25 September 2008 |

Its Time to Plant Edible Bulbs

Written by Jason

Now is the time to plant edible bulbs such as onions, garlic and shallots.  Get your bulbs planted now and you should have a delicious harvest early next summer.  There is a wide variety of edible bulbs available today from all over the world.  Have a look at garlic bulbs in any seed catalog and you will probably be amazed at the varieties available.  We have been planting garlic and onions here at the yardstead for the last several years with greta success.  We typically get the bulbs in the ground in early October and begin harvesting onions in late spring or early summer.  After planting we do very little in the way of maintenance over the winter.  We usually plant 1 row in the garden half with onions and half with garlic, and harvest enough to last throughout the year.  This year we plan on planting shallots as well, for a little variety.
Onions sets should be planted while they are still fresh and green.  If you order onion sets from a seed catalog they will probably arive fresh and green.  If you pick out onion sets at a local store.  Avoid onion sets that are browning or dried out, as this can cause poor growth or early seed formation called bolting which can affect the taste of your onions.  Onions do best in a soil pH between 6.5 and 7.  Test your soil pH and add lime if it is too acidic.  Plant individual onion bulbs about 3 or 4 inches apart and about 1 inch deep.   If you like fresh green onions, plant extra onions for early harvest.
Garlic should also be planted 3 to 4 inches apart and about 1 inch deep.  Seperated the garlic bulbs into cloves and plant the largest bulbs.  Discard or eat the smaller cloves because they usually produce smaller bulbs than the larger cloves.  Garlic requires some cold weather exposure to grow properly so be sure to get them in teh ground before the cold weather sets in.
Shallots are usually pretty expensive at the grocery store.  They have a mild garlic flavor and are excellent for cooking.  Seperate the cloves and plant them the same way as garlic but don't discard the small cloves.  Plant the small shallot cloves as well as the large ones.  They should all produce hardy tasty plants.
Garlic and shallots should be harvested as the stalks brown and fall over.  Onions can be harvested a little sooner or left in the ground until the tops dry and fall over.  If you don't have room for a regular garden, all of these bulbs will do well in containers.  You can also mix garlic, onion or shallot bulbs in with your flowers or other landscape plants.  Get them in the ground now and when summer rolls around you will be glad you did! 

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