The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Onion Planting Tips

Using a hoe to open a seed trench.

Thursday was the first big planting day of the season (8 beds of lettuce, onions, and greens.)  I broadcast most seeds across the beds, filling my hand with the proper number of seeds then gently scattering them over the soil surface.  But for my onions, I've had better luck with rows, so I thought some of you might be interested in a quick tutorial in how to use a hoe to create rows.

2008 onionsTo make a shallow planting trench with your hoe, tilt the tool a bit to the side so that only one point of the hoe is in the ground, then drag the hoe toward you.  An even shallower trench can be made by putting the hoe handle down flat on the ground where you want the trench and lightly stepping on it.  In retrospect, maybe the latter is the technique I should have used since onions seeds are only supposed to be half an inch deep --- it's been a long time since I planted last year's onions!

A couple more notes before you rush out and plant your onions.  First of all, most people around here buy sets, but I've read that starting your onions from seed results in better storage onions (and seeds are much cheaper!)  When you're choosing your seeds, be sure to know the difference between long day onions for northern gardens and short day onions for southern gardens.  We're right smack on the dividing line, so we chose long day onions (Copra Hybrid, to be exact) and had great luck with them last year.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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