Guide to grow onions at home

Guide to growing onions at home

History in Brief

the types of white, yellow, and brown onions can be cultivated through transplants, unripe bulbs, or seedlings, and range from small onions to pickled ones up to large Spanish varieties and can have the shape of a globe, trompo or torpedo Hay onions of long days, intermediate days, and short days should be planted in the correct geographical areas to optimize their growth and develop bulbs in different extensions according to the duration of the day 

If you have ever been in the kitchen wondering what to do for dinner, you certainly know the frequency with which the onion plays at least an auxiliary role in the final presentation of food. It is minced for salads, sautéed with red pepper, or added to soups and stews in which its essence is perceived; the versatility of the onions turns the kitchen into a true experience.

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But that could also be decided to cultivate the onions, no matter if you want to sow sweet onions, red onions, puerros, shallots, chives or chives (also known as green onions). Since they are a cold climate crop, they could be sown in closed spaces at the beginning of spring or in open air and covered with approximately a quarter of an inch of earth. It's incredible how quickly they germinate; It is possible that you observe the green germination of your sheets of the soil emerge in seven or ten days.

According to the expert gardener, Brandon Marshall, onions can be grown from transplants, immature bulbs or seeds. And here's an interesting tip: The unripe round onion bulbs will produce a flat onion, while an enlarged or drop-shaped onion will produce a round onion, says Marshall. Ironically, the large unripe bulbs become green onions, while the smaller ones are left on the ground to form bulbs. Rodale’s Organic Life explains the differences:

Transplants. They are seedlings of the size of a pencil, which begin to grow in the current growing season. They are marketed as immature bulbs, usually through nurseries and mail orders. They form bulbs quickly — in about 65 days — but they are more susceptible to diseases and their varieties are limited. These should be cultivated on land, between four and six weeks before the last strong winter of spring (which even for experts could be difficult to determine). Try to make heaps of ground soil and siembre the bulb at no more than an inch of its size, which could expose several inches of the same on the ground.

Immature bulbs. It has an even more limited list of available varieties, dry and underdeveloped bulbs that were cultivated the year before. They are easier to plant, harvest faster and are less prone to disease. The disadvantage is that it tends to spike, it is to decir, to bloom prematurely. One pound of immature onion bulbs could yield approximately 50 pies per line In general, the unripe onion bulbs are only identified as white or yellow, rather than the name of the specific variety, which means that the identification of these varieties is somewhat unknown unless you separate which ones they are and where they come from.

Bulbs that are half an inch wide are less likely to split. Once an onion spikes or blooms, use it first and as soon as possible, since the green stalk of the flower that grows from the center of the bulb will avoid storage for more than one or two weeks. Semillas. Generally there is a greater number of varieties available; however, it is obvious that the growing period is increased by around four months to complete its maturation process.

For this reason, especially in the coldest growing zones, you could grow plants in closed spaces, under lights for cultivation or cold structures (in which case you can plant even before) to make the most of the season. When the seedlings are between 2 and 3 inches tall, you can start moving them to start the transplant stage, but first you have to make them more resistant—by accustoming them to outside temperatures—by exposing them gradually in a back porch or in an area “ intermediate”.

How to choose and grow onion varieties

There are several types of white, yellow and brown onions. In terms of size, they could vary from small onions to pickled ones up to large Spanish varieties. Can be shaped like a globe, trompo or torpedo. It is said that the sweetest varieties are flatter, or better, they have an oval shape with the stem at the top. According to Rodale’s Organic Life,1 the onion varieties include a group of types of perennial onion, called Allium fistulosum, which is practically disease-free and insect-free.

And the “reproductive” shallot onion from the group of Allium cepa var. Aggregatum unrolls a group of bulbs, so each time you harvest them, you will have a practically unlimited supply of bulbs to replant. When you buy your onion transplants, try to introduce them to the earth as quickly as possible. If you cannot grow them due to rain or some adverse circumstance, spread them out in a cool and dry area. If it starts to dry, it's fine; As members of the family of the lilies, they survived another three weeks. Once planted, new roots will sprout almost immediately.

When growing inmature bulbs, push the flatter side down on the damp ground until you can see the sharp side on the upper part, 4 or 5 inches away. Cultivate them as soon as you can work on the ground, and try to ensure that the temperature is not below 20 °F. The lines can be sowed at a distance of up to 12 inches or a separation of up to 18 inches. Again, planting them very deeply prevents the onions from unrolling large bulbs.

Always water them immediately after growing them, and keep them relatively moist as the harvest season approaches. At the same time, it is important to dehydrate carefully so that the invasive plants that are stronger do not obstruct your crops, especially when the plants are young. It could be very tempting to place earth on top of the onion bulbs, but you shouldn't! When you look at the onion bulbs and they look inert, remember that their roots are still under the earth and they get the nutrients they need.

You will know that the onion bulbs are ready when the upper part falls on the ground. It is a natural indication that they are fully ripe. Then, you can chop them, let them dry separately, cut the roots and everything except what is found around a inch from the top. Keep them fresh and dry to store them. The most spicy onions are stored longer; The sweetest onions must be used first.

Onion varieties suitable for each zone

With the risk of making the cultivation of onions seem complicated (although it is not), I ask you to remember that the more information you have, the greater the chances that your first growing season will be extremely successful, rather than disappointing. This leads us to the other three categories of onions Long-day onions. It includes all of Oregon, Nebraska and Pennsylvania and through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. They form bulbs in 14 to 16 hours of light, usually in zone 6 and the coldest regions of the northern part, and are cultivated at the end of the winter season and early spring.

Intermediate day onions. It spans a wide fringe, the upper half of California and Texas, and across Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. They form bulbs in 12 to 14 hours of light and develop better in zones 5 and 6. They are also cultivated during the autumn season, when the winters are mild, and at the beginning of spring in the northern regions. Short-day onions. They encompass the lower quarter of the states in a semicircle, so that the states of the southern part — usually in zone 7 or the warmest parts enter this category. They form bulbs in 10 to 12 hours of light, they require light winters, and when grown in autumn they mature towards the end of spring. In the northern part, the bulbs are smaller.

According to Marshall, the menudo el flavor y la critud are what determines the type of onion you should get. The white and sweet onions are long-day varieties, while the strong-flavored yellow onions enter the intermediate or short-day category. When cultivating them, select a very sunny area so that other plants do not shade their onions. As for the type of soil, it must be well drained and soiled, since when it is compacted it restricts the development of the bulb. Siémbrelas in a well drained and very organic soil.

Working the land less, and avoiding synthetic fertilizers and nitrogen will help to increase the soil's organic matter in a natural way. Rotating the onions with other crops on a regular basis also reduces the loss of nutrients in the soil. The minerals and micronutrients that are already present on earth contradict the requirements of using chemical substances, including herbicides, to sow healthy crops, although adding compost provides general benefits.

There are annual and perennial varieties; but the onions are biennial

The onions start to form bulbs depending on the duration of daylight. If you grow the seeds very together, you can cook and eat shallots for salads or even as raw snacks from eight to ten weeks. If your objective is to get your onions to unfold as large as possible, you should sow them at a distance of 2 to 3 inches. Lo mejor es saccar las superantes; You will get onions very soon and bigger onions afterwards. Also, it is important to consider that the onions are biennial.

Then there is a brief tutorial based on The Spruce,2 which eliminates the differences in the behavior of plants between seasons: Annuals. They require an annual sowing, due to the fact that they complete their entire life cycle in a yearly soil, since they convert from seed to plant, they flower, later they give seed, and they die.

Perennials. They run through the semilla cycle to semilla in a single season, but do not die at the end; however, sometimes the coldest climates make them behave like annual plants and die. With the same frequency, some annual plants like los jitomates y boca de dragon “tienen la disposición” to grow the next year. Biennials. They are considered short-lived perennials, as they generally require two growing seasons to complete their life cycle. In the first season, the soil plants produce foliage. On Monday, they produce flowers and seeds, starting at the beginning of the season.

Rodale’s Organic Life3 shows other interesting details:

You can cut the top part of the chives during the season to stimulate their production and dig up part of the roots to keep them indoors and harvest them in winter. You can also cut and freeze them, and they will be almost the same as when they were fresh. Keep your garden free of weeds and place a container of organic waste (or even pieces of folded aluminum foil) around the plants to avoid pests such as thrips, aphids, zanahoria flies and Japanese scarabs. When buying onion varieties, whether they are unripe bulbs or seeds, read the label to determine whether they are sweet or warm-weather, as well as sunlight requirements.

Onion compounds reduce cancer and other disease risks

If you have ever wondered if onions provide health benefits, you will be glad to know that they actually did. Ya that belongs to the genus allium, one of the most important aspects of the phytonutrients that contain the onions involves its anticancer effect. One of the most interesting aspects of the accuracy of the onions is that the more flavor they have, the more effective they will be to fight cancer.4 Of course, to reduce the risk of cancer, I recommend eating more onions.

Some of its antioxidants — anticancer compounds that contain onions — are the flavonoid quercetin, anthocyanins and sulfur compounds such as onionin A (ONA), S-allyl-cysteine ​​(SAC) and S-methylcysteine ​​(SMC), and diallyl disulfide ( DDS), as well as potent phenols and flavonoids. In addition, other flavonoids, glutathione, selenium compounds and vitamins E and C are compounds that have the ability to fight cancer cells. According to the studies, quercetin reduces the appearance of cancerous tumors and inhibits the proliferation of cultured cells for ovarian, breast and colon cancer. Likewise, it is related to a lower risk of brain6 and lung cancer, even if you smoke.7

For another example, in some studies it was discovered that onionin A protected against epithelial ovarian cancer, the most common type of ovarian cancer, because it slows down its growth, and it was also found that it slowed down the activity of other types of cancer. 8 In fact, onions provide more flavonoids than many other foods, which is surprising because these potent phytonutrients have been linked to a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as cancer. Additionally, they have the characteristic of being anti-allergic, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory.

Additional studies on the anticancer properties of onions

Multiple studies report that different types of cancer cells decrease when scientists cultivate them with onion extract. A study9 at Cornell University indicated that the color and the variety of the onions were very related to the type of cancer that they could fight with greater effectiveness. Shallot, Western yellow, pungent yellow and northern onions contain more anticancer chemical substances than other varieties analyzed. The studio exposed that:

Phenolic compounds and flavonoids are a type of phytochemicals and antioxidant chemicals that protect plants from bacteria, viruses and fungi. Like other antioxidants, phenolic compounds and flavonoids help prevent cancer and eliminate free radicals that damage cells and inhibit the production of reactive substances that could damage normal cells“.10 The lead author of the study, Dr. Rui Hai Liu, reported that shallots and yellow onion varieties were effective against liver cancer cells and that both types of yellow onion were more effective against colon cancer cells.

Of course, the western yellow onions presented 11 times the amount of flavonoids, in comparison with the onion that had the lowest amount, the Western White variety. A study carried out in 2016 also related the consumption of vegetables of the allium genus with a lower risk of cancer, in particular the types of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as “lesser bioactivation of carcinogenic agents, antimicrobial action and modification of reduction-oxidation”11. which means a lower rate of oxidation.

It has been observed that onions and other vegetables of the genus Allium prevent or suppress various types of cancer, such as: If you taste the onion, it's wonderful to know that you don't need more than the garden of your home to obtain some of the most powerful anticancer foods on the planet. It should be noted that the same studio indicates that:

Changing eating habits could be a practical and affordable measure to reduce the risk of cancer and modify the behavior of tumors. Around 30 to 40% of the types of cancer could be prevented by taking proper food and nutrition, doing physical activity, and maintaining healthy body weight. This means choosing the foods that help maintain healthy body weight, reducing the consumption of foods such as … processed meats that could increase the risk of cancer, and increasing the consumption of foods that can reduce the risk of this disease“

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