Some people buy onion bulb sets (small bulbs) to plant directly into their garden in Spring, and some like to start them from seed. It’s definitely much cheaper to start your own from seed, so that’s what I’m gonna try this year.
I started my seeds over the weekend (Jan 23). They’ll need 8-10 weeks indoors, so find out when the last frost is expected in your area, and then count back the weeks from there to see when you should plant onions as well.
Starting seeds is super easy. (It’s keeping them alive and flourishing once they have been transplanted into the garden that’s the trick!)
Here’s how to start onions indoors from seed. Really, you would start any other seeds the same way:
First, gather your materials.
- Seed Starting Mix- note: NOT potting soil!!
- Containers- I’m using Dixie cups, ’cause I have them. You could also use yogurt cups, egg cartons, or a plastic tray. It should be about an inch and a half or so deep.
- A plastic tray to hold your containers, and to catch the water that will drain out. I use the tray from a package of cookies, or from bakery items.
Poke holes in the bottom of your container. This will help protect the fragile seedlings from being over-watered. I just used a shish-kabob skewer.
After placing your containers in the tray, fill them with seed starting mix.
Next, water the containers until you see the water leaking out of the bottom of them. The medium should be nice and moist. You may have to let them sit for several minutes to fully absorb the water. You don’t want your seeds to float, but they should definitely be kept moist.
Get your seeds ready! I’m planting Valencia Onions. (You do need to find out which varieties grow best in your area.)
I like to poke a hole to drop my seeds into. They need to be about 1/4″ deep. Then lightly cover the seeds back over.
I started out planting three seeds at a time, but I’m only gonna do two per cup this year. Once they grow a bit, I’ll have to thin these to one plant per cup, and I hate to waste more seeds than I need to, you know?
Once all of my cups are full, I slip the entire tray into a large ziploc bag, leaving it open slightly for ventilation. This creates a mini greenhouse. Then I put it on top of the fridge ( a warm place away from direct light) to allow the seeds to germinate.
Make sure the soil stays moist by pouring water into the plastic container for the cups to absorb through the drainage holes in the bottom, as needed.
In a few days, I should have some seedlings emerging!
What to Do Once Your Seedlings Start Growing
Some of my onion tops had grown so tall that they were falling over, so I gave them a trim. It’s recommended to trim back to 3-4 inches. They look much better now! Back under the lights they go, about 1 inch from the lights.
One of my bulbs burned out though, so I know they aren’t getting enough light. I started hardening them off (getting them used to being outside a little at a time) so hopefully they’ll be ready to go into the garden next week!
So, there you have it class. Easy peasy! Any questions?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.