When to plant onions for the winter
Onions are an indispensable crop for any gardener. It not only enriches the garden with a harvest, but also makes it possible to enjoy fresh herbs throughout the season. However, to achieve successful vegetable growth, it is important to know how and when to plant onions for the winter. To achieve success in this matter, you should not rely on the advice of old-timers. I advise you to better listen to experienced gardeners who are guided by science, and not just experience.
Winter onions are one of the most popular vegetable crops in our region. It differs from the spring variety in its high resistance to cold and disease, as well as its constant yield. I’ll tell you further about how to properly plant onions before the onset of cold weather, how to care for them and in what soil, how to stimulate growth.
When to plant onions for the winter: the best time
The optimal period for planting winter onions in most of the territory depends on climatic conditions. But usually this occurs at period from late October to early November. Choose days when the soil is still warm and moist. This will allow the onions to take root before frost, but will not allow green shoots to form.
Where is the best place to plant winter onions?
The place for planting winter onions should be chosen carefully. Here are some key recommendations:
- Sunny place. Winter onions love bright sun. Therefore, choose an area with good light where the vegetable will receive 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
- Good drainage. Make sure the area has good drainage. Onions do not tolerate stagnant water. Raised beds or drainage systems can help prevent excess moisture.
- Fertile soil. Prepare the soil by adding compost or humus to improve fertility. Onions need nutritious soil to grow successfully.
- Location. Remember to rotate crops. Do not plant onions in the same area where they or other members of the onion family have grown in the previous two years. This will help prevent diseases and pests.
Crop rotation of winter onions
All grains (except oats), corn, beets, mustard, rapeseed, phacelia, peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and any cabbage are considered to be good predecessors for winter onions in the garden. To avoid nematode infestation on onions, do not plant them after beans, potatoes, parsley, celery, alfalfa and red clover.
Which bulbs are NOT suitable for sowing?
Sick or damaged bulbs should never be used for planting onions. Before planting, warm healthy onions in warm water with potassium permanganate. To obtain a solution you will need 1 g of potassium permanganate per 1 liter of water. After 20–25 minutes spent in potassium permanganate, lightly rinse the onion sets with water. Then he will be ready to disembark.
How to prepare the soil for planting winter onions
Soil preparation plays an important role in the success of your winter onion harvest. Here are some steps:
- Dig up the soil. In the fall, before planting onions, the soil on the site needs to be dug up to a depth of 20–25 cm. In the process, remove weeds and plant debris from the site. This will help prevent competition for nutrients and moisture.
- Fertilize the soil. Apply compost or humus and a good mineral fertilizer rich in phosphorus and potassium at the rate of 5–6 kg per 1 m². This will help the onions develop strong roots and bulbs.
- Plant deep. The bulbs should be planted to a depth of about 5–7 cm. The distance between the bulbs should be about 10 cm, and between the rows – 15–20 cm. The bulbs should be buried so that their tops are at soil level.
- Deepen the seeds. If you are going to sow winter onions from seeds, deepen them 1 cm into the soil and compact them.
Caring for winter onions
Caring for winter onions after planting is also important for a successful harvest. Here are a few steps and recommendations for caring for the crop:
- Watering. In the early fall, after planting, water the onions regularly to ensure the roots are adequately hydrated. Keep the soil moist but not excessively wet to prevent the bulbs from rotting.
- Fertilizer. In the spring, when the onions begin to actively grow, fertilize them with nitrogen-containing fertilizer to promote the development of green mass.
- Thinning. When the bulbs begin to grow, thin out the plants, leaving enough space between them (about 10 cm) so that they can grow freely. This will help prevent competition for nutrients.
- Useful measures. If you are at risk of weeds, weed your onion area regularly. Look for signs of disease and pests such as slugs and thrips. Carry out appropriate control and control measures if necessary.
- Frost protection. During the colder months, be sure to give your onions extra protection. Make sure the area is covered with mulch to prevent the roots and bulbs from freezing.
- End of the growing season. In the spring, when the onion finishes its growing season, stop watering and fertilizing it. Water only when necessary to maintain adequate moisture.
- Harvesting. Signs of onion ripeness are: onion feathers are 80% yellowed and light; the seed has formed (leave one inflorescence), Onions are usually harvested in the summer: the heads are dug up, shaken off the ground and dried in the sun.
Do you plant onions for the winter? Share, do you adhere to the above rules or act in accordance with your own? How much harvest did you harvest last season? Share your experience with us and other readers. We will be glad to receive advice and feedback!