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Grow Onions from Sets and Seeds

Have you tried growing your own onions? It’s easy. Onions don’t take up much space and you can even plant them among your flowers. The hardest thing about growing onions is deciding what sort to grow, so why not try a few different kinds. Here’s a quick primer on onions and how to grow them.

Chives : start from seed in your herb garden. They look pretty as a border, especially when they flower. To use chives, cut with scissors and snip over soups or into salads. Chives will keep coming back for several years.

Scallions : grow these from seed, too. Choose a sunny spot and keep well watered. Plant new seeds at intervals throughout the summer. Scallions planted in the fall will often survive the winter and start growing again in early spring.

White , yellow and red onions: you can grow all onions from seed, but you’ll find it easier to plant sets, baby onions started at the nursery. Sometimes they look like mini onions, other times they look like scallions. Just plant them in good soil (not too deep) in a sunny spot and water. The onion bulbs will grow on top of the soil. Pick through the summer for fresh eating. In the fall, when the leaves have turned yellow, harvest for winter storage.

Shallots : Now’s the time to plant these mild-flavored members of the onion family. You can buy organic shallots from catalogs. Plant so that the top part of the bulb is just under the soil surface. Make sure to pick a sunny spot. Within a few days you’ll see green shoots poking up. Your shallots will be ready when the leaves turn yellow in mid-summer.

Garlic : you’re going to have to wait for the fall to plant garlic. It goes into the ground at the same time as you plant your tulips and daffodils. Garlic growers often run out of seed garlic so if you want to plant garlic later this year, place your order now.

Have you had success growing onions? Let me know if you have any tips to help our readers. Email me at

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