvesting, let’s just get started. See the video for more!

Onions in the bulbing phase

In summary, my onion-growing journey from last year to now has been incredibly rewarding. Seeing these crops thrive, ready for harvest, fills me with pride. Choosing the right varieties for my climate has been key to my success, reaffirming the importance of understanding plant needs. As I look forward to surpassing last year's yield, I'm reminded of the joy found in nurturing nature's gifts and the endless possibilities ahead in my garden.

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