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Growing Unique Onions from Seed

Before we started growing at our farm I had never, ever, grown a respectable onion. No matter where I gardened - in the backyard or in our community garden plots - the onions ended up golf ball sized at best. Perhaps it's because I crammed as many things into my pint-sized gardens as I could?

With our new "tiny farm" garden in 2017, though, I had lovely soil and a feeling of spaciousness to grow all that I wanted in FULL SUN! I decided to order seeds of several interesting varieties of onions and shallots rather than grow from sets. I seeded them thickly in a re-used plastic clam-shell container in early March, put them under the fluorescent lights, and transplanted the skinny plants out to the garden in May. While hope springs eternal for a gardener I was still surprised to harvest a bountiful crop that first fall - with full-sized onions!

And I was especially excited to grow shallots. They can be pricey to buy as sets but they are as easy to grow from seed as onions. I found that both onions and shallots are very tough little seedings that can be grown close together until transplant time, taking little space under the grow lights. The varieties I have grown also keep well, so I have home-grown onions and shallots to cook with all winter.

This spring I seeded more onions and shallots, including some new varieties: Copra, Zoey, Rossa D'Inverno Rubino and Rossa Di Milano onions, Ambition shallots, and a couple types of scallions. I'm hoping to once again enjoy fresh onions this summer (Greek salad!!) and a fall harvest to see us through the winter.

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