Time to Start the Onion Seeds

A Friend Sent Me These Seeds As a Surprise

A Friend Sent Me These Seeds As a Surprise

If I want robust onion plants to set out in April (the time where the soil has dried out enough for planting here in Connecticut) I need to start the seeds now.  There are two other ways beside seeds to get onions from your garden: onion sets, which are tiny little onions, and onion plants, both of which are planted directly into the soil in the spring.  I’ve tried sets and they don’t keep well into the winter for me.  Plants were my method of choice but they’ve gotten expensive.  I tried seeds last year and was rewarded with scads of onions that kept until I ran out of them.  Onion seeds can be planted directly into the garden, but here they are best started ahead of time.

We live on an old onion farm, the proud site where the Southport Globe Onion was developed in the 18thCentury.   I am going to try planting some of those seeds, along with one named Copra, my usual variety.  A friend sent me a packet of the Southport Globe as a surprise and I am excited to try to grow it here again.  I think the old farmer who built our house would be pleased.

Plant Two Seeds In Each Hole

Plant Two Seeds In Each Hole

I have a couple of 128 section planting flats with plastic dome covers.  I fill them with organic sterilized potting soil (available in big box garden centers) and plant two seeds per hole as the packet promises only 75% germination.  The rule of thumb in planting seeds is that they are planted at twice the depth of the size of the seed.  After firming the soil over the seeds, I put them under grow lights in the cellar on a heating mat.  This isn’t necessary as I started all my seeds on a radiator or a sunny warm window ledge for years before I treated myself to this extravagance.

As soon as the green shoots start appearing, remove the cover as there is a fungal disease called “damping off” that can fell all the little plants in a day, if they are too wet.

UPDATE:  April 10th, they are almost large enough to transplant into the garden

UPDATE: April 10th, they are almost large enough to transplant into the garden

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