Friday, February 11, 2011

First Spring Planting-Onions

Yay!  Spring is almost here (well at least it is in South Texas)!   Although you'd never know it by today's's 25 degrees and freezing!  But it wasn't like that on Tuesday.  Tuesday was sunny, windy, but very warm.  The puppies were in puppy day care so it was a great day for me to prep a few of my garden beds and plant my onions!

My garden beds were in pretty good shape actually; but they did need some attention.  And I always add organic compost to each bed before I plant.  I've been using Lady Bug Soil Revitalizer for years and just love it.  It's completely organic, made locally (in Austin) and contains NO biosludge products.

First thing I did was rake away all the hay that was on top of the beds.  I put the hay on to insulate the soil somewhat and encourage worm production.  And it worked!  As I was turning over the dirt, I saw lots of worms...gotta love that!

I then dumped three bags of compost into each bed.  Now I only prepped three of my six beds on Tuesday because I won't need the others until later this spring.

I turned the dirt over and incorporated all that great compost into the soil and that was pretty much it.  Pretty simple process, really.  

Then I planted my onions.  These are Texas favorite type of onion that I use in just about everything I cook. But I only bought one set...bad call.  I ran short and had to run out and get a 2nd set.  But by the time I got back home, the weather turned and it got very cold so I'll save planting the 2nd set till the weather warms up a bit, hopefully in a couple of days. 

When planting onions it is crucial to choose a site in full sun, ensuring your transplants get at least 8-10 hours of direct sun per day.  More is better.

My garden beds are rectangular (9' x 5') and so I plant my onions in rows, spacing each row about 6 inches apart.  What I did was create 4-inch deep furrows midway between the rows and spread a band of my favorite, well balanced organic fertilizer, Medina Growin Green Organic Fertilizer (you can get it at, in the bottom of each furrow--about 1 1/2 cups per row--then covered the row with soil.  This makes the fertilizer easily accessible to the roots of each plant as they grow.  I will continue to fertilize the bulbs every 2-3 weeks.

Onion sets are easy to plant and don't require the special attention that onion seeds do (won't ever plant onion me...).  I just poked the sets into well worked soil so that the top of the set is level with soil surface...about an inch deep.  It's that's easy.

The care of onion sets is pretty straight forward:
  • weed early and often
  • don't overwater
  • when the tips of the the foliage start to turn yellow, leave off watering.  This is a sign that the bulbs are maturing
  • Fertilize young plants, but stop fertilizing about 5-7 weeks before the expected harvest date
Harvesting is easy too:
  • pull young green onions if you want to use them for scallions
  • watch for the plant tops to start to die back--a sure sign the bulbs are enlarging
  • store in cold dry place

Last year my onion crop was great!  I hope this year is as good.  

I'm so happy to get my spring garden going!  The seeds I ordered should be here any day now and hopefully this weekend I'll be able to start some of my seedlings in the greenhouse.  I'll keep you posted :-)


  1. A lot of hard work but the bounty will will be the reward. I like onions in the kitchen for cooking and they are so easy to grow. Plus, those spring onions are delicious.

  2. G'morning Donna! Yes, it is a lot of work, but it's what I love to do and the rewards pay me back tenfold. And you're right, they are easy to grow. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Your raised beds are so wonderful...I'm hoping when we retire we will move some place with a bit more room to spread out. I really want some raised veggie beds, goats and chickens! The HOA frowns on the goats and chickens here in the pristine burbs!

  4. Oh my just look at that gorgeous tilled soil... I can smell it way up here in the Pacific Northwest!

    We must be kindreds--I selected the same beautiful green template when I first began blogging.

    Anyhoo, loved perusing your blog today. Have a Happy Valentine's Day with that very kind husband of yours.

    e-Mom @ Susannah's {Kitchen} and Chrysalis

  5. P.S. I'm your newest Google News Feed subscriber!

  6. Hi Susannah! Thank you for your kind words! I love the color green...maybe that's why I love gardening so much. It's so good to have my hands back digging in the dirt again. Happy Valentine's Day to you too! And I *love* your flirty aprons! Very good to keep in mind for gifts. I'll definitely be back!

  7. I am passing on the Stylish Blogger Award to you for your wonderful blog! Hooray! When I had a veggie garden when my kids were little, they loved pulling onions. Fun!

  8. Hi TS! Thank you for the compliment! So does that mean I get to display the Stylish Blogger Award icon?? Wow...that would be cool but I don't want to jump the gun. If you come back here, let me know, K? And I, too, love pulling the onions when they are ready. I hope to share that task one day with my granddaughter or grandson!

  9. Diane- Recently discovered your site and love it! Question - what do you use for ants in your garden area? I like to keep things very organic as I have free ranging chickens and kids. I am in the Hill Country as well.

  10. Hi Christy~~Thanks for stopping by! Ants in the garden...hmmm that's a tough one. Luckily my beds are raised so I don't have too much of a problem with fire ants. Twice every season I add organic compost to be my beds and that seems to keep the soil full of worms and pretty healthy and also, the ants at bay. I usually just ignore a few ants in my beds. Now outside the beds, Amdro is the way to go, IMO. But yes, I would worry about the kids and chickens and any chemicals. Hope this helps and again, thank you for visiting!