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Growing Onion Sets

Helena, MT

Although a rare occurrence I read an article in Dave’s weekly newsletter on vegetable gardening which spoke of raising onions sets from seed. The long day onions do very well here, however I have had difficulty in raising suitable sets from seed planted indoors. In this article the author spoke of planting onion seed in their garden in mid-summer and removing the sets in about 60 days for storage until next spring’s planting.

Several thoughts come to mind about harvesting and storing onion sets over winter: (1) How to harvest; and (2) how to store these sets. Any thoughts on the subject???

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Your local Agriculture Extention Agent should be able to send you a leaflet on growing onions in your neck-of-the-woods. Or you could try Googling the information.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Sorry, I'm no help Morgan but you might chat up the folks at Dixondale Farms, or just check their site for info. They are the bees knees in onion growing. All I know is that the general consensus is that onions are *really* hard to grow from seed. I got small starts from Dixondale and they are doing just great. Waiting for the tops to fall over indicating they are ready to pull. These pics were taken about a week ago and some of the onions are really breaking the soil but the tops are still standing tall. Waiting........

Thumbnail by MaryMcP Thumbnail by MaryMcP
Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Currently there are only a half dozen or varieties grown for sets. Altho I suspect that some of the other long day storage onions would be suitable. Those varieties are Stuttgarter, Yellow Ebenezer, Yellow Rock, Australian Brown, White Ebenezer, and Red Wethersfield. Onions sets are produced from seed by planting in summer and harvesting as they go dormant in the fall. These will be marble sized. They are then stored in cool dry storage until spring when they are replanted as soon as the ground can be worked. They do have a tendency to bolt because they are old enough. Mostly used to get early green onions. The home growers gets the best onions by using plants. Starting the plants is tricky, but many folks do well at it. Most do better by purchasing plants.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Mraider, I started onions from seeds this year. I sowed them thickly in a plastic lidded takeout container, indoors, and then followed the directions I got here:

I never had to clip mine, but I did plant them four at a time in the garden, about two weeks ago. They seem to be doing well. I am growing a variety called Cevennes which has a mild flavor and is supposed to be a good keeper.

Exeter, MO

I planted a long row of onion sets for the first time this year. My one big question concerns the bulb of the onion once it starts growing. Do I keep the soil hilled up around them or is the bulb suppose to show on top of the ground?

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Onion is a leaf vegetable, The bulb needs to be above ground. Cover them and they will not size up.

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)


I've found that onions need extra nitrogen fertilizer, too. They grow much larger bulbs if you follow a fertilizing regimen. Every couple of weeks with a moderately high nitrogen fertilizer should be good.


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