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Onions & Shallots

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Allium cepa


Plant seed as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Onion seed germinates in a wide range of soil temperature, 18-29°C (65-85°F). Sow and cover seed with ½" of soil and keep moist. Onion seeds started indoors 6-8 weeks ahead of transplanting will be earlier, larger and have a better shape than sets and direct seeded onions. Plant 3-4 seeds in a 1 inch cell. Thin to 2 seedlings per cell. Seedlings can be trimmed 3-4" in height to promote stockier transplants. Thin or transplant to 3-4" apart in rows 18-24" apart. To plant onion sets, simply press sets into the soil about 2" apart. Later thin to about 4-6" apart to allow bulbs to mature. Bunching onions can be left at 1-1½" apart. Space shallots 1" apart in rows 4" apart.


Onions benefit from full sun, a soil pH of 6.0-7.5 and a well drained soil with plenty of compost or well rotted manure added. Feed with a complete balanced fertilizer during the growing season, particularly when the bulbs start to form.


Bunching onions are used when young and green. To harvest storage onions: when onion tops begin to fall over, turn brown and wither, it is time to harvest. Tipping bulbs over to break some of the roots will speed drying. Pull and place onions in dry, warm airy location out of direct sun for up to 3 weeks to cure. After curing process is complete, store in cool, dry location. The drier the onions, the better they store.

Pests & Diseases:

Storage rot may be the result of diseases encountered during the growing season. Make sure onions are thoroughly cured before storing.


Beet, cabbage family, carrot, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsnip, pepper, spinach, strawberry, tomato, turnip.