How To Plant Onions

How To Plant Onions

How To Plant Onions.

I grow onions every year.  Usually twice a year.  Spring and fall.

Onions are a “cool season crop.”  This means they will grow and thrive when the weather is cool.

Some other plants who like cool weather include:  brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, beets, lettuce, spinach, radishes, asparagus, kale and many herbs.  All of these will enjoy cool days and frosty nights.

Onions are pretty low maintenance.  Here’s the pros and cons:


  • No pests
  • No diseases
  • Easy to plant
  • Grow quickly
  • Easy to harvest (just yank on the top)
  • Will store in my basement for 7-9 months
  • Natural healing properties (really good for you)


  • Pain in the butt to weed
  • Will have lots of weeds because there is nothing to shade the ground beneath the thin stalks (mulching around the stalks will help)

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For planting onions you’ll need 2 3 things:

  1. Onion sets
  2. Any garden tool with a straight handle
  3. Small child (optional)

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These are onion “sets.”  This is not the only type of onion you can plant.  There’s onion seeds.  There’s also the clump of onions sold at the big box home improvement store that looks like a bunch of green onions all rubber-banded together.

I think the sets perform best in my garden.  They are easy to plant and will be as big as an orange in a few months.

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You may need to take a drive into the country to find onion sets.  I have only found them for sale at country stores, farm stores and rural stores.  They can usually be found in blue laundry baskets on the front porch of the store.

They are sold by the pound.

Let me tell you, a pound of onion sets is A LOT of onions.  These tiny balls weigh nothing.

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They come in 3 varieties (at my store):   white, purple and yellow.  I’m pretty sure “White,” “Purple” and “Yellow” are  their scientific name, kingdom and phylum.  A-Hem.

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The white onions are the strongest and store the best.  The yellow onions are milder and sweeter (they store well too, this is what I grow the most of).  The purple onions are beautiful, but do not store worth a darn and will bruise and rot if you look at them wrong.

I have raised beds filled with goat, cow, chicken and horse manure;  not to mention random bits of hay, straw, sawdust and random plant debris from last years crops.  It’s not pretty but it’s fluffy and easy to work in.

We don’t need shovels.  I can dig holes with my hand.


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I can poke holes with the handle of my metal rake.

Hoes, cultivators, or shovels will work for this – anything with a straight handle.  Poke, Poke, Poke!

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After you poke a 4 inch hole in the ground, drop in the onion set – root side down.

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This is where the small child comes in handy.  I jam my stick in the ground to make the holes.  My youngest daughter follows behind me and drops onions in each hole.  I suppose you could drop the onions in yourself, but that wouldn’t be as much fun.

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Once all the holes have onions, cover with soil.  That’s it!

We will have green leaves shooting out of the ground in no time!  

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Happy Gardening!


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