The first year I did a BIG garden, I bought onion sets at the local hardware store–the ones that look like little pearl onions. After months in the soil, they maybe doubled in size. That’s it. They weren’t even worth the trouble of peeling them. The next year I decided onions weren’t worth the real estate in my garden.
This year, remembering that the teacher from my Master Gardener’s classes who covered vegetable gardening started hers from seed, I was determined to do the same. When Mother Earth News ran a mid-winter article about growing onions, I knew it was fate. So, I got seeds. I seeded them individually into cells and fairly quickly I had tiny little seedlings. Well, that was easy, I thought. At this point, the seedlings were under high quality grow lights indoors. They grew slowly, but did not get very robust looking. They stayed like this growing nearly imperceptibly.
Once the hooophouse was done, I moved some of them out there. However, they were so sad-looking that I held out little hope. I eagerly purchased starts from my neighbor’s greenhouse. Those were planted outdoors in early April and are flourishing. Now, the ones I planted tin the hoophouse are growing just as well. So, I did do it! I also have learned that instead of growing each little seedling in its own cell both onions and shalots can be seeded in a larger container as a clump and then separated at planting time.
Now, we are starting to enjoy the bunching onions (spring onions) I planted. Some of these were transplants from seeds I started indoors and others were direct seeded in the hoophouse. I am growing Evergreen and Crimson bunching onions. Delicious! Will seed more this week to stagger the harvest.