Friday, October 3, 2014

How to grow Onions

It has taken us 2 years to have good results with onions!

How to prep your beds for onions?
Carefully separating onion bulbs.
Onions are heavy feeders and heavy drinkers.  Till the soil to at least 12" with lime if you are in rainy climates.  If your soil is dense make sure to add composted manure or use cover crops you till in every year to build soil.                                                                                                                  Start your onion seed 6 weeks before in flats to have bulbs ready for planting or purchase bulbs.

Amendments for growing onions:
Making furrows for onion planting
 Heavy amendments are recommended BUT, you needn't fill the whole bed.  The onions are lazy with roots that go down and not very far out.  Our beds are 5' from tire to tire with about 4' of actual bed space.  

If you are using plastic Lay out your fertility such as Chicken poop or mint straw and till in.  Our manure spreader lays out three streams so our fertility is targeted to the lanes the onions sit in.

Laying onion bulbs out for planting in the field.
I Highly recommend laying down drip tape at this time.  Onions drink and cannot dry out.  If you can I would then recommend a weed barrier.  Onions will not thrive with weed competition gulping their water and eating their food.  Weeding can be very time consuming!  Putting down weed barrier will save you time and translate to dollars in your pocket if you are growing for market.  I can't tell you enough how much sense I feel biodegradable weed block is.  If you have a large area removing plastic from your fields is HORRIFIC! Poke your holes in the plastic and plant bulbs 6" apart in rows 10" apart.

If you are not using plastic:
We create 3 furrows about 10' apart.  Fill the furrow with well composted manure like mint straw or chicken poop.  I would recommend sprinkling Humic acid down the furrow and kelp if you can afford it in small beds. Lay the bulbs out being careful NOT to squeeze the necks! Space them 6" apart down the furrows.

Come back and cover your onions sitting them straight up and water them in. You can lay drip tape down even if you aren't using plastic for ease of watering.  Targeted watering also means that weed will dry up in between the isles for lack of overhead water.

How often do I water my onions?
Never let onions completely dry out until you are ready to harvest.  If you are using plastic you will need to water less as your water loss will be significantly less. Watch your soil for signs of drying.  Make sure water is penetrating at least and inch in the soil.

How often do I need to feed?
You should feed your onions every few weeks if you are using folier feeds such as MaxiCrop.  You can use a fertigator in drip systems to inject fish fertilizer every week.  If your onions are in the open you can side dress them with manure once a month.  Feeding is essential for big onions.You can buy humic acid that you can water in.  We like fish and seaweed as well.

Onions are a lot of work but they are a must for market growers and great for storage with the home grower!

1 comment:

  1. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.