© 2023 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut Garden Journal: Growing onions from seed is easier than you think

Bunch onions and parsley growing in the greenhouse prior to spring planting
Barbara Rich/Getty Images
Moment RF
Start seeds indoors under grow lights 2- to 3-months before planting in the garden. Onions transplant well even with small roots.

This time of year I start getting itchy to plant something. It's too early to repot houseplants and certainly too early to start seeds, like tomatoes, indoors. But there are some veggies that can be started this early.

Onions are a lot easier to grow from seed than you think. I started growing onions from seed indoors under grow lights a number of years ago because I noticed my local garden center only had a few varieties to buy. By growing your own transplants from seed you can explore odd-shaped Italian heirlooms, giant, sweet onions and onions good for pickling.

I love growing red onions. Newer varieties are sweeter than white or yellow onions and some, such as 'Redwing', last long in storage. We're still eating red onion bulbs I harvested last summer! If you're looking for a conversation piece in an onion, try 'Kelsae Giant'. This northern onion can grow to 15 pounds and still retain its sweetness.

Bunching onions, where you eat the tops and all, are a great way to get an early crop of onions in our area. They come with white or red coloring and you can even grow some in a sunny window for an early spring, indoor harvest. 'Pearl' is a small, white, pickling onion variety that produces quickly from a spring planting.

When purchasing onion seed look for long or day neutral varieties. These are best adapted to our climate. Start seeds indoors under grow lights 2- to 3-months before planting in the garden. Trim the tops, if they get leggy. Don't worry about overcrowding because onions transplant well even with small roots.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.