More than once I have seen people in the supermarket putting aside onion bulbs which have sprouted. To be honest, I don’t know the reason for this; they probably think that these bulbs are too old to be used. Although I understand their concern, onions like these are perfectly suitable for eating; moreover, I love eating those new and fresh leaves.
But, there is more to it than just taste. I’ll show you how to plant onions from sprouted onions, whether that be those you bought at the supermarket, or you have several of those in your basement, where they are usually stored.
Why Would I Do This In The First Place?
Surely, you can peel the onion, clean it, and consume it as you would, but where is the fun in that? Besides, onions are planted either from seeds or small bulbs, so this approach is somewhat similar to what is usually done.
There are several advantages of this approach, and it is up to you to use them to its fullest. One of the most prominent ones is that you can plant and grow onions this way anytime you like. Onions are convenient for windowsills or pot growing, so it is another reason to give it a go.
Also, since I have primarily prolonged the time onions spent in the ground, I have improved the taste of it. Trust me on this; onions which grow longer taste way much better.
Why Does This Happen With Onions?
Onions, as well as garlic, are biennial plants, which means that they are growing for two years when planted. Now, the trick is that we think that we have fooled the nature by harvesting the bulbs after several months, but nature is more robust than we think.
Even after removing from the soil, onions use the juices and nutrients from the bulb to continue growing. This is why some sprouted onions have hollow outer layers; nutrients from this part are spent, and only the husk remained. Of course, this attracts a lot of pests, and it is also the main reason why onions are sometimes spoiled.
Is There Any Particular Equipment I Need For This Undertaking?
Besides opportunity, a bit of goodwill and of course, sprouted onions, there are only but a few things which will be required. Depending on where you wish to plant onions, you will need either pot or crate or a few lines in the garden. Since onions are resistant to frost, you can also try fall sowing, so that you have a fresh batch in early spring.
I can recommend you to use fertilizer, no matter on which approach you have decided, pot or garden growing. Onions have specific taste when it comes to fertilizers, but also significant are other things which people tend to forget, and which are influencing how vegetables will develop.
Onions benefit from Nitrogen the most, so before bulbing, using 21:0:0 fertilizer is the best course of action. Once the bulbs develop, switch to those with more Phosphorous. Since sprouted onions already have developed bulbs, feel free to utilize Phosphorus-rich fertilizers.
Speaking Of Soil, How Should I Prepare It?
In general, all kinds of onions and garlic require well-fertilized or manured soil, rich in nutrients, loamy, with good drainage. Therefore, I had to prepare the ground for the future sowing.
First of all, I have determined the location for onions. They need full sun, so that area which is covered with sunlight the most is essential. Next, I have applied several inches of manure and tilled the soil for two weeks every couple of days. This made the ground aerated as well.
If your garden is abundant with clay, implement some sand, and manure more heavily. This process is also longer; at least three weeks are needed for this preparation.
In case that you are growing onions in pots, take a large bucket or wheelbarrow, and put soil inside. Working in manure can be troublesome with the rakes or shovel, so hoe is the best for this. Keep in mind that you must break all the lumps and remove any debris which is left from the garden. Also, whenever I was preparing soil this way, I was watering it regularly so that it will be finely moist and ready for sowing.
Where And How I Can Find Sprouted Onions?
Wherever there are onions, there are sprouted ones among them as well. With this in mind, you can either visit the local market or your basement. Alternatively, you can ask your neighbors or relatives if they have some sprouted bulbs.
Either way, I was looking for onions which have at least inch green leaves sprouted above the bulb, and which are solid and hard. Those soft can be used as well, but I don’t recommend them. In case that you couldn’t find bulbs good enough, go with these, I will cover the preparation of those as well.
So, How To Prepare Bulbs?
When onions are sown from pods, they are just stuck in the ground, covered with some soil and watered. For sprouted onions, things are slightly different. First of all, you will need a thin knife. That which is used to peel fruit is ideal.
First, see if the bulb is soft to the touch. If it is, you will have to peel more than one layer. Start by slowly removing the outer layer of protection. That yellowish-orange leaves are there to prevent moist from leaving the bulb. Do not worry; onions will be in the ground soon enough.
Be extra careful when peeling outer layer from the bottom side of the bulb. In most of the cases, roots are already developing underneath the orange protection. You don’t want to hurt or cut off any of these tender roots.
Remove all outer layers which are soft and look withered. These are only the opportunity for pests to develop, and I don’t need to tell you that this is not wanted in any garden. If it happens, pest control will be required.
Are We Sowing Now?
Not yet. Just a quick wash with regular water is a guarantee that there are no eggs or bugs or other pests stuck to the bulb. Once washed, I could sow my onions.
Sprouted onions are sown the same as regular ones. Spacing should be about 4 inches between the bulbs, but this depends on the variety. Let those 4” be a recommendation. Once sowed, cover them with soil leaving the sprout above the ground, and press the soil around bulbs gently but firmly. In case that you are wondering why this pressing is done to remove air pockets. Onions have small and short roots and require “full contact” between roots and the soil.
In case that you are growing onions in summer, you might want to consider putting a net cover. This will reduce the amount of sunlight; onions may require a full day of light, but their roots are still sensitive to high temperatures. If it is spring or fall, there is no need for such.
I have grown them in September; the weather was warm, but the sunlight was already weaker, there were no scorching temperatures such in July or August. On the other hand, if you decided to grow these onions in pots, move the container to direct sunlight right away if they are sown in winter. Every minute of sunlight is essential to them.
How To Water And Fertilize Onions?
What differs sprouted onions from onion sets is the amount of water. These are wet more and often than those grown from sets. If the weather is too warm, even twice a day won’t harm the onions. Keep in mind that the pot where you have planted them must have the drainage hole. If they are sown in the garden, keep the soil slightly more wet than onions require.
Also, while watering, there is a high probability that strong stream will damage and break leaves, so setting your sprinkler or hose to misting is the best option. This video shows how to mist pot plants, but you’ll get the picture of what needs to be done. Even if broken, these leaves are edible, but they won’t look as lovely as when whole.
As for fertilizer, I have already mentioned that Phosphorus-rich ones are the best. Since there will be less time for fertilizing, applying it once will be enough. You don’t want to burn those vegetables.
How Should I Harvest These Onions?
Contrary to regularly grown onions, these little guys will grow pretty fast. Due to their head start, after a few weeks, they will be ready. Before that, you can harvest only greens from onions. Just use a sharp knife and cut a few inches from the ground. This way, you can have a fresh supply of salad ingredient.
As for harvesting, by holding the plant firmly, pull it up from the ground. Once completely removed, leave it to dry a few days and store, if you are planning on using it later. If it is intended for immediate usage, wipe off bits of soil, peel off outer layers, and you are good to go!
There is another way for harvesting, though. Leave a few plants until flowers develop. You will recognize it as colossal dandelion at the top of the middle green leaf. Wait until flower dries and cut it off gently. Spread a sheet of paper or kitchen cloth and shake out tiny black onion seeds. This way, you have provided seeds for the next season!
Are There Any Pests Which Might Cause Trouble?
In general, onions suffer from but a few pests and diseases. Since their growth circle is much shorter, there shouldn’t be any trouble with these. The problem may arise if there are eggs or larvae of onion flies before planting. These are quick to develop and may obliterate harvest in no time.
So, I’ve shown you how to plant onions from sprout onions in this text. I sure hope that this approach can work for you and that you will be able to follow it, and have a good harvest. Since onions are one of the most often used plants, planting them like this will provide it in sufficient amounts.
As always, your suggestion, opinions, and ideas are more than welcome in the comment section below.