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Gardening With Laurie: Time to plant onions

By Victoria Advocate
Nov. 9, 2010 at 5:09 a.m.
Updated Nov. 11, 2010 at 5:11 a.m.

Laurie Garretson

By Laurie Garretson

It is so nice having weather that actually feels like fall. And a couple of mornings were really cold. It's only a matter of time before we're going to have to move in potted plants and cover any tender plants that are planted in the ground. Now's the time to get prepared for that job. There's no fun in waiting till the last minute to cover plants. Have all your old sheets and blankets together and easily accessible. If you prefer using frost fabric to protect your tender plants, I suggest that you go ahead and purchase them so you're not running around on the eve of a cold night trying to find some.

Cool weather also means it's time to plant onions, and the sets should be easily found. Onions are a very popular crop to grow. In fact, onions are one of the leading vegetable crops grown in the state. Onions are not only good to eat, but are good for us. Onions are loaded with natural antihistamines and help with inflammation.

There are several short-day varieties that are well suited to this area. You can grow yellow, white, red and of course the popular 1015Y type onion plants. I'm told by many growers that the sweeter onions do not store as well as the other varieties.

Onions need full sun to bulb well and a soil that drains well. For an onion to bulb well, the soil also needs to be loose and crumbly. To loosen a hard or gumbo type soil, add compost.

If you're expecting weeds in the planting area, you can spread corn gluten meal over the planting area. Worked into the top inch of planting soil, corn gluten meal will help to prevent any weed seeds from germinating.

Work plenty of organic fertilizer into the soil before planting the onion sets. Continue feeding every couple of weeks until time to harvest. Plant each individual plant only - to 1-inch deep. Planting the plant too deep will restrict the size of the bulb and will encourage rotting.

If you plan to harvest some of the plants when they're young for green onions, plant each onion plant about 2 to 3 inches apart. When the plants are big enough to harvest for green onions, pull up every other plant. This should then give those onions left in the ground enough space to bulb and grow to maturity.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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