This weekend it is time to start some onion seeds. Onions take a long time to develop from seed. Sowing inside in January or February under growing lights then transplanting to the garden in early spring is the only way that I can grow onion from seed and have them mature in my zone 5 garden.
I mass plant onions and leek seeds into recycled berry containers. The containers are about 4 inches deep and already have plenty of holes for drainage. This weekend I sowed White Sweet Spanish Onions, Evergreen Bunching Onions, and American Flag Leeks.
|Onions and Leeks Sowed in Recycled Berry Trays|
The containers are filled will pre-moistened seed starting mix. The seeds are sprinkled on top of the soil, covered with a small amount of seed starting mix, and pressed down gently to be sure the seeds are in contact with the moist soil. The containers are labeled, placed in a flat, covered with a humidity dome, and placed on a heat mat until the seeds sprout.
Once the onions emerge from the soil, the humidity dome is removed and the seedlings are placed under lights.
|Onion Seedlings Growing Under Lights from 2011|
I trim the onions to keep them around 3-inches high. The trimmings are added to soups, salads, or used as a pizza topping.
Even though the seedlings seem crowded in their containers, with a little additional fertilizer they are happy until they are transplanted to their new home in the garden.
|Onion Seedlings Ready to be Transplanted in the Garden|
The seedlings are separated when transplanted and spaced out 3 to 4 inches apart depending on the variety.
|Onion Seedlings Transplanted to the Garden|
|Onions Ready for Harvest Fall 2011|
I look forward to sowing the first seeds of the year. I think about it often during the long and cold winter. All during the plotting and planning of the garden I obsess about planting something. The miracle of growing food is still amazing to me no matter how often I prepare a growing medium, sprinkle seeds, add water, and watch it grow to produce something that we can eat.