Best time to plant onions in Texas: January to February
Onion plants are valuable because of their use and demand. Whether you are in Central Texas or in the north, planting onions can be your hobby. It is easy to grow, as long as you have the passion and knowledge.
Today, you are going to learn the essentials to grow onions in Texas. All relevant topics will also be covered in this article to help you on this matter.
When is the Best Time to Growing Onions in Texas?
Growing season: Onions are easy to plant because of their hard body. This crop likes cold, so the best time to planting onion sets or seeds is in January to February.
You can start with seedlings or sets for this project.
To get the best harvest, plant onions sets or seeds in raised beds. This can be four inches elevated from the ground. You can do this for all kinds like green onions or red onions.
What are the Health Benefits of Onions?
Here are the best health benefits of including onions in your diet.
Lots of Nutrients
It contains huge amounts of vitamins and minerals for a healthier body. It promotes the normal function of your brain, kidney, and heart.
Promotes A Healthier Heart
This crop can help reduce cholesterol and inflammation of your heart. They also contain antioxidants that fight cancer and diseases.
It contains flavonoids and sulfur compounds that help fight cancer.
Lowers Blood Sugar
You can reduce your blood sugar levels by eating 100 grams of onions. Around 40 milligrams of sugar will be removed from every deciliter of blood. This is due to the sulfur compounds and quercetin inside onions.
When Do You Plant Onions?
The growing season for onions is in Fall or early Spring. That can be mid February or mid summer. Onions have a specific planting time, unlike garlic. But the best time to plant garlic is in late summer.
Fall or spring is the best planting time since it is cool, not cold outside. If it’s too cold outside, your crops will suffer from the frost and die. For the optimum growth of this crop, plant them on a raised bed.
Make sure the soil is fertile for proper nourishment. These crops are heavy feeders. You can use complete fertilizers and organic material for the soil. Keeping the soil well-drained is also necessary.
You can do that by using a soaker hose and placing that on the ground.
Even when you have a small garden, giving your onion plants a full sun is good. This helps produce big bulbs and bigger plants. You don’t need a large area to grow your plant. A dinner table size of land with a good sunny spot is enough. That’s what home gardeners do most of the time.
Start from Onion Seeds or Sets?
Choosing between starting with onion seeds or sets is a matter of preference. If you have the patience and time to grow onions, then you can start with seeds. This is cheaper yet challenging because it is prone to frost damage.
If you want convenience, then go for the set. It is a collection of small bulbs that are intended for planting onion plants. You can get these sets from garden centers. There is a higher success rate when using sets for your onion growth. It is easier to plant onion bulbs since there is less risk from frost. It takes around 3.5 months for you to harvest onions.
How to Prepare the Land for Your Onions?
Whether you are planting in the early spring or fall, having fertile soil is important for growing onions. Onions love loose and healthy soil. Here are things you can do to prepare your land where your onions grow.
- Keep it well-drained
- Put humus or compost if the soil has a hard texture
- Ensure a sunny spot for growing your onions
- Water onions frequently to support growth
- During planting, place the compost 2 inches underground.
- Plant onions 3 inches apart from one another
- If you start with seeds, let them grow until they achieve a pencil size before planting to the ground
- Onion starts germinating after eight days
Planting Onion Sets
When using an onion set for planting, ensure they are 3/4 inch in diameter at maximum. Don’t choose anything bigger than that since they can have stiff tops. You need to observe proper spacing when you are planting. Each set must be 2 to 6 inches apart. If you are having larger transplants, then space them 4 to 6 inches apart. Then bury them 1 to 3 inches into the ground.
Onion is part of the lily family, so they can live around three weeks off from the soil. They grow best in loamy and well-drained soil. If the soil texture is hard, add compost and bury it 1 to 2 inches underground.
Adding Fertilizers To Onion Plants
These crops are heavy feeders, so you need to apply fertilizers 1 to 2 weeks after planting. These plants have a huge requirement for nitrogen. You can weekly apply them with nitrogen-rich fertilizers.
Once the bulb starts to grow and push back the soil, stop adding fertilizer. Don’t put back the soil, instead add mulc around the base. You can use weed-free straw for mulching.
Do You Need To Add Pesticide?
There are two main pests for onions: thrips and maggots. Thrips are tiny insects that are the size of a needle. They attack the green onions tops. To eliminate them, you can use insecticides suitable for it.
Onion maggots attack the base of the plant. To ward them off, you can put a fine mesh at the base of the plant. Place some mulch at the edge of the mesh to keep them in place. Make sure to keep the mulch away from the plant since that attracts the maggots.
Ways of Storing Onions
This crop is dispensable and can easily rot when not properly stored. To prolong their shelf life, farmers cure onions that’s why they have that paper texture. Store onions in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Store them in a well ventilated area to keep them away from tiny insects and molds. It is not advisable to store the bulb and green onion tops in the fridge. Because it is humid and cold inside the fridge, so it speeds up its rotting process.
Before storing the green onion tops, let them dry first. This is to remove excess moisture and prevent molds. After that, you can store it inside a dark cool area.
You can also use mesh bags to store your cured onions. Place your onions inside the mesh bag and let them hang inside your storage area. The ideal temperature for storing is between 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
What are the Varieties of Onion Plants?
How many onions types do you know? There are three general types and they are based on location and temperature. You’ll know more about them below:
Long day onions
Long day onions are best for planting in the north because there is longer summer days. These are the areas under zone 6 which covers the south going west. Some states under zone 6 are Kansas, Ohio, and Kentucky.
Long day requires 14 to 16 hours of sunlight exposure for them to mature. They can be planted during winter or early spring. This variety is also called storage onions. Here are some examples.
Yellow sweet spanish
Walla walla sweet
White sweet spanish
If you are living in the south, the ideal to plant is short day onions. They grow well on shorter sunny days. Short day only require 10 to 12 daylight hours for their bulbing process. These types have smaller bulbs and can thrive in mild cold temperatures.
Short day can mature in 110 days when planted in fall. If you plant them in spring, it will mature in 75 days. Here are examples of this variety:
Texas sweet white
Texas super sweet
This type are sweeter onions and you plant them in fall or early spring. They require 12 to 14 hours of sunlight exposure to mature and produce bulbs. This variety takes around 110 days to mature. Examples for this variety are Cimarron, Sweet Red, and Candy Onion.
Removing Weeds and Grass
You need to remove weeds and grass around your onions because they compete with them. They steal the soil nutrients intended for your onion plants. You can do that by using your bare hands in pulling them out. Otherwise, you can use a hoe for that.
Using your bare hands in pulling out weeds is better to avoid damaging its leaves. There is a relationship between onion leaves and bulb size. The more leaves there are, the bigger is the bulb.
Knowing how to harvest your onions is as important as growing onions. You need to check on the green tops if it is already 6 inches long. Another sign is when the green tops start turning yellow, then it’s time to harvest.
These tops start bending when they are good for harvesting. It usually takes 110 to 120 days for your onion plants to be ready for harvest. After that, you need to cure onions by drying them under the sun. This takes 1-2 weeks to cure them until their outer layer turns dry.
If you have equipment for drying your newly harvested onions, then it will take a few days for this. Once dried, you can store them inside a dark cool area.
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