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Seven Easy Steps for Growing Onions

Growing Onions Cover

Growing onions is on my mind this time of year. We’ve had ours planted for about a month.

I’ve read a million guides for growing onions. In fact I’ve even written some of them!  But all the onion growing guides are long and complicated.
So here’s a quick guide to get you started growing onions this year. Everything you need to know about growing onions in just 750 words and 7 steps!

Step 1 – Choose the proper onion for your region

Growing Onions 1

Did you know some types of onions only grow in certain parts of the country.  It’s all based on your latitude. Long day, intermediate day, or short day. Which are you? To find out, use this easy map from our favorite onion grower. Then choose a variety that is appropriate for your location

Step 2 – Choose seeds, sets or starts.

Growing Onions Starts

Unless you live in southern Florida you will be starting seeds indoors. Onions started from seed need 10 weeks before they are ready to go in the garden.  Sets are little baby onions that you simply poke in the ground and they grow into onions. This is the easiest way to start onions but they seldom grow as large from sets. In my humble opinion starts are the best way to plant your onions.  This way they get off to an early start and grow the biggest and healthiest bulbs.

Step 3 –   Planting

Growing Onions New

Forget what you read about spacing when planting onions.  4 inches of space all around is perfect. This allows you to plant a ton of onions in very little space. We put as many as 150 plants in a spot just 4 by 8 feet.  Also you can plant your onions much earlier than you think. We often have ours in the garden the last week of March.  Onions are super hardy and don’t mind frost at all when they are small.  In fact more than a few times we have had 4 inches of snow on our onions and it has never caused a problem.

Step 4 – Fertilize!

Growing Onions 1
Onions like nitrogen! If you have good healthy soil they should do fine. But to get a bumper crop of big bulbs you will need to fertilize.  I like to water my onions a couple of times a year with a mixture of fish emulsion. 2 tablespoons in a gallon of water is good.  Or you can side dress your plants with an organic nitrogen fertilizer.

Step 5 – Harvest
Growing Onions Harvest

Harvest time arrives when the tops start to turn yellow and fall over. I usually give them a week or two after that point to do their final maturing.  If the weather is going to be clear and dry for a few days it is okay for you to dig your onions and then just leave them there in the sun for a day or two to start drying. But after 2 days you need to bring them into a protected area.  Be sure you don’t let them get rained on.

Step 6 – Curing (Drying)

Growing Onions curing
Proper curing is essential if you want your onions to store for any amount of time. I like to dry my onions on this little drying rack in my garage. The rack allows for plenty of air flow.  Plan on at least two weeks to dry.  Curing is complete when the top layers of skin are dry and papery.  The tops have completely dried and there is no moisture where the tops attach to the bulbs.  The tops should just pull off when they are done.  You can never “over cure” onions so when in doubt give them a few more days!

Step 7 – Storing

Growing Onions Storage
Onions should be stored  hanging in mesh bags or if you like you can leave the tops on and braid them and hang them some where.  Onions like to be store in a very cool spot and will last much longer if stored in temperatures around 45 degrees Fahrenheit.  Depending on the variety, properly stored onions can last 3 to 10 months.

If you grow your onions properly, they may become one of those crops that you never have to buy from the store again.  If you grow a long storing onion like we do you will have onions in storage for 8 or 9 months. About the time your supply finally gives out your new crop will already be in the ground and you can use green onions to get you through till the new crop is in!  Early spring is the time to get your onions planted so get them in now!!

From the Farm Hop – April 17, 2015

There has been a lot going on this week around our little place.  We got a bunch of new strawberries planted and all of our Cole crops are now out in the garden.  All of that was done just in time for 4 inches of snow!!

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I couldn’t believe how much snow we got on Wednesday.  That was seriously our biggest snow storm of the season.  Of course it warmed back into the 60’s yesterday so in less than 24 hours there was hardly a sign that it ever happened.

I also have the awesome opportunity to give a webinar this coming week.  I will be speaking over at TheSurvivalMom.com on Four Seasons Gardening.  I will be covering a lot about extending your growing season by using Cold Frames, Hoop Houses and fabric row covers.  Please follow the link from the image above to join us this coming Monday evening at 8 pm Central time!!

 

It’s time for another round of From The Farm where we love to see your ideas on how to garden, homestead, or any DIY tips and tricks. Last Week’s Top 5 Favorites, as chosen by YOU:

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Welcome to Spring in Utah – SNOW

So look what’s happening in my garden today!!

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Can you believe it!!  It’s April 15th!

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This is why I don’t plant tomatoes any sooner than I do!  I’m not even sure it the ones in the Wall O Waters will survive!

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This whole storm was preceded yesterday by 60 mph winds that forced me to bring in most of my cold frame lids.  So I hope the lettuce is okay!

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The new black berries are not very happy about this either!

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Flowers in the front yard.

 

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Kind of a pretty picture, if it wasn’t for the underlying fact that my garden is buried in 4 inches of snow.  It all happened very quickly too.  There was no snow when I dropped the kids off at school at 7:45.  And I just came up from my office to take a break and found my wife and daughter out building snowmen at 11:30 am!

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This guys expression pretty much sums up my feelings right now!  This is more snow than we had all winter!!  Oh well, at least we are getting water right???

 

From the Farm Hop – April 10, 2015

It’s Friday again!  I’ve had a super productive week around the office and the garden!

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Here’s what is happening in the office!  I’m working on filming two more gardening video courses.  The first is on my favorite subject, Year Round Gardening.  The second is a tutorial on how to build your own PVC drip irrigation system.  I’m hoping to have them both ready within the next few weeks so stay tuned!!

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And around the garden among other things we were able to get some black berries planted  this week!  I’m looking forward to a big crop of black berries every year!  We planted a variety call Prime Ark.  They are a primo-cane variety which means that the plants bear fruit on both first and second year canes.  I’m interested to see how they do.  We put in a total of 5 plants.

 

 

It’s time for another round of From The Farm where we love to see your ideas on how to garden, homestead, or any DIY tips and tricks. Last Week’s Top 5 Favorites, as chosen by YOU:

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Warmly,Your From the Farm Blog Hop Co-Hosts: The Homesteading Hippy | Spring Mountain Living | Lil’ Suburban Homestead | The Homestead Lady | Urban Overalls | Once Upon A Time in A Bed of Wildflowers | Oh Sweet Mercy | Honey’s Life | Lone Star Farmstead |Stony Acres
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10 spring time tips for your Vegetable Garden

It’s time to get out in the garden and get growing!  Here are are 10 spring time tips for your vegetable Garden that will help you get your season started off right!

Tips for your vegetable Garden

Sharpen Your tools

A sharp tool makes all the difference when working in the garden.  If you don’t already own one, run down to a home improvement store and buy a simple metal file.  Use the file to sharpen the edges of all your digging and cutting tools.  Be sure to get a nice sharp edge on your shovels, hoes and weeding tools.  Also put a nice sharp edge on all your cutting tools as well, tools like hand pruners, bypass pruners and hedge trimmers all need to be sharpened at least once a year.  Putting that sharp edge on your tools means you will slice through what ever you are cutting cleanly causing much less damage to the plant.  Dull tools crush and pinch plants causing much more damage to the surrounding plant tissue.

Consider Starting a compost pile

Spring is a great time to start a compost pile.  Your compost pile can be as simple or complicated as you would like it to be.  You can pile materials up in the corner some where or build yourself a nice bin system.  In the spring there is usually a lot of plant material available (see #3 below), why not compost all that extra plant material to enrich your garden!!

Get a head start on weeds

tips for your Vegetable Garden

Spring is the time for rebirth right?  Well unfortunately spring is when your weed problems are reborn as well!  In most parts of the world springs are mild and wet.  Perfect conditions for those weed seeds to germinate!  If you tackle your weed problems early in the spring, pulling is much easier because the plants are small.  Because the weeds are small they haven’t had a chance to set seeds yet.  No new weed seeds in your garden this year means fewer weeds to pull later in the summer or next spring!!

Plant some bare root perennial fruits & veggies

Spring is the perfect time to plant perennial fruits & veggies.  Fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries love the chance to put their roots down and get established in the cool spring temperatures.  In the spring you can plant all of these small fruit plants using bare root starts.  These dormant plants never look like the big beautiful starts you will get later in the spring at the nurseries, but early plantings of bare root starts actually makes for healthier stronger plants in the long run.  And to top it all off you can buy bare root starts for a fraction of the price you will pay later in the season for nursery grown stock.  Don’t forget to plant perennial herbs and veggies in the spring as well!

Warm up your soil

tips for your Vegetable Garden soil

Newly planted seeds like nice warm soil to germinate.  Most cool season veggies would prefer to be planted in soils warmer that 55 degrees.  A week or so before you plant your seeds cover your garden bed with some clear painters plastic.  This simple idea can help your spring veggies germinate up to a week sooner than they would without the warmed up soil!

Plant cool season veggies

Everyone loves a juicy home grown tomato or cucumber, but we are still a couple of months away from planting warm weather crops.  March is the time to think about cool weather veggies.  Plants like peas, spinach, lettuce, onions and Swiss chard love cool spring weather.  Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages also grow best in the spring.  Don’t forget root crops like carrots, beets, radishes and turnips!  If you get started now on those cool weather crops, you will have grown an entire gardens worth of food before its even time to put in the tomatoes!

Build a small simple hoop house and get started extra early

If you would like to give your spring crops an even bigger head start consider building a simple hoop house for some of your garden beds.  A little lumber, some PVC pipe and some clear plastic will warm up the soil and protect your spring crops.  This allows you to plant those cool weather veggies weeks sooner than you would be able to other wise!

Buy a Wall-O-Water and get a tomato plant in extra early

tips for your Vegetable Garden Wall o water

This year buy yourself a water filled hot house to get a few tomato plants started extra early.  These simple water filled cloches are fantastic at protecting early planted tomatoes.  By using one of these you can easily plant your tomatoes 6 weeks earlier than you could other wise.  I use mine to plant just a couple of tomatoes early.  The head start means I’m usually eating tomatoes around the first of July!

Keep bugs & birds off your new plants with a fabric row cover

The warming temperatures in spring means both the birds and the bugs are getting more active and they are hungry!!  Nothing looks tastier to a hungry bird than a freshly planted bed of peas.  Buy a light weight fabric row cover to put over your growing plants; this will keep the birds and the bugs out.  Be sure to buy the thinnest, lightest weight cover you can find so that it will still allow the maximum amount of sunlight and water to get through!

Start a garden journal

Buy a simple note book or 3 ring binder this spring and start keeping notes on your garden!  Record planting dates, germination dates, when your plants were first ready for harvesting, and what varieties you planted.  What was the date of your last frost this year?  Was your spring wet and cold or warm and dry?  How did the weather affect your plants?  Keep notes on everything that happens in your garden.  Taking the time to write these things down will pay big dividends in the future.  My garden journal is a treasure trove of information; I refer to it again and again every year! Keeping a garden journal is a very important part of having a successful garden!

 

Spring is here!!  Let’s get that garden started!!

10 spring time tips for your vegetable garden was originally featured as a guest post on the Bakerette.com.  Thanks Jen for letting me join your group!!

From The Farm Hop April 3, 2015

Happy Friday everyone!  We finally got a little bit of rain this week, but not much.  But our warm temperatures sure disappeared!  We were back down in the 20’s last night and our highs for the next week are gong to stick mostly in the 50’s.  That will actually be good for the garden, it has been getting a little too warm for our cool season crops.

Have a great weekend!  And enjoy this weeks addition of the From the Farm Hop!

It’s time for another round of From The Farm where we love to see your ideas on how to garden, homestead, or any DIY tips and tricks. Last Week’s Top 5 Favorites, as chosen by YOU:

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Warmly,Your From the Farm Blog Hop Co-Hosts: The Homesteading Hippy | Spring Mountain Living | Lil’ Suburban Homestead | The Homestead Lady | Urban Overalls | Once Upon A Time in A Bed of Wildflowers | Oh Sweet Mercy | Honey’s Life | Lone Star Farmstead |Stony Acres
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Year Round Gardening Series

Hi guys!!  Welcome to Stoney Acres.  We have been given the awesome opportunity to participate in a great round robin called the 30 Ways of Homesteading!  For those of you that are new to Stoney Acres we are big on year round gardening.  You can find something growing in our garden 365 days a year; spring, summer, fall and WINTER!!  So our contribution to the 30 ways of Homesteading is a whole series of posts on year round gardening.  Once you have read our post be sure to check out all the other great posts from the round robin below my post!

The approach of summer actually means it’s time to start thinking about your winter gardens.  We love gardening in the winter, it’s so nice to be able to head out to the garden on a snowy day and open the cold frames or hoop house and harvest veggies!  The first year I started writing on Stoney Acres I wrote a 9 part series on winter gardening that is applicable to anyone that lives in Zones 3 to 7.  For the last couple of years I have re-posted that series in July and August.  This year to celebrate the 30 Ways of Homesteading I thought I’d just give all of you that haven’t read the series a list of the posts that you can link to and read:

  1. Year Round Gardening Series Part 1 – Introduction
  2. Year Round Gardening Series Part 2 – Bed Preparation
  3. Year Round Gardening Series Part 3 – Crop Selection
  4. Year Round Gardening Series Part 4 – Additional Crop Selections
  5. Year Round Gardening Series Part 5 – Planting Times
  6. Year Round Gardening Series Part 6 – Cold Frame Construction
  7. Year Round Gardening Series Part 7 – Hoop Houses
  8. Year Round Gardening Series Part 8 – Cold Frame Management
  9. Year Round Gardening Series Part 9 – Harvesting & Wrap up

 

Year Round Gardening Series

Please don’t laugh at the pictures in this series, it’s been on my list for a while to go back and update the photos now that I have a better camera, but I haven’t had time.  I hope you find the series helpful for your Winter Garden plans!!  While your here be sure to like Stoney Acres on Facebook, follow us on twitter and Pinterest and Subscribe to our email news letter!!

30 Ways of Homesteading

The Prepared Bloggers Network is at it again! We’re glad you’ve found us, because the month of April is all about homesteading.

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by growing your own food, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may even involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Most importantly homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.

The Prepared Bloggers are passionate about what they do and they each have their own way of achieving self-sufficiency. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy reading about the 30 Ways of Homesteading!

Crops on the Homestead

Straw Bale Gardening from PreparednessMama

Crop Rotation for the Backyard Homesteader from Imperfectly Happy

Benefits of Growing Fruit from SchneiderPeeps

Succession Planting: More Food in the Same Space from 104 Homestead

Crops to Grow for Food Storage from Grow A Good Life

Winter Gardening Series from Our Stoney Acres

How To Build a Raised Garden Bed For Under $12 from Frugal Mama and The Sprout

How to Save Carrot Seeds from Food Storage and Survival

Animals on the Homestead

Getting Your Bees Started from Game and Garden

Homesteading How-To: Bees from Tennessee Homestead

How to Get Ready for Chicks from The Homesteading Hippy

Selecting a Goat Breed for Your Homestead from Chickens Are a Gateway Animal

Adding New Poultry and Livestock from Timber Creek Farm

Beekeeping 101: 5 Things To Do Before Your Bees Arrive from Home Ready Home

How to Prepare for Baby Goats from Homestead Lady

How to Prevent and Naturally Treat Mastitis in the Family Milk Cow from North Country Farmer

Tips to Raising Livestock from Melissa K. Norris

Raising Baby Chicks – Top 5 Chicken Supplies from Easy Homestead

Making the Homestead Work for You – Infrastructure

Ways to Homestead in a Deed Restricted Community from Blue Jean Mama

Building a Homestead from the Ground Up from Beyond Off Grid

DIY Rainwater Catchment System from Survival Prepper Joe

Finding Our Homestead Land from Simply Living Simply

I Wish I Was A Real Homesteader by Little Blog on the Homestead

Endless Fencing Projects from Pasture Deficit Disorder

Essential Homesteading Tools: From Kitchen To Field from Trayer Wilderness

Homesteading Legal Issues from The 7 P’s Blog

Why We Love Small Space Homesteading In Suburbia from Lil’ Suburban Homestead

Preserving and Using the Bounty from the Homestead

How to Dehydrate Corn & Frozen Vegetables from Mom With a Prep

How to Make Soap from Blue Yonder Urban Farms

How to Render Pig Fat from Mama Kautz

How to Make Your Own Stew Starter from Homestead Dreamer

Why You Should Grow and Preserve Rhubarb! from Living Life in Rural Iowa

It’s a Matter of Having A Root Cellar…When You Don’t Have One from A Matter of Preparedness

30 Ways of Homesteading

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