Planting Onions PDF Print E-mail
In the Garden

Did you know that onions are the second most prominent crop after tomatoes? If you are like me, this isn’t surprising, since I use onions more than any other vegetable. From morning omelets to lunch to dinner, I use onions to add flavor to almost all my epicurean delights. But what is more, onions are very healthy, as they are known to reduce the risk of colon tumors and stomach cancer. They also protect against cardiovascular disease, fight against many varieties of bacteria, and promote healthy lungs. Onions are actually an ancient treatment for colds, coughs, asthma, and bronchitis. So the next time you go to complain about your spouse’s onion breath, instead, give thanks to God because the most pungent onions are known to be the healthiest. I love using the green tops of onions in omelets, fried potatoes, potato salad, egg salad, field peas salad, potato soup...

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Onions are so easy to grow so I look forward to the approaching of St. Patrick’s Day since that holiday always signals the time to purchase onion sets from our hardware store. I actually love to place those tiny yellow, white, and red bulbs into my little brown bag almost as much as I love to plant them in neat little rows between our lettuces.

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Doesn’t this look pretty? To keep track of placement Sonia and I lay our bulbs on top of the soil until the entire bed is covered. Then we push their wider end down into the soil about 1 to 1 inches below the surface. Although we harvest our onions at all stages of their growth, planted in rows such as these, we space them about 3 to 4 inches apart so that they have plenty of room to make large bulbs.

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Sonia and I fill all our raised beds with onions, but in those beds that have nothing else except onions at the time of planting, we place the onion bulbs 16 inches apart, to give plenty of space for other vegetables to be sown or planted in between the onions at a future date. This makes great use of our space. And if for some reason, another vegetable plant grows so big that it begins to loom over an onion top threatening to inhibit its growth, we just pluck that onion and use it for that night’s dinner. So sometimes I use onions just for their green tops, while others are allowed to mature until their tops turn yellow and flop over. When harvesting bunches of mature onions, we place them on screens or metal racks so that air can circulate around them while they cure, which lasts about 2 weeks. Other times, we just hang them from the beams in the basement.

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When I say that I love onions, I don’t’ mean just for cooking, but for decorating as well. Look at how beautiful these brown skinned onions look next to our orange tulips and orange dish detergent.

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I always look for ways to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary and make everyday tasks more delightful, so I place either yellow or orange dish detergent in an olive oil bottle with a nice pouring spout.