How to Grow Onions From Seed

by on January 7, 2012

Onions are one of the most commonly used vegetables in the kitchen so it just makes sense to learn how to grow onions at home in your urban garden. It’s easier than you think and the reward of knowing that you and your family are eating healthier food is all you need to know you’re doing the right thing, but the flavor of your very own home grown onions will keep you growing them for years to come.
Temp Range: 65 – 85 degrees F
Seed to Plate: 120 days
Light Needs: min. 4-6 hours of full sun, partial shade per day
How Much to Grow Per Person: 5-6 onions per person for average consumption
Average Space Needs: 9  onions / 1 Square Foot
Water Needs: moist, well drained soil
Soil pH: slightly acid, 6.0 – 7.5

There is more than one way to grow onions, and depending on your needs and desires, one of them is going to be perfect for your urban garden environment whether in planting beds or containers.  If you have the time, growing onions from seed can be quite rewarding. Because onions germinate best between 65 and 85 degrees F, most will find it easier to start onion seed indoors a few weeks before the last frost of the season. If you choose this method, it is as simple as sprinkling the onion seed lightly and evenly across moistened growing medium or Jiffy pellets and lightly pressing them into the medium. Water using a spray mister only when the seed starting medium is dry and seedlings will begin to emerge in a few days.

When transplanting onion seedlings outdoors, it’s best to harden them first by taking your seedlings outdoors on a warm day and giving them a few hours outside out of direct sunlight. Bring them inside at night and repeat the process for a few days. Then you can transplant your seedlings into your  chosen garden bed or container using the information in the chart above as a guide.  Remember that any seedlings you don’t plant can be eaten in your next salad!

There are lots of varieties of onion to choose from, including hot, sweet and everything in between. Growing several types will give you variety and tasty options you may not have known about before growing your own!

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