Recently these beautiful onions that my friend Betsey has stored in her basement inspired me to get serious about planting my own.
Please pardon the quality of this photo which I took with my very unsophisticated non I-phone. I just wanted you to get the idea. Aren’t they amazing? This was in January no less!
I bought a bag of onion sets and after doing some research I decided to maximize my space and plant them using the square foot method.
I haven’t intentionally square foot gardened before but I thought that onions might be a good crop to try with. The concept behind square foot gardening is to grow as much as is feasible in one square foot of space using optimum soil and raised beds. It takes some planning to be sure that plants have enough space for root development and air circulation. The rule of thumb seems to be that large plants need one square, while smaller plants can be planted more densely. The recommended square foot spacing for red onions is nine per square foot, so nine it is!
I started with my package of onion sets and my tape measure.
Next I loosened the soil (which had been thoroughly turned over this past weekend and well composted last fall) and using my tape measure, I very unscientifically, and quickly, and without painstaking accuracy, because that’s how I do things, divided the end two feet of my bed into eight one foot squares. I used my trowel to make lines in the soil.
Then I placed each bulb in to the soil, three inches apart in a grid so the bulb was just below the soil with the top pointing up. The top of the bulb is the pointy part that you see here, while the bottom where the roots develop, is flatter and usually has a slightly rough texture.
Some are sprouted already. I think that’s fine.
Here’s my finished grid. My research tells me to make sure that they don’t dry out too much but that they’ll resume growing again if they do. I’ll keep you posted!
In other news; the rhubarb is peeking through! I wish I liked it more. I’ll cook and bake it for Michael and I love to give it away. It looks so pretty in the garden when it gets big. Rhubarb has so much going for it, I think it’s just the tartness or texture that I personally struggle with.
Anyway, grab a bag of onion sets at your local garden center and plant them in your well fertilized eight square feet of space and let me know how it goes!