In order to grow the best onions you need to get the onion starts in the ground in early March to grow the biggest and best onions, or use onion seeds that should be started in January or February indoors.
Here are some tips to grow the biggest and best onions
Pick your favorite Onions to grow
One of my favorite onions is Candy onions which is a larger onion that has a mild sweet flavor. This is a great onion to grow throughout the U.S. being adaptable to many climates. Typically they take about 85 days to reach full maturity for harvesting.
Another is Walla Walla Sweet Onions which is a large sweet onion. It grows best in cooler climates and takes approximately 115 days to reach full maturity for harvest. They are best used soon after harvesting and are not good for storing over the winter.
Yellow Sweet Spanish Onions are a very large sweet onions reaching over 1 pound in size, that can be stored for 6 months to eat and enjoy all winter. They grow well in northern states and take up to 115 days to reach full maturity.
Starting Onion Seeds
Once you have picked out your favorite onions that you and your family like, it is easy to get started.
Plant the seeds indoors on a window sill that gets 4 hours of sunlight or under a grow light.
When planting the seeds use a seed-starting mix in December or January by placing several seeds in each planting cell.
Allow the seedlings to grow to about 4-6 inches tall with a small bulb forming before planting in the garden in March.
If you plant seeds directly in the ground you should plant after hard freezes are done.
When you select your location for planting onions be sure that they are in an area of the garden that receives full sun for 6 or more hours, the more the better.
The soil should be well-draining with a mixture of sand and fertile soil for best results.
Onions should be spaced 4-6 inches apart to allow the onions to reach full size, if they are too close you can thin them and use the onions in salads or other dishes.
Onions need 1 inch of water per week unless you have extreme heat, in these conditions increase watering by 1/2 inch per week, once the heat wave is over go back to 1 inch per week.
Onions are heavy feeders, you should feed them every two weeks with a Nitrogen rich organic fertilizer until the onions push out of the soil.
Although you can harvest onions when the onions are small it is best to let the onions reach full size letting them grow until the leaves dry turn brown and fold over to the ground. If you are going to eat them right away there is nothing to do but if you intend to store the onions you will need to let them cure for the best results.
Onions that are planted in the Spring are usually ready to harvest in mid-summer.
Curing the Onions for Storage
To cure onions for storage you can pull the onions up leaving them on the top of the soil if you will not be watering and if it is not going to rain.
If there is a chance of them getting wet you can lay them out on a screen under cover or newspapers in your garage to complete the curing.
You can trim the onion tops back to a length of a few inches as they are drying.
It takes about 2 weeks to dry the onions properly for storage.
Once they are dry they can be stored in a mesh bag in a cool dry location, stronger more pungent onions will store longer than sweeter onions.
Do not store them near fruit or potatoes due to the ethylene gas that those vegetables and fruit release causing the onions to rot.
Do not store onions in a refrigerator due to the moisture.