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How to Grow Onion

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It's very easy to grow the versatile onion. A few onions take up very little space in the home garden. With a little care and attention, gardeners are rewarded with a bumper crop of big onion bulbs. Space limited? Try growing onions in a container on the patio or deck.

There's a lot of incentive to grow onions in the vegetable garden. It's versatility in the kitchen is unsurpassed. It's used in countless recipes. It's eaten raw in salads, and atop burgers and hot dogs. It's sauteed to garnish a variety of meats. It's a vital ingredient in a wide range of recipes including, soups, potatoes, stews, and main courses. And, lets not forget the popular fried onion, and onion rings.

Here's an added bonus: Onions are good for your health. Medical studies suggest onions help to lower cholesterol and heart disease.

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How to Grow Onions:

Grow onions in full sun. They prefer rich, loam(muckland) soil, that holds water well. They will grow in rich to average garden soils. Mix in plenty of compost prior to planting. Soil should be loose, but capable of holding plenty of water. Onion plants prefer cool to warm weather.

Gardeners can choose to plant seed, seedlings, and sets (tiny bulbs). Seeds take the longest time, and should be started indoors. Seedlings give you a jump start on growing, and are hardy.

Plant onions 3 to 4 inches apart, in double rows six to ten inches apart. Leave enough room to get between the rows to weed.

Fertilize regularly, every 3-4 weeks. Keep soil moist. The plant won't tell you when it's thirsty.

Onions are hardy plants. Frosts and light freezes will not damage them. The only affect of extremely cold weather is the plant will slow down.

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Planted in early spring, bulbs will form in early summer.

Onion plants continue to grow until the tops fall over and die. Once this occurs, dig up the onion bulbs. Rinse the dirt off the bulb, and allow the onions to dry in the open air for a few days. Cut off the tops and roots. Store bulbs in a cool dry, and dark place. Properly stored, most bulbs will last into the winter months. Some varieties, most notably purple onions have a shorter shelf life.

Fresh picked onions are much stronger than those bought in stores.

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Insects, Pests, and Disease:

Insect problems are infrequent. Tiny thrips are an occasional problem. Root maggots may attack the bulbs. Insecticidal soap sprays or sevin are usually effective.

Disease problems are also infrequent. Wet, and humid weather can increase the likelihood of disease.

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