Post last updated: October 11th, 2018
I’m not any good at growing onions as this photo attests. This has been going on since the fall of 2011 when I went onion crazy with a garden full of all kinds of onions. In the fall of 2012, I planted every single one of these burgundy onions too deep and they did not bulb. This was after taking a Duval County Extension class where Mary Puckett stressed that onions should not be planted too deep and taught us to plant them no deeper than the joint on our thumb or something like that. My thumb is probably defective.
To me, when you plant something, you put it in the ground and cover it up with dirt. It seems I am wrong about that, too. According to dictionary.com, when used as a verb, plant means to “put or set in the ground.” Not even a suggestion of covering it up with dirt.
By the time Mr. Beekeeper gave me a bag of 50 or so yellow onions, my red burgundy’s were demonstrating signs of having been planted too deep. I carefully smoothed the soil where the onions were to be planted and lightly pressed Mr. Beekeeper’s sets into the soil, leaving the paper tips and top of the bulb exposed. As the onions grew, it was obvious they were forming bulbs and I wound up with this bag of onion bulbs:
Most of them, anyway. The tops of a few of them did not close up as tight as they should. What I like best about growing my own onions is the ability to snatch them out of the ground when they get just the right size. I like to have a few small onions that I can use in one culinary session (ain’t I a slick one – using words like culinary?). Try finding small onions in the grocery store.
Next year I am “planting” onion sets with the top half of the bulb above the soil. I’m not gonna let these onions whip me, nosireebob. At least not on a regular basis, year after year.
As for curing the onions in order to have “storing onions,” I pull them in the spring (this year it was May), shake off as much dirt as I can and plop them in the wire mesh garden chair you see in the above photo. Day and night they sit in that chair, drying out, for about two weeks. As the green tops and onions dry out, I cut them off. The onions that did not form tight bulbs will be used first.
Now you know how it’s done. Go forth and plant onions. Don’t forget to choose onions appropriate to your region based on day length.