Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

The Onion Experiment 2012

We planted 200 onion seeds today. We’ve direct seeded our onions before, but the seedlings had difficulty competing with springtime weeds. We’ve also planted onion sets, which are individual bulbs you can buy, and slips, which are younger pre-grown onions ready to transplant.  This year we decided to start the seeds indoors, and hopefully they’ll be ready to transplant soon. Onions are fairly cold hardy and some can be planted well before the last frost- some can even overwinter. We probably should’ve started the seeds a little earlier…

First things first: we mixed our own potting soil using an organic soil mix, worm castings, and sand. We could use our own compost and worm castings, but we’d have to sterilize everything in the oven before using it for potting.

Traditionally, onion seeds are sown together in bunches, then separated when transplanted. We found this tray stashed away in our gardening supplies and thought we’d try sowing individual onion seeds in each hole. Just to be safe, we’ll be planting seeds in bunches in larger pots in case we have any issues with the tray.

We filled all the holes about 3/4 full of our pre-moistened potting mix and dropped in one onion seed per hole.

We then spread more potting soil on top and gently watered it in. The tray will sit, covered, in our basement on a heated mat until the seeds sprout, then we’ll keep them under a grow light or in a sunny window until ready to transplant. We heard it helps to cut the sprouts back when they flop over to keep them strong, and the young clippings can be eaten like chives.

We’re hoping this experiment works out and we’ll have 200 onion seedlings ready to transplant into the garden soon. We’ll document the progress of the onion experiment through the year.


4 responses to “The Onion Experiment 2012

  1. lostartofsimpleliving February 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    What zone are you in? I’m trying to figure out the best way to grow onions as well. I direct seeded onions last summer, and it was a flop, and the sets didn’t get very big. Good luck, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  2. pobept February 3, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I haven’t had much success in planting onions from seed. Sets and those 3/16 inch size seedlings are so cheap I just, buy sets and I’m done with my onion planting project. I mulch 2 or 3 inches deep right up to the edge of my rows of onions sets using old hay from the cow feeders. It often is contaminated with cow dung making unfit for live stock feed.

  3. Pingback: The Onion Experiment: Germination | Will Work for Food

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: