Onions Love a Cold Start – Plant Chives and Onions Now

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Difficulty: Beginner

Garden tips by region harvesting-onions

Growing onions from tiny bulbs is the easiest way to have big onions at summer’s end. These tiny bulbs should be put in the ground early for large onions.

Sprouted bulbs can be used as scallions, too, giving you a two-in-one plant. 

Chives, on the other hand, are planted from seed. Plant chive seeds in cool soil to germinate early. If you’ve purchased chive seedlings, set out plants, too. The entire onion family loves a cold start.

Planting Onion Sets: 

Look for the little bulbs in bags of 50 or more. Onion sets have a higher success rate than direct seeding or transplants.

  1. Select a location in full sun and with loose, nitrogen-rich soil. 
  2. Add compost or composted manure to the planting area.
  3. Rake in high-nitrogen fertilizer. 
  4. Dig a hole in the soil with a trowel tip and place the bulbs in the hole with the necks slightly above the soil line. Plant the little bulbs 4” apart in rows 12” apart.

Tip:

If you want to harvest scallions in the spring, plant bulbs closer, about 2” apart in rows, and harvest every other onion when leaves are 6-8” tall. 

Planting Chives: 

Chives grow to be 12-24” tall and produce beautiful purple flowers. Cut these off and use in salads and other dishes. This perennial herb comes back every year.

  1. Plant the seeds 2-4” deep and about 12” apart in soil amended with compost.
  2. Keep soil moist until seeds sprout.

Tip:

If you’re impatient, try a plant, usually found in 4” pots. Chives do well in containers, too.

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