These veggies may make you cry when you start dicing them, but they also bring a smile to your face when they take a recipe from mediocre to mouthwatering. Onions are an excellent choice to add to your personal garden because they supply you with a large yield as long as they have plenty of room to grow. Knowing how far apart to plant onions is a massive factor in the success of your onion crops.
Spacing when planting onions is crucial because they require space to stretch their roots and establish themselves. Figuring out how far apart to plant onion sets isn’t something that most people do independently.
It takes a small amount of time to research this information, but once you find the perfect spacing for your plants, your onion bulbs grow to be large and flavorful.
Before we tell you the spacing requirements of onions, let’s dive into some crucial information so that the plants form bulbs.
There are many onion varieties to choose from, and home gardeners have to know which to plant so that their onions form bulbs and give you something to harvest.
Onions may like the cool weather, but the plants only form small bulbs without the right amount of sun. Day length plays a significant role in an onion’s ability to grow, and some varieties do better in your growing zone than others.
Short-day varieties only form their bulbs after they receive at least 11 to 12 hours of daylight. Day-neutral onions require 12 to 14 hours of daylight. Long-day varieties require over 14 hours of daylight.
In general, long-day onions are best for gardeners in northern regions, and short-day onions are best for southern areas.
On top of choosing the right onions based on day length, there are some onion types that you may prefer over the other.
There are many interesting types of onions to consider, like green onions, scallions, leeks, shallots, yellow onions, chives, and red onions. These provide different flavors and textures, but only you can decide which is best to grow.
If you prefer to harvest onions throughout the entire growing season, it may be best to plant bunching onions that are safe to harvest every week or so.
If you only want one big harvest at the end of the season, planting onion varieties like white onions may be better.
There are numerous options to consider before you plant onion sets and onion seeds, so make sure you evaluate your wants and needs before coming to a decision.
How Far Apart to Plant Onions
The spacing when planting onions and learning the way to space tomato plants and other garden veggies is almost as important as the preparation. Onions enjoy having a light soil type with lots of drainage.
Whether you learn how far apart to plant lettuce, onions, or another vegetable, know that adding organic matter to your raised beds or garden beds is an easy way to keep the dirt fertile and add drainage. Tilling in compost or manure is helpful for this process.
You can also make an onions container garden if you don’t have a lot of yard space or any at all. Onions don’t mind living in pots.
How Far Apart to Plant Onion Sets
Onions sets are small bulbs that were grown during the previous year and stored through the long winter. These are some of the easiest to grow if you don’t want to hassle with seeds or transplants.
Find onion sets at your local garden centers if you don’t already have your own. Onion sets should have been stored in a dry place over to winter to stay dormant.
Viable onion sets are pretty firm but can be squeezed gently. Sets that are flat in shape are unlikely to grow well, so find the ones that look best before using them.
Knowing how far to plant onion sets isn’t too hard to figure out. They have shallow roots, and some like to be closer together than others, depending on the size of the plant itself.
Large bulbs form better when they have more space, and small bulbs are more likely if they have minimal space.
If planting bunching onions like green onions, space each set to be at least two inches apart. Medium-sized onions have to have three to four inches of space. Large-sized onions do best when they have around four to five inches of space between each plant.
Spacing When Planting Onions from Onion Seedlings
Planting onion seeds indoors is an easy way to start them, but you have to know how transplanting works once they turn into seedlings. Transplanting onion seedlings is a method most people use who want large, dry onions to slice.
Plant transplants in the early spring after the last frost when the garden beds till easily. Plant each seedling about one inch deep with two to four inches between each one. Also, put 12 to 18 inches between each row of the garden.
Onion germination happens when the temperatures reach 68°F to 77°F. At this rate, the onions should be bulbing and ready to harvest by late summer.
Basic Care of Onion Plants
Spacing when planting onions is only one factor. Onions also have a lot of other different needs. Onion plants do best when the soil is well-draining and slightly acidic. Full sun is a must, so make sure there is no shade where your garden bed is located.
Because onions require high soil fertility, add all-purpose fertilizer to the beds before planting and again four to five weeks after planting.
Because of their shallow roots, they also require a large amount of water compared to other veggies. Give them an inch of water immediately after planting them, and then give them another inch of water every week while they grow.
If the temperatures are hot and dry, extra watering sessions might become necessary. To prevent additional evaporation and protect the onion roots, add a few inches of fresh mulch to the beds and base of the plants.
Companion Planting for Onions
Nobody wants wasted space in their vegetable garden, and the shallow roots make them the perfect plants for companions. Companion planting fills the unused space of your beds and benefits your onions and some of the other plants in your garden.
Planting a border of onion plants around broccoli, cabbage, and other brassica family members helps keep out pests like the cabbage worm. Onions also deter Japanese beetles and rabbits to help protect your lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers.
Of course, there are some plants that you should never place next to your onions. Peas, beans, sage, and asparagus are all poor choices for companion plants for onions. You might also want to avoid other onion-like plants like leeks, shallots, and garlic.
Onion Pests to Look Out for
Like most fruits and veggies, some pests try to take over your beds and destroy all your hard work. One of the most common pests of onions are thrips. Thrips are tiny insects that are yellow or black.
Adults lay their eggs on the plants, and the nymphs feed on the leaves until they burrow down into the soil. Their mouthparts tear open plant cells to feed on the juices, and one of their favorite daily treats is onions.
The damage they cause often shows up as white patches, curling leaves, or silver lines that make the leaves look strange. They slow the growth of the onions, which leads to a small yield and sometimes death.
There are a few recommended techniques you may try to keep the thrip population down. Avoid purchasing transplants from southern areas that may be infested.
Avoid using sets from last year’s onions. Use straw as mulch to deter the thrips. If none of these work, there are lots of sprays on the market that work flawlessly.
Onion maggots are another common pest to your plants. The pupae spend the entire winter in the soil, and the adults emerge in the early spring. Female flies look for a host crop and lay their eggs at the base of the stem.
When the onion fly eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the roots and ultimately destroy the root system. Applying sand or diatomaceous earth to the base of the plants is the easiest way to deter onion maggots.
Yellow sticky traps, crop rotation, and floating row covers are other strategies that may work for you and protect your crops. When all else fails, make a DIY spray for thrips and other common pests.
Put the ingredients inside the spray bottle and shake. Spray the base and tops of your plants to keep away thrips and other pests.
We love nothing more than peeling away the papery skin of an onion and admiring the beauty that results from a growing season full of hard work.
There are dozens of onion plants to choose from, and learning how far apart to plant onion sets is one vital way to ensure that you grow the biggest, juiciest onions possible.
When growing any fruit or vegetable at home, one of the most rewarding parts is when you get to harvest your crops and enjoy them for weeks and months after the season ends.
If learning how far apart to plant onions has helped you grow bigger bulbs, share this list of tips about spacing when planting onions on Facebook and Pinterest.