Onion seeds are not common and they are expensive. But, if you want to grow them, then you have to know what kind of winter onions you need. If you want to grow winter onions but don’t know which type of onion seeds you need, then this article will tell you all about it.
Winter Onion Seeds For Sale?
There are many types of winter onion seeds available. Some of these varieties are very rare and some are even endangered species. There is no way that you can get them all at once, so you must buy them one by one when they become available.
The most popular variety of winter onion seeds is the Chinese White or Chinese Red Onion (Allium cepa). These varieties were bred in China and have been grown commercially since the 1950’s. They are used mainly for making pickles, sauerkraut and other fermented foods.
In fact, there are two kinds of Chinese red onions. One is the regular red onion (Allium cepa) and the other is a special variety called “Red Giant” (Allium tuberosum). These varieties have larger heads than normal onions and they taste sweeter.
The Red Giant is much more valuable because it grows well year round.
Another very popular kind of winter onion is the Egyptian Walking Onion (Allium cepa proliferum). These onions are rare and expensive. The Egyptian walking onions can grow to be two feet tall.
They thrive in both tropical and subtropical climates.
Still more types of winter onions include the Texas Early Grano (Allium cepa var. porrum) and the Mexican Yellow (Allium cepa var. aggregatum).
These onions are used mainly in the food industry and they are not grown for home gardens.
If you want to grow these rare and exotic species of winter onions, then you should start looking for them as soon as possible. If you wait too long, then you might miss out on the best types. Ordering Winter onion seeds over the internet is probably your best option because they are not available in your local garden center or nursery.
Seeds, When To Plant Them
When you buy your winter onion seeds, they should be planted immediately. If you can’t plant them right away, then be sure to keep them in a warm, dark place. Keep the seeds in a plastic bag and make several holes in it for ventilation.
You can expect your winter onions to start growing within a month after you plant them. You should be able to harvest your onions after about four months.
If you want to start your winter onions indoors, then plant three or four seeds in each container. When the plants are big enough to transplant, choose the ones that are growing the fastest and most vigorously. These are the plants that will grow into the biggest winter onions.
Transplant them into larger containers and make sure they get as much sunlight as possible.
After at least three months, the plants should be ready to be transplanted outside. Make sure they get at least 8 hours of sunlight a day and add some rich garden soil to the hole before you plant them. After a month, the onions will start growing and they will be big enough to harvest in the middle of the following summer.
How To Plant Them
When you are ready to plant your winter onions, you will need to prepare the soil. Your garden bed should receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight a day. If it does not, then consider adding more soil to increase its fertility.
You can also add some cow manure and some bone meal to increase the amount of nutrients in the soil.
If you want to grow your winter onions in containers, choose large ones. The bigger the container, the more kinds of onions you can expect to grow. Make sure the containers have good drainage holes.
Fill them three quarters of the way full with your enriched soil and plant your seeds. Keep them watered and make sure they get at least eight hours of direct sunlight a day.
The Importance Of Good Fertilizer
These onions need a lot of nutrients and other important minerals in order to grow well. You should add some fertilizer to the soil every couple of weeks. You can either buy some, or you can make your own with, for example, some bone meal and some cow manure.
Add it to the soil in moderation because too much of a good thing can be bad.
You can also fertilize your winter onions by giving them some fish emulsion every now and then. Dilute the emulsion with water first and spray it on the plants.
When the plants get bigger, you should mulch around them with some shredded leaves, grass clippings or even some rich compost. This will make sure that the soil stays moist and it will provide more nutrients for the onions.
More On Weeding
Your winter onions are going to be very close to each other when they grow so you will need to weed around them. It is important that you pull out the weeds by their roots. Any that you miss will end up stealing some of the nourishment that would have gone to your onions.
Pulling out the weeds also helps remove them from the soil so they are not able to grow next year. If you don’t want to do it by hand, you might want to invest in a soil knife or hoe. This will make the job easier for you.
You might also want to cover your onion bed with some row cover. This will prevent many of the common weeds from growing. You can make your own by buying some netting at a local farm supply store and stretching it over the bed.
Common Pests And Diseases
Your winter onions will probably be susceptible to a few different insect and diseases that like to attack the allium family. Some common ones are the onion fly, the vegetable leaf miner, downy mildew and the white rot. If you see any of these problems, take the necessary steps to control them.
If they are really bad you might have to sacrifice your current crop and start again with fresh seeds.
Where To Go From Here
Once you have grown your winter onions, you will know more about the process and be able to troubleshoot any problem that comes up. You will probably want to expand your garden to include other vegetables and herbs. There are many different kinds so you will be able to pick and choose the ones that you like best.
One type of garden that is very common is the flower garden. If you want to plant one of these, then pick out some annuals, perennials and bulbs. Before you pick out plants, think about where you want to put it and how big you want it to be.
Annuals can be planted every year, perennials will last for several years and the bulbs can be planted and will come back every spring.
Also, think about the colors and types of flowers that you want to have in your garden. Something else to keep in mind is if you will need to add any more fertilizer or any other special treatment to help them grow better. Some examples of these types of gardens include the rose garden, the wildflower garden and the cutting garden.
A cutting garden is one that has annuals, perennials and bulbs in it that you can cut and bring into your home to add color. Some of the types of flowers that people like to have in these gardens are marigolds, zinnias, nicotiana, snapdragons, asters, calendulas and some types of tulips.
Once you have decided what type of garden you want, it is time to start planting.
Sources & references used in this article:
Reducing nitrate content of NFT grown winter onion plants (Allium cepa L.) by partial replacement of NO3 with amino acid in nutrient solution by A Güneş, A İnal, M Aktaş – Scientia Horticulturae, 1996 – Elsevier
Analysis of the growth and yield of overwintered onions by JL Brewster, PJ Salter, RJ Darby – Journal of Horticultural Science, 1977 – Taylor & Francis
Cultivar choice in winter onions for harvesting as ripe onions. by L Vanparys – … Onderzoek-en Voorlichtingscentrum voor Land-en …, 2000 – cabdirect.org