How to Grow Onions – Start to Finish

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botanical interests seed packets yellow granex onion

Yesterday I planted a  packet of Yellow Granex Onion seeds and thought I would repost this little how to grow onions tutorial for those of you have never grow your own onions from seed before. Not only are growing your own onions super easy to do, if you plant them now they should be ready around the same time your tomatoes are ready to harvest.  And you know what that means right?

Homemade Salsa and Heirloom Tomato Sauce baby!

onion seeds picture

Brief description: The Yellow Granex Onion is mild, sweet, and great for storing {also known as Vidalia Onion}. If you are from Washington State, and like Walla Walla Sweet onions, my dad told me these taste just like them.

Where to Plant Onions:  They thrive in warmer climates with 12 hours of sunlight. Onions can be sown directly outside starting in late fall for a late spring harvest. Or started indoors in early January {like I’m doing} and transplanted outside in early spring when the weather warms up. Onions do well in a sunny location/raised beds/or even a greenhouse.

yellow granex onion

Planting Seeds:  Plant seeds 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep, with 2 seeds every 4 inches apart.

onion transplants

Growing Tips:  Water throughout growing season, including winter.  Onions can withstand a freeze if they are sufficiently hydrated.

How to Harvest:  Harvest when their necks feel soft and/or the tops have fallen over. When 50% of the tops have fallen over and are lying on the ground, go ninja and knock the rest over. Then about a week or two later when much of the foliage has dried, carefully dig the onions out and dry them in the garden in the sun for a couple of days.

After drying, remove the roots, clip the stems so you are leaving about 1″ of the neck.

Have you ever thought about storing your onions in pantyhose? All the cool people are doing it! Go HERE to learn how.

Favorite Recipes with Onions - 

French Onion Soup – Perfect for chilly winter nights.

Favorite recipes with onions 

Rainbow Salsa – Homemade salsa is the best stuff on earth.

Will YOU be growing onions this year? Do you have a favorite variety? Do tell!


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  1. Vidalia Onions are my favorite, they go good with anything. But that’s just my personal opinion. My sister is planning raised bed gardening this year, also vertical (with pallets) and I’m hoping she puts in some onion. Will let you know how the vertical gardens go, not sure what she’s putting in but that’s going to be fun to watch! By the way, I’m in NE Ohio so it will be a challenge…sneeze and the weather changes.

  2. You know, I was talking with my dad (from MI) just a couple days ago about vidalias. He went on about eating them like apples. I told him about Walla Wallas (my husband is from WA) and my dad couldn’t believe that Walla Wallas were anything but some special name given to vidalias. Know anything?

  3. Vidalia onions are from Georgia (Vidalia, GA). They are much like Walla Wallas. They are great. Some folks in the south eat them Vadalias like apples.

  4. LOVE these posts about gardening in real time, when you’re planting (indoors and out), and this start to finish post. Thank you so much!! Your hard work inspires me and I’m working along with you here in the Portland area.

  5. The cheap shop lights with good old regular fluorescent bulbs hung about an inch away from seedlings after they sprout work so awesome! They don’t use much electricity.

  6. Did you start them under your grow lights?

  7. I actually got FREE onion bulbs using the zombie mulch coupons a few months back . Although the packaging says plant in the fall I think I might take a shot at planting them this weekend in the garden beds.

    What do you think? Should I try it or just buy seeds?

    Here is our current update on our garden adventure as well:

  8. Egyptian Walking Onions. The only Perennial onion I know of…you should check it out.

  9. I’m growing red wing onions this year. My 11 year old son LOVES red onions. His favorite thing to eat is a sandwich with cheese, mustard, pickles and a whole sliced red onion!

  10. Mavis,
    Awhile back in one of your posts you showed a tool that you can use to make grow pots out of newspaper. Can you tell me what it is? This is my first year starting from seeds, so it will be a challenge.

  11. Hi Mavis,
    Do you keep any of your starts in your unheated greenhouse? I have a friend that grew all his starts in the greenhouse. I have always grown them in the house without lights and don’t think it is warm enough out there. If it would work space wise it would be much easier. When do you start plants out there? I love your blog and I am so getting the itch to go rearrange my one large garden bed into several small ones. I have great plans. :)
    Thank you!

    • Mavis Butterfield says:

      Hi Fran, I keep some of them in the greenhouse and others {like tomatoes and peppers} in the house because it’s still a little to chilly outside.

  12. Jenn, I make newspaper pots by saving a few cans ( soup, tomato sauce, etc) you can generously dampen newspaper with water then wrap around the can, fold the newspaper under the bottom so the bottom is completely covered. I slide the newspaper off the can, sit it on it’s bottom and let it dry for a couple of days. Then you are ready to fill with potting mix and plant your seeds. I then place them in a tray (any tray will do) as long as it holds an inch or two of water. If you’d like to see examples just search on Google “Newspaper Planting Pots” if you choose images you will find a wide variety to choose from, good luck.

  13. Where do you store your onions? In the pantyhose post you mention keeping them at 45 degrees, but the only cool spot in my house is the refrigerator! I just buy onions as I need them since they go soft on me and/or sprout.

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