Bulbs or Greens: An Onion Challenge

For my friend who doesn’t think I post about my garden enough: Here’s how you grow bulb onions:

Have a lot of patience. 😀 (As if that weren’t obvious!)

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The trick to growing bulb onions is the depth of the planting. If the little white part at the bottom is above the ground where it gets lots of sun, the plant will produce a bulb. If that white part is covered with dirt, the plant will produce skinny greens. Both are delicious.

Another great way to start bulb onions is to use seed bulbs to start rather than the bundled up shoots. We planted both this year. We planted a million of the shoots. OK, maybe not a million. We have lots of green onions.

The seed bulbs are usually about the size of a nickel, maybe a little bigger. And they are sooooo easy to plant.

Push them onto the top of the soil. That’s it. No digging. You don’t even get dirt on your fingers. That’s how shallow you plant them. Space them several inches apart to give them room to grow.

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Greens are sprouting. Don’t judge me by the weeds…

Onions love water, so keep them moist. Soon the greens will grow. Soon after that the tiny bulbs will start to get a bit bigger. You may have to pull some of the dirt away from the base.

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The bulbs are forming…

The greens will get tall. And the garden will smell yummy.

Then the bulbs will start to look like these:

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Clear away dirt from the edges of the new bulbs.

Then the greens will start to fall over and whither. It’s time to harvest those.

Put them in the sun for a couple of days to “cure”–the greens will dry out and the outer skins will protect the fresh onion moistness inside.

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The bulbs are ready for storage.

You can store fresh onions for months in a cool, dry place, especially if they cured properly. If the tops didn’t seal up where the greens sprouted and withered, use those onions right away. The hole in the top is not conducive to long-term storage.

They might’ve been bigger, but they were growing next to each other. Yep, I say give them room to grow, but I don’t always follow my own advice. 😀

What’s in your garden? Or, do you harvest from the produce section?

10 comments on… “Bulbs or Greens: An Onion Challenge”

  1. Sadly, I don’t have a garden…last summer we grew sugar snap peas and kale out on our porch, though, and I keep wanting to replant and grow something else, but haven’t yet. Maybe I should get off my butt and get started. 😉 Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Diana Beebe

      There are lots of container-friendly veggies and herbs you could try. Herbs are pretty easy. 🙂

  2. I don’t have a garden either. They don’t seem to grow very well for me. Your onions look good by the way. Very good information for a brown thumb person like me.

    • Diana Beebe

      Thanks, Susan! It’s taken me awhile to feel good about gardening. I used to consider myself a brown thumb, too. My thumb is getting greener though. 🙂 Practice helps.

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  4. The most we have going for us are the flowers my daughter tries to care for. Underline the word “tries.” She often forgets about them and caring for anything that doesn’t yell at me and remind me that they are there just isn’t for me. LOL. I wish it was, though. I know it’s immensely rewarding. Can I live vicariously through you and your garden?

    • Diana Beebe

      LOL. I understand how you feel sometimes. It can be a lot of messy, dirty work, but it’s worth it when we taste the results. I’m happy to do that for you. 🙂

  5. Huh, I didn’t know all this about growing onions. Thanks for the tips, Diana. We have a small patio garden hubby planted this year. A few tomatoes, zuchinni, cilantro (which always goes to seed too fast and isn’t worth the trouble!) and summer squash. Nothing fancy this year, but anything homegrown is wonderful. And i love the smell of onions growing. Or cooking. Yum!

    I’m having the same problem getting people to make the switch over to my new site. Slowly but surely…

    • Diana Beebe

      You’re welcome! We learned the hard way, and then a local plant expert told us why we were only growing green onions. Not that we didn’t love the green ones, but having bulbs is so nice!

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