Growing onions

onions1Vegetable gardening is something I’m still a beginner at in my opinion.  In the past I have done mostly containers with some success.  When I was at Walmart the other day I found these packs of Onion bulbs for $1.50 for 80 bulbs.  For that price I figured they were worth giving a try.  They had yellow and red too, but we prefer white onions for cooking.  In addition if anyone is interested they had sets for Asparagus, Strawberries,  and Potatoes.  I’ve never grown onions before but we use them on a daily basis for cooking.  There is a variety of sized bulbs in this bag and after doing some research online it recommends saving the tiny ones for growing the larger storing onions while the bigger bulbs should be used for green onions.  My husband is going to be building  some raised beds for my vegetables soon.  But I also have three large plastic tubs in the shed that I’m considering using for the onions.   Has anyone else ever tried growing onions in containers before?  I know the green onions should be fine since you only have to plant them about 1/2″ apart, but I was wondering about the storage type onions.   Here’s some information I found at  the Virginia Cooperative Extension website:

  • Need a sunny area  (green onions tolerate partial shade)
  • Well drained soil
  • Plant in cool soil (45 to 60°F)
  • Moist, but not waterlogged soil
  • Plant seeds, sets or transplants in spring
  • Seeds can be started indoors 8 weeks before setting out
  • Bulbs onions are  hardy biennials
  • Use 10-10-10 fertilizer before planting, again at 4-6 week intervals as needed

25 responses to this post.

  1. I am growing onions for the first time too. Good luck!

    Good luck to you too Sheila! Thanks! 🙂


  2. I think they will do just fine as long as they are spaced correctly. In the past I have underwatered them because the weather was cool. Good luck.

    Thanks for the encouragement & helpful advice Deb! 🙂


  3. I’ve never grown onions either- and you think I would as much as I use them! Silly, really. Maybe I’ll make some room for some.

    I don’t know why I’ve never tried before either Tessa. We can learn together! 🙂


  4. Good luck with the Onions, Racquel. I have no experience with growing veggies, so I’m gonna learn from you 🙂

    Thanks Chandramouli, I’ll share my experience with you! 🙂


  5. I used to grow onions- for green and for storage. We planted fairly close together and then pulled the green ones out of the rows, leaving the storage ones more room to grow. I would think you could grow them in containers. Just make sure to have good drainage. Good luck!

    That’s what the package said to do Beckie (using the thinnings as green onions). I’m going to try to do them in separate containers so I have some of each. 🙂 Thanks!


  6. Posted by greenwalks on February 20, 2009 at 2:54 am

    I have only grown scallions/green onions and leeks, never the bulbing type. Curious to see if you can get them to grow in planters!

    These bulbs state you can grow them as green onions or storage onions. We’ll find out together if it works! 🙂


  7. So Racquel, after reading the pub from Tech, are your onions long day or short day sets? Does the package say? Good luck with using the container. I think it will work. Stagger your ‘rows’ or circles to give the most room for the bulb to develope. I assume the tubs have holes in the bottom?

    I don’t know yet Janet. It’s not labeled on the package what type. Guess I will just make sure I put them in full sun and we’ll see. Thanks for the tips, I appreciate it! 🙂 Yep I will be drilling some holes in the bottom of the tubs to allow for drainage.


  8. Onions are not hard to grow Racquel–with your green thumb yours will be prize winners! 🙂
    My onions are in and I planted carrot seeds this week. Can’t believe we are getting so close to spring. Yea!! Have a great weekend!

    Thanks Linda, I needed that boost of confidence! 🙂 Looks like you have been busy yourself. Have a great weekend!!!


  9. I’ve only grown them in raised beds. I bet you could grow them fine in containers as long as their was enough drainage. I’ve never stored any that we grew, we just used them as we picked them but they are great in salads, etc. Good Luck and I can’t wait to see how they do for you.

    Thanks for the encouragement Cindy. After doing more research I found that it is possible to grow them in containers as long as their large. 🙂


  10. Jamie and I really should try and find a place for a few vegetables. It might be fun to grow a few things.

    I think you would really enjoy the experience of harvesting your own veggies Randy. I did last year! 🙂


  11. Well after reading the comments, it’s quite clear that our onions suffered from over watering and lack of drainage. I will be trying this again. Thanks all!!

    Glad my post was helpful to you today Darla. 🙂


  12. It’ll be fun to see your trial, Racquel. Kids and HH doesn’t like onions so I’ve not grown them…I do grow chives and garlic chives among my flower beds to keep deer away as they are very pungent and the flowers are very pretty too! Good luck!

    Thanks Lynn, I promise to share the journey with you. We love onions in everything from soups, stews to salads. 🙂 I like the flowers on Chives, I considered growing them for their ornamental attributes too. 🙂


  13. They should be fine in containers Racquel, good soil and loose with lots of compost. I usually plant mine in the fall, but you can do the spring, they might not be big until fall. Also, long day, short day, or day neutral plays into choices. I haven’t quite figured that one out yet but will one of these days.

    Thanks Tina for the info, I really appreciate it. I’m not sure whether these are long day, short day or neutral, didn’t see anything on the package. Maybe next fall I will plant them again, do you plant from seed, sets or transplants? 🙂


  14. I imagine they will do fine in containers, I have seen corn grown in containers .. go for it 🙂

    Thanks Mom for the encouragement. 🙂


  15. Like the others I too think they will do fine in containers. Make sure you leave plenty of space for the ones you want to get big. I grew red and white onions last year in the ground. They were so easy I definitely want to grow them again. Also, I am mailing out your guide today. I’m sorry for the delay.

    Thanks Susie for the helpful advice. I will keep an eye out for the guide, it’s okay I know you were ill. 🙂


  16. Hi Racquel. I can’t give you any advice ~ I was just going to say “good luck.” I haven’t grown onions but I’m lucky enough to get an assortment from one of my neighbors each year. She grows red, yellow & white. I hang them in my garage and just cut off what I need as I cook.

    Hi Kathleen. Thanks for the well wishes. I appreciate it! 🙂 You are very lucky to have a generous neighbor who shares here crop with you each year.


  17. I’ve grown the green onions in pots very well but I’ve never tried other onions in pots. They do fine in raised beds so they should work out in pots as long as you space them out enough.

    Thanks for the info Dave. I’m going to go for it I guess. You never know until you try is my motto. 🙂


  18. Mmmm… onions! I’m growing them for the first time this year.

    Looks like we will be experiencing this together Monica. 🙂


  19. That’s a very good price on onion bulbs. I hope you get a good harvest. I’ll be growing garlic chives for the deer patrol.

    That’s what I thought too Anna. Was worth the small cost to give it a try. Thanks! Good luck with your Garlic Chives, hope they scare off the deer. 🙂


  20. Good luck with your onions Raquel – looks like you got lots of good tips! I haven’t grown onions yet, but I’ve always had chives, and last fall I planted garlic for the first time. I’ll be watching to see how your onions do, and maybe I’ll try them next.

    Thanks Linda. Everyone is always full of good advice. I appreciate it! I would love to try Chives & Garlic in the future. 🙂


  21. Ironically, I have been planting vegetables far longer than any other kind of gardening. Onions are very easy to grow, and I don’t think you’ll have much problem with them wherever you plant them, although I’ve never tried container planting before. The comments about long day or short day, though, are new to me!

    I see some of your seeds are starting to germinate–hooray! I’m still waiting a few weeks before starting any of mine; our last frost date isn’t until May 15. But I’m so anxious to try out a few, I may start a few perennials just to see how they do. Hope your seedlings continue to do well.

    Well then you are an expert Rose. I’m the complete opposite, for the past 20 or so years I’ve been the ornamental gardener. Have done a few veggies here & there in containers or tucked them into the garden. Yep I’m excited about the seeds and now my Angelonia are sprouting too, Yay!


  22. I’ve grown green onions before, but not storage type. They were rather easy to grow. I will be growing some again this year.

    Thanks for the info Cinj, I’m looking forward to trying something new this year. 🙂


  23. I’ve got onions ordered this year too — don’t know when they will arrive though. I grew shallots from sets last year and had a pretty good crop–they were in a big container, but I think they needed more space because they stayed small. Good luck with the onions — I’ll be journeying along with you!


  24. It is dead easy Racquel especially when you grow them from a bulbs and not from seeds, you cannot fail my friend. Later you can harvest and make your own Potage d’oignion and you will love it! Good Luck



  25. Posted by Lola on February 21, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I’ve grown onion in containers for a couple yrs now & have had good results. I take the bulbs & just stick them in the dirt & let it go. I use the big black plastic tubs that trees come in from the nursery. Also the fiberglass whiskey barrels at Lowe’s. My gardening is in container’s as I can’t get down on the ground. I plant anything in container’s that I want. No complaints.


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