Onions

By Larry Dowell

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, no culture comparable to that of a garden. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”  Thomas Jefferson

With the warming of the days and the heating of the soil, the time for early garden is in full wing. St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and the time for the potatoes to be planted. Those who planted their lettuce in February in a sheltered plot should be seeing results. The next few months are the delightful. Moment that Jefferson was talking about, It’s time to garden

Onion plants and sets are for sale in the garden stores and as we get a few dry, it is time to get them in the ground for early green onions. Yum! Whether you plant onion sets or plants is an individual preference. The plants give an “instant” garden with something to show for the effort of planting. My wife thinks the set are easier to handle and they give a quicker growth, but it is up to the individual. Since the sees take a long time to mature (85 to 135 days), the sets and plants are recommended. If you plant them closer than recommended (3” separation), they can be thinned by the harvest of green onions. Onions should be mulched for week control and moisture retention.

One problem of onions is called “bolting” which is a bloom stalk that the plant will send up later in the season. This stalk should be cut off at ground level as it will cause the onion to rot. Onions are harvested in July.

There are red white and yellow varieties and newer sweeter varieties. The strong varieties store better, so the sweeter kind should be consumed early and the potent ones stored.

from the Master Gardener's Notebook, Marshfield Mail