Growing Onions in Central Texas
Upon Receipt: The plants you have received are alive and growing. If conditions exist that prevent you from planting them right away, spread them out in a cool, dry area. The roots and tops may begin to dry out, but they can live for up to 3 weeks off of the bulb. Your plants will revive as soon as planted, so plant them as quickly as possible. Onions should be planted 4-6 weeks before the last average spring freeze. In Zone 8, that is Jan. 15-Feb. 15.
Soil Preparation: Prepare raised beds at least 4” high and 20” wide. Make a trench in the top of the beds 4” deep, and distribute the fertilizer at the rate of 1 cup per 20 liner feet of row. We recommend Happy Frog Steamed Bone Meal 3-15-0 fertilizer, as it is high in phosphorous necessary for optimum growth. Cover the fertilizer with 2” of soil, and you are ready to plant! To Plant: Plant approximately 1” deep with 5 to 6” spacing between plants (2-3” spacing if you plant to thin later for green onions). Water immediately.
Growing Care: Ample water is important at all stages of growth, especially when bulbs are forming. The best method is via a drip system or soaker hose. This provides water to the roots while keeping the tops dry. If the tops must be wetted by the irrigation, try to water in the mornings to help prevent disease. About three weeks to a month after transplanting, begin to fertilize every week with a water soluble fertilizer like Fox Farm Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer.
Harvest and Storage: Harvest your onions when the tops fall over. Pull and let dry on the ground for a few days. Do not allow them to get wet or rained on. When tops have dried out, clip off the tops an inch from the bulb and store in a ventilated area. One way to store onions is using a pair of pantyhose. Place an onion in one leg and tie a knot, drop another in and tie a knot. Continue until the hose is full and hang. Another method is to loosely wrap each onion in newspaper and keep in a cool, ventilated area. Wrapping each onion in foil in the refrigerator will keep them fresh up to a year! The goal is to try to keep the onions from touching each other, and in a cool dry location. Sweeter onions (due to their high water content) will not keep as long as stronger tasting, more pungent onion varieties.