We get alot of questions about planting onions and garlic. here are two articles from the newsletter which should help out!
A Bit about Onions and Garlic
October means the arrival of another years worth of garlic and onion seeds! Planted in the fall, with enough time to set root before the first frost will assure a decent. If you lack the space to have a dedicated bed for garlic and onions, try planting them in along the perimeter of raised beds. They can repel certain insects and even deer.
To plant garlic, break bulbs into individual cloves before planting. Plant at 8” intervals, with the pointy side facing up. Set aside smaller cloves for eating, as the small cloves will produce small bulbs. While garlic will grow in nearly any soil, it loves loamy well-drained earth packed with organic matter. A winter mulch stops frost heave which can sheer off the young roots as the plants winter over.
Planting onion sets is as simple as sticking them in the ground and covering with a quarter inch of soil. They can be closely planted in fall and thinned or transplanted in spring. For ideal growth, start at 3” apart and thin to 8” after the last frost. For better growth, trying mixing either super-phosphate fertilizer or bonemeal into a few inches of the soil before you plant. For particularly pungent onions, try adding a small amount of sulfur; being careful not to upset the PH of your soil.
A Bit More about planting Onions and Garlic
Onions have been grown since prehistory, and was one of the first plants cultivated by our early agrarian ancestors. Ancient texts rave about the legendary mildness of ancient Egyptian onions, and one finds mention of the savory crop in the pages of Aristotle and Plato.
Onions like rich, fertile, well drained soil. The top soil should be deep and humus rich for best growth. Heavy soils can be corrected with the addition of peat moss, well composted horse manure or other organic matter.
In order to plan your crop, remember that one pound of onion sets is roughly enough for a fifty foot row. Choose sets roughly dime sized or larger, as smalled sets will produce weak, tiny onions. Plant onions in their natural position, with the fine root hairs facing downward two to three inches apart in the row and cover with a quarter inch of soil or sifted compost. When spring arrives, smaller less robust plants can be thinned for use as spring onions or green onions.
Most onion varieties mature in about 100 days, marking their maturity as their tops gradually fall to the ground. When most tops are down, it is common to knock down the remaining tops with the back of a rake. (We used our dogs for this last year, but not on purpose) two or three days later, onions should be pulled and left to sit on the ground for another couple of days of curing in the open air.
To plant garlic, break up a bulb into individual cloves and plant with the hard neck facing downward, and the pointed tip facing skyward. Garlic loves the same soil types as onions, and should be planted with four to six inches between plants and a foot between rows.
Should your plants grown higher than six inches before the first frost, a heavy mulch of straw or other insulator is advised to lessen the effects of frost heave, the shifting of frozen soils that can shear off the young roots of onions and garlic sets.