Planting/Harvesting Onions Question

So, today while I was by my lonesome at work, I got to thinking about planting. The first thing I will be starting soon are onions. I have only grown onions once, and they were less than spectacular. I grew them from a set I got at the big box store. I know how to cure them, thanks to you all last summer. But I really want to understand when they should go into the ground (after starting from seed this year) and when they truly should be harvested. I know I will have to do some soil amending as my raised beds have really settled and compacted and the soil will need to be way more loose and draining. Last year, I just threw them in and pulled them out without really knowing anything. Any pointers from you all brilliant minds out there???


  1. I put my onion plants in the garden when they are about the size of a pencil, even a bit smaller. I clip back the tops (snip them in a salad or top a baked potato) to about 2-3" when I plant them. Sometimes the green that is left will die back a bit, but new growth will soon begin. The roots are really developing during this time. I harvest them any time during their growing season, using the small ones as scallions, those that are just beginning to bulb as salad onions, but wait until the tops fall over to harvest mature onions for storage. Once the tops fall over, I pull them and hang them somewhere to dry....I string a line in my garden shed, and just drape them over it. Or I hang them from a line on my patio. Anywhere they get lots of air circulation, no water and no hot sun.

  2. Thanks Granny! That sounds like everything I needed to know! Next I will be coming to you needing lettuce advice :)

  3. Yes! Thanks Granny. I started my first ever batch of onions 2 weeks ago.

  4. My advise for lettuce is to cover it so the #^%*@ birds don't eat it all!

    My other advise is to go to the feed store and buy a bag of rabbit food...alfalfa pellets...and give the lettuce bed a generous helping at each planting. I scatter some over the surface, then lightly dig it in to the top inch or so, then plant. It provides the slow release nitrogen that the lettuce loves. It's only about $12 for a 50 pound bag, and 50 pounds last about a lifetime ;-) A $3 bag of it from Walmart would probably be enough for 1-2 years of lettuce growing. Unless you go overboard with the lettuce like someone I could mention.

    As long as we're talking lettuce, and covering it, do not waste your money on bird netting. Walmart sells a plastic fencing for about $12 for a 3' x 50' roll:


    Here is my lettuce bed:


    I HATE bird netting. This fencing doesn't get all tangled up, doesn't blow away, is reusable and has many uses in and around my garden, including being a fence.

  5. Thanks for asking the question, and thanks Granny for the sharing your experienced knowledge. We'll use it for sure this year.