*Open box upon arrival, store in a cool, well-ventilated area
*Keep near light, with roots slightly damp until planting
*It is ideal that they get planted within a week of arrival
*Onion plants are very resilient and will bounce back from any wear from shipping.
*You will notice they have been trimmed once, and you may want to give them another trim of about ½” which will spur more growth before planting.
We are pleased to provide you with the shallot/onion starter transplant plugs that were greenhouse grown for us by our trusted organic farmers. These are the same onions planted by them for use in production and sold widely throughout the US through Organic Valley and other organic distributors. This is why we know you will find great success in growing these onions. These onion starter transplants are known to take off quickly, have less neck rot and longer storage. These are fresh onion plugs and are not dormant therefore they should be planted upon receiving. If you can’t plant right away, open the box, keep the onions near light, and keep the root slightly damp with a light spray of water until planting although you should not wait too long to plant.
Soil Preparation & Fertilization:
Onions need a place to grow that has full sun. Loose soil rich in nitrogen is ideal. It is recommended that you dress the soil with compost or a well-balanced fertilizer before planting. (Keene Organics Garlic Fertilizer is a great option!) Proper drainage is also key to growing great onions. If you have a heavier soil, it is recommended to plant them into raised beds or raised bed rows to promote sufficient drainage.
Plant onions close to the surface, making sure all the roots are covered. It is best to plant into damp soil and water shortly after planting. There are a couple of good ways to plant onions.
Option #1: Plant single onion plants 4” apart in rows that are 10-12” apart.
Option #2: Plant groups of 3 onion plants 10” apart in rows that are 10-12” apart. This allows for all 3 onions to spread out and grow to full size. This method also allows for easier weeding between plants when they are small.
Onions have shallow root systems & do best with about 1” of water per week, especially when they are bulbing.
Onions do not do a good job of shading out weeds so it is important to keep up with weeding, especially early on. If you use method #2 above, cultivating can be easier in the early stages.
Pest & Disease Control:
Adequate air flow & using crop rotation reduces the risk of foliar diseases in onions. Maintain proper spacing & keeping the weeds down will help reduce excess moisture. Thrips are the most common pest of onions. Damage from these tiny pests appears as gray or silver markings on the leaves. They can be controlled organically with Neem oil, safer soap & Pyrethrin.
You can always harvest onions to eat fresh throughout the growing season, however you will want to wait until you see the onion tops start to turn brown & fall over before harvesting for storage. At this point, pull the onions and cure in the sun, if possible, for 2-4 days. You will then move them indoors to finish drying. If weather does not permit outdoor curing, you can lay onions in a single layer in a well-ventilated area. Fully indoor drying will likely add to the drying time. Onions need to be thoroughly dried to avoid rotting in storage.
Onions are fully cured and ready for storage when the necks are no longer green & are completely closed up. Trim dried leaves and store in a netted bag or crate with adequate airflow. Be careful when storing as bruises can cause disease in storage. *Note: Sweeter onions have a shorter storage time than stronger tasting onions so be sure to eat them first. Well-cured & properly handled onions can keep for up to 4-7 months.