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Growing Onions

Let Savory Aroma and Flavors Fill the Kitchen!

Subspecies: Allium cepa var. proliferum

growing onions

Yellow Spanish Onions grown in heavy wet soil 70 days after transplant. Onion plants were purchased from Harris seeds. Not ideal growing conditions considering excessive rainfall and heavy soil.

Onions are a cool season vegetable that can be grown in most soils in the United States. Onions produce best in a well-drained sandy loam or loam soil.

Onions belong to the lily family. They are close relatives of other Allium family members such as garlic, leeks, and shallots.

If you like any of the many varieties of onions, then growing onions can make for a great addition to your garden. It is such a staple in cooking and is a very useful crop. Read on for our full guide on how to grow onions yourself.


The simplest method to grow onions whether green onions or bulbs is using sets in the garden. Sets are tiny onions, less than an inch in diameter, grown from seed produced the previous year. Onion seedlings can be used and work best for mild and sweet types of onions.

Select a planting site that that receives full sun and has well drained soil. Onions thrive in small areas by use of raised beds that are rich in aged compost, manure or other suitable organic materials.

When planting green onions, sets should be arranged in an upright stance, at a depth of 3 – 4 inches. There should be 4 inches between dry onions and the trenches should be at a depth of 6 inches. Cover the sets with soil. If the onions will be harvested for their greens, use the largest sets. If dry onions will be harvested, use sets of a medium size.

For the highest possible yield of dry onions, the sets should be placed in the ground as early in the spring as possible.

Green bunching onions can be harvested within 4 to 6 weeks after the sets are planted. Dry onions can be harvested in approximately 4 months, in the later part of summer or early fall depending on the region.

Dry onions should be harvested when the onion necks are completely dry. Remove the onions from the ground and set them in a protected area to finish drying. The onions need approximately 2 to 4 weeks to finish drying.


Bulb forming onions – producing one bulb annually, and perennial onions – producing groups of small onions, are the two main types of onions grown. Perennial onions can be replanted for starting the next crop.

Varieties that work well for both bulbs and bunching are Ebenezer, Early Yellow Globe, Walla Walla Sweet, Southport Red Globe and White Sweet Spanish.


Slugs are the most common onion pest should be removed manually and/or the ground treated with diatomaceous earth.

Home Storage:

When drying is complete the tops should be trimmed and the onions placed in a container that allows for air circulation, such as a wire box or netted bag. The onion should be kept in a cool, relatively dry environment. Never store onions in plastic bags.