Should I Grow Onions from Seed or from Sets? Since onion seed germination rates are bad, gardeners often opt for growing onions from sets. If you're in a milder area, you may be able to get away with starting onion seed directly in the garden. We usually plant a mix of white, yellow and red onions. Sets are available from seed catalogs, garden centers and hardware stores. Harvest onions when about half the tops are falling over and dry. To plant: Plant onion seeds when the soil temperatures are at least 45 degrees. Growing Onions from Seed Onion seed of both white and yellow varieties, can be sown indoors in flats, early in the spring. Onions can be grown from seeds, sets, and plants (transplants). If you’re a Square Foot Gardener, plant onions 9 per square foot. Common onion info tells us that it is often easier growing big onions from plants than from seed. It can take up to five months of onion growing … For those of us that have a real winter, plant onions inside 8-10 weeks before your last frost date in spring (earlier is better). I am half way through cleaning out my greenhouse (I would have had it finished, except for all this rain! The Nitty Gritty on How to Plant Onion Seed. ), and will be ready to start planting by February. Soil for onions should be well-drained and high in organic matter. Onions are shallow-rooted and require constant moisture for proper growth. The easiest way is to plant “sets” (small onions) in the spring. Growing Onions from Seeds. Growing from seed is difficult for many home gardeners because onion germination rates are often poor. Growing from both sets and seed in long-season regions allows for two harvests; one early in summer and the second in late summer and fall. Danielle – growing onions is something I want to add this year, so thank you for this timely post! Help, My Onions Won’t Grow Big – Growing Big Onions. Growing Onions from Seed and Sets. It is just one of those onion facts that the key to growing big onions is early planting, with fertilizer or compost. A quick guide to onions. We prefer planting onion sets over seed, simply because they establish quickly, and are easier to plant. I use a chop stick to help place them. Onion Sets Versus Seeds. To grow your own onion sets, sow the seeds thickly, and to do so, broadcast them evenly over the bed. Onion plants grow well in raised beds or raised rows at least 4 inches high. Growing onions from seed is a little more difficult than growing onions from sets, especially for the new vegetable grower, but seed does provide some compelling advantages over sets. Onion seeds can be kept for two years in a cool, dry place such as a properly monitored seed storage box, but fresh first-year onion seeds germinate best. When the seedlings grow to 4 inches in height, they can then be carefully lifted from the flats and transplanted to their permanent places. Plant the onion seed down the line, maybe 1 seed every quarter inch or so. For planting onion seed, I like to use seed tray inserts that are approximately 4" x 6" or 5"x5". Draw 4 furrows about a 1/2" deep the length of the tray. Put seeds 1-inch deep. In late April or early May, place the small bulbs about an inch deep in the garden, with four bulbs together, touching each other, and each bunch of four onion sets about 6 inches apart within rows. Onions can be planted in either the spring or fall. Starting onion plants from seed takes the longest for onions to fully grow, but onion seeds give you the most choices in variety. It does look easy, and I am less intimidated now about growing from seed. 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