GROWING SWEET ONIONS

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MAKING YOUR SAVORY,Well, SWEET …

The sweetest & largest onions are traditionally grown from plants or ‘slips’ (as they are often called).  However, often we carry bulbs or ‘sets’ of a sweet variety called Pentium, which is similar to the variety Candy but stores more successfully.  It is an intermediate-day variety, which means it thrives in Indiana.

  • WHEN TO PLANT: Onions are hardy to 20° F.  Plant the bulbs as soon as you can work the ground; if the weather is too cold, they won’t sprout until it warms up. Do NOT plant if the soil is too wet, however – the bulbs will rot.

  • WHERE TO PLANT: Onions prefer a soil with a pH of 6 to 7, and thrive in a loose soil.  They are ideal in raised beds. Apply a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 to 20-20-20) before planting, or add compost or well-rotted manure several weeks in advance.

  • HOW TO PLANT: Plant the bulbs with just ½” of soil covering them, spaced 4” apart. Tamp the soil down well. The onions will eventually grow to 3”-5” in diameter; plan to harvest every other one early, to leave more space for the rest of them.

  • HOW TO GROW: Be sure the bulbs are well watered at planting, and continue to offer ample water during the growing season.  Try to keep the onion tops dry, to reduce disease problems.  Fertilize once a month with a high nitrogen fertilizer.

  • HOW TO HARVEST: Spring-planted onions should mature in mid-summer. Harvest when the tops fall over; pull the onions and let them dry for a few days before clipping off the tops 1” from the bulbs.  Store in a well ventilated area. Sweet onions do not keep as well as other bulbing varieties, but are considerably more mild in flavor.