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Growing Onions from Seed

Onion seed of both white and yellow varieties, can be sown indoors in flats, early in the spring. When the seedlings grow to 4 inches in height, they can then be carefully lifted from the flats and transplanted to their permanent places. Soil should be cultivated carefully and all uneven clods, stones and roughage removed to allow for easy transplanting. Soil should have a liberal amount of lime to help in aeration. A fertilizer such as 5-10-5 plus well rotted manure should help to produce a satisfactory onion crop.

As with other transplants, care should be taken so as not to damage the tender onion plant roots.

Since an onion seedling does not have much of an enlargement at the base of the stem, it is important to make sure most of the white stem end is planted along with the roots. Actual depth will of course depend on the length of the roots. Some may need to be planted 1-1/2 inches, others perhaps 2 or more inches deep. The onion transplants should stand at least 2-3 inches apart.

CULTURE

Moderate temperatures and adequate moisture are required to produce a good crop. The most important rule of onion culture is never to allow the soil in which onions are growing to dry out completely. The steady growth of onions should not be checked in any way.

Green onions are pulled as needed and should not be allowed to go to seed. Dry onions are harvested after the tops have ripened. It is important not to pull them before the outer skin has dried, since immature onions bruise easily and do not keep well. The common practice is to break or crush the stems if there are signs of flower heads. When the stems are dry, dig the onion bulbs, which can be left on top of the ground to cure and dry for several days.

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • If you received a flowering amaryllis plant for the holidays, you can make it bloom again next year around the holiday time.

    After the flowers fade, cut just the flower stalk to about 2 inches above the soil level. Continue watering when soil becomes dry. Regularly fertilize the plant with a houseplant formula such as 5-5-5 or 5-10-5 following directions on the fertilizer package. After about six months of allowing the foliage to grow, stop fertilizing and begin to reduce watering over a 2- to 3-week period. After this period, stop watering. Eliminating water and fertilizer allows the bulb to enter a dormant or resting phase. Move the pot to a dry, cool (50 to 60 degrees F.) room that has good ventilation for 2 to 3 months.

    Sometime in early November, move the pot to a bright, warm spot and renew watering. In anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, the amaryllis should flower again.