Grow yellow onion from seed

Yellow onion – Easy to Care for, Delicious to Eat

The onion family is a large one. When you grow your own onions, you’ll discover many varieties that you can’t find in the grocery store. Onions are an easy-to-grow kitchen plant that pretty much takes care of itself in the garden.

Onions Against Vampires

Onions originate from Central Asia and have been cultivated from wild varieties for over 5,000 years. In ancient Egypt, onions were so highly valued that they were offered as sacrifices in temples. Onions were also among the burial gifts found in the tombs of pharaohs. In Chinese medicine, onions are believed to help with constipation and high blood pressure while strengthening internal organs.

In folklore, it was said that a bunch of onions hanging in the window would provide protection against everything from pestilence to vampires. Onion skins are also a well-known natural dye. Yellow onions create a warm color palette in golden earth tones.

Why do we cry when chopping onions?

Many have experienced tears in their eyes while chopping onions. The culprit in this drama is allicin, a sulfur-rich essential oil that irritates the eyes but protects the onion from pests. Some classic tips to avoid tears include rubbing the cutting board with lemon, applying a thin layer of cooking oil on the knife blade, freezing the onion for an hour before chopping, or wearing swim goggles.

Planting Yellow Onions

Yellow onions are pre-cultivated indoors in February-March. Plant the seeds about 0.5 inches deep with 2-4 inches of space between them. Water and keep the seedbed moist. Using a spray bottle or watering from below is recommended to prevent the plants from sitting in waterlogged soil. The seeds germinate well at room temperature or slightly warmer. Once the small green shoots appear, the plants thrive in a bright and cool location, preferably around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). If the plants are kept too warm, there’s a risk that bulb formation will begin prematurely. If you sow seeds early in the year, it’s a good idea to provide extra light for the onion plants.

When the shoots are about 4 inches tall, it’s time to trim them down a couple of centimeters. Use the trimmings as a fresh first harvest on your meals. Consider giving the plants a bit of extra nutrients as they grow, especially if they are closely spaced in the soil. Diluted urine (goldwater) or liquid plant fertilizer are good options.

Planting and Caring for Yellow Onions

Plant the onion sets in soil that has been well-fertilized once the risk of frost has passed. Yellow onions thrive best in a sunny location. Plant the sets shallowly with about 4 inches of space between them. It’s also perfectly fine not to separate the onion sets if they were sown in small pots or plug trays with 3-5 sets in each container. As long as there is some distance to the next group of onions, they have room to grow. A good row spacing when planting is 8-16 inches.

The initial fertilization usually lasts for the onion plants throughout the rest of the season, so no additional feeding is needed.

When growing onions, it’s advisable to rotate the planting location each year. This helps the plants avoid diseases or fungus.

Onions don’t like having weeds around them. Consider using grass clippings or other organic material between the plants. This helps retain moisture in the soil, suffocates weeds, and provides additional nutrients as it decomposes.

Onions do well when planted near carrots, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries. A great companion planting tip is that onions deter carrot flies, and carrots deter onion flies. Onions are less compatible with peas and beans.

Harvesting and Drying Yellow Onions

Yellow onions can be harvested for fresh consumption throughout the growing season. However, the onions intended for storage should remain in the ground until the foliage starts to wither. Dry the onions in a dry and warm place. After about a week, the harvest can be moved to a dry, cool, but frost-free location.

Onions are an extremely versatile and nutritious kitchen plant. They are delicious when boiled, fried, stir-fried, or grilled. Yellow onions can also be eaten raw. The flavor becomes milder if marinated in a vinaigrette.

Author: Johanna Damm

Fact checked by Erik Hoekstra

Last updated 2023-12-30

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