Onion Planting Options: Seeds, Sets, or Transplants
You can begin growing onions by several different methods by planting onion seeds, onion sets, or onion transplants.
Growing onions from seeds
Growing onions from seeds allow you to directly sow them into the garden approximately a month before the frost-free date for your area. Starting them inside a greenhouse 10 weeks prior to planting to ensure a more reliable stand upon transplanting. There are more varieties of onions available in seed packets but be aware that the germination rate decreases dramatically every year after the seed is produced so only purchase fresh seed.
Growing from sets
Onion sets are small onion bulbs that were grown from seed in last year’s onion season and forced into dormancy at an immature stage. Once replanted these bulbs will resume growing. Variety selection is limited to long day storage varieties since the bulblets have to store for 8 months from when they are harvested to when they are replanted. They usually are sold as just red, white, or yellow sets. If planted in short or intermediate day regions they will produce green onions since they will never have enough daylength hours to trigger the bulbing process. In long day regions they may grow to full size but they are prone to ìboltî, which means they will produce seed pods. If they go to seed, the bulbs will not reach full size but can still be used as green onions.
Growing from transplants
Lastly, you can plant onions from transplants. At Dixondale Farms, we plant the onion seed for you so you don’t have to worry with starting them indoors many months ahead of your planting time. We grow all daylength varieties so you get the best variety for your area that will result in the best onion crop. Because you are planting the correct daylength onions for your area, there is a much lower chance your onions will bolt, or go to seed. Growing onions from transplants gives you a 6 plus week head start from growing from seed. We ship you hardened transplants that are harvested the day before your order ships so your plants are fresh and ready to go in to the ground as soon as you can get outside to plant.
For more on onion growing, click here.
We would love to buy onion bulbs to plant in the fall here in Southern Illinois to have green onions to eat in late Oct. early Nov. Are they available anywhere?
We don’t sell fall plants and don’t know of anyone that is selling plants right now for fall green onions.
Check at your local garden center.
I like to grow onions from transplants, which seems to work best for me here in Missouri. As an organic grower my greatest challenge is to get them big enough before by mid-June we are being plagued with fast growing grasses. With transplants I have a head start on those. Can’t eradicate the grasses either, since on my sloping grounds they keep the soil in place when we get those torrential rains, which we seem to be getting more and more often, frequently after extended periods of dry weather.
Hi, I live in zone 5b and would like to know about planting onions for my area. Can we plant in fall for early spring crop? What do you recommend?