Pungent in scent while sweet and spicy to taste, the onion is found in many different cuisines because of its versatility to dominate or support the flavors of many different ingredients. Whether it’s the white, yellow or red onion variety, this plant is an everyday cooking essential.
Like its versatility in the kitchen, onions are also highly adaptive plants to grow. Indoors or outdoors, in almost any season and temperature, and requiring very little space, we can guarantee you will find onions quite easy to grow.
Before diving into what makes onions an easy plant to grow we want to remind you that our beginner’s guide focuses exclusively on growing onion seedlings, not seeds nor sets.
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So what makes onions such an easy plant to grow?
First off, where can you grow your onion plant? Almost anywhere.
As mentioned above, you can start growing onions indoors and outdoors, most of the year, with minimal space. The only two things you have to pay attention to is temperature and sunlight. Onions like colder weathers, around 13 to 25 degrees Celsius (55 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit), at the beginning of its life. Only as it matures do onions do well in warmer weathers, making it an ideal rainy, fall or spring plant.
Put your onions in a partially shaded area if you live in warmer climates or in the least shaded area if you live in colder climates. If you grow your onions indoors, put them by a window that gets some natural light.
How much time from you do onions need? Less than 15 minutes a week.
Yup. Onions rarely need maintenance. They only need two things, lots of water and minimal weeds. A little sprinkle and cutting of weeds every three days. That’s it; nature takes care of the rest.
Once your onion shoots begin to grow about six to eight inches high you can also cut the shoots. Those are green onions or scallions which you can eat. Just make sure to leave about an inch of green on the plant.
How do you know when you need to harvest? Falling shoots and yellowing tops.
Around the summer time, the onion tops will begin to turn yellow and its shoots will start to fall over. The image below shows what the onions look like when the plant is almost ready for harvest. This is when the fun begins.
Image from The Garden Smallholder
You can help the shoots fully bend over by pushing or, even, stomping on it. Yes, stomping. Within a day to a week, the onion tops will turn brown. Once that happens all you need to do is wait for a sunny day, pull the plant out and let it dry under the sun. Simple and fun.
When can I start?
You’d want to wait for colder seasons if you are growing them outdoors, such as fall and spring for four-season climates and rainy seasons in two-season climates.
But if you have found a space indoors with sunlight you can start as early as today! In fact, you can even start growing onions from your onion scraps, allowing you to have an endless supply from one onion.
All you need to do is keep the bottom portion of the onion, its roots, and plant it no more than an inch under soil. You can use a pot or a five-liter bottle if you plan on growing it indoors.
Ready to start growing onions? We got all the necessary and yet simple onion tips right here for you to aid in a successful harvest!
Header photo by Thomas Martinsen