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Growing Onion

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S   T P P S   T      

(Best months for growing Onion in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 46°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 2 - 4 inches apart
  • Harvest in 25-34 weeks. Allow onions to dry before storing.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Lemon Balm, Borage, Carrots, Beets, Silverbeet, Lettuce, Amaranth
  • Avoid growing close to: Peas, Beans
  • Red onion
  • Young brown onion

Onions come in a range of colours and shapes and sizes. Brown :- strong flavour and pungent. Usually good keepers for storage. White :- milder but still flavoursome. Keep fairly well. Red :- Mild, suitable to use raw in salads and sandwiches. The seedlings should be allowed to gain a bit of strength before planting out - usually 4 to 6 weeks will be enough. When they are big enough to handle, you can plant out. They start off looking like blades of grass.

They don't have to be in a greenhouse (though that would be ideal), any sheltered spot will do. The idea is to guard against rapid changes of temperature, especially at night.

Onions can be bought as young plants (sets or seedlings) from garden shops/nurseries to plant straight into garden beds. Choose your variety according to your climate and the time of year as some onions will grow better in the cooler months .

Onion bulbs should sit on the surface of the soil. Do not cover. They will take six to eight months to mature. Onions are ready when the tops start to dry and fall over. Pull them and leave to dry for a few days. Store in a cool, dry airy place. Use a net bag or make a string by weaving the tops together.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Onion

Brown onions roasted whole with other vegetables are delicious.
Red onions add colour to salads or stir-fry.

Your comments and tips

25 Nov 19, William Rowe (USA - Zone 9b climate)
What variety of onion do you suggest for my region. 9b Ocala,Fl
26 Oct 19, Allan Kevin Marshall (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I sowed my Hunter River Brown seeds on the 1st of April in rows East & West I thinned them out & the thinnings I planted in a bed facing North & South .The thinnings are bolting to seed,& the ones planted in the East West are doing well. I live in Geelong Victoria,What could be the fault here with the planting North & South
08 Dec 19, Susan in Canberra (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Allan, is it possible that the thinnings were stressed by being pulled out & replanted and this caused them to bolt ahead of the original plantings?
28 Oct 19, anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My home garden is NS and a men's shed gardens I had were NS. I'm now in a new garden set up that is EW. I have wondered about the difference. My thoughts are with the plantings NS, ALL plants have sun on them all the day whatever hours that is. The sun from the E in the morning and W in the afternoon. With the EW some plants might be shaded by other plants during the day. Different beds could be different soil fertility, hrs of sunlight, watering etc. Generally when soil nutrient and/or water are not sufficient the plant will flower and set seed to be able to reproduce in the future.
14 Sep 19, petre (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, Can I buy Onion sets in Australia ?. I live in Canungra Queensland. Thanks, Peter.
16 Sep 19, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
What do you mean by sets?. I don't grow onions but I would think most people grow from seeds or seedlings.
27 Aug 19, Jessica (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, can I still plant onion in September in Melbourne? thank you
27 Aug 19, Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Check here www.gardenate.com/plant/Onion?zone=2
10 Aug 19, Sam (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I just planted onions that got spoiled and started to grow but now each bulb has grown into a set of seedlings. Do I pull them out and plant them separately or leave them grow as they are? Kind Regards Sam
13 Nov 19, anon (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Pull apart.
Showing 1 - 10 of 233 comments

Hi, Can I buy Onion sets in Australia ?. I live in Canungra Queensland. Thanks, Peter.

- petre

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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