It's time to plant onions in NC

by - September 04, 2012

Onions are one of my favorite crops to grow, which has historically been one of my least successful crops if you are comparing my expectations to reality.

The secret to growing onions is planting them correctly.

I plant them incorrectly.

Each year I purchase a bag of onion sets, which look like tiny little onions. Each year I expect to get large onions, but instead get large green stalks and onions that are just barely larger than the sets. Not at all like this picture from Gurney's.

 This spring, as I was perusing the seed section of Logan's, I asked Karen (she's like the garden goddess in the seed section), what I was doing wrong. I told her I was planting them quite shallow, but they were still coming up small. Karen then informed me that in order to bulb out, onions need more than shallow planting. Their "shoulders" must receive direct sunlight. I had been leaving just the tip exposed above the dirt, when I should have just slightly recessed the end with the roots into the dirt and leave the entire top exposed.

If you are growing onions for the greens, go ahead and fully cover the sets.

So, for the month of September, here in North Carolina it is onion planting time. If you live in the eastern part of the state, you can wait until the beginning of October. If you are towards the mountains, you might want to get busy this weekend.

Here is a helpful link from NCSU with more tips:

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  1. I have never had any luck with growing onions. No matter how I plant them. I've even done the "just cover the roots" shallow and still would just get the green stalks, and no bulb. Boo. I hope you have better luck this planting season!!



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