Gardening season is right around the corner. Things you need to know are the square footage of your garden and what’s in the soil, nutritionally speaking. If you don’t know, then do a soil test. For gardens, I recommend a soil test every 18 months to 2 years. The reason is different crops use nutrition at different rates. Since most folks grow 2 to 4 crops a year, testing is critical. Wells Brothers sells soil test kits and also does soil testing. Once you have the results, picking amendments become easier.
Next, you need a good crop rotation plan. Farmers have been moving crops around their fields for more than a millennium. Even so, I still talk to folks that insist on planting the same crop in the same spot year after year and expect the same results. You might get lucky for two years but not for three. In the past, I have had excellent crop rotation plans and I have had some that really stunk up the garden. “You have to have a plan before it fails.”
Onion sets (45 – 50 onions in a set) are usually here by the second or third week of January. Their arrival will be posted on Facebook. Plant onions as soon as they become available in full sun and well-drained soil that is loose to about eight inches deep. Onions should be planted deep enough to hold up the plant and about four to five inches apart. Once a root system is established (about three weeks) pull some of the dirt away from the top to expose the bulb to sunlight. Don’t let them get thirsty. Onions require good moist soil during the first part of the growing cycle. Once the bulbs start to form, moisture becomes less of an issue.
Onions require more fertilizer than most garden crops. They really enjoy moderate nitrogen (1st number) and high phosphate (2nd number) fertilizers. The two fertilizers I use are a 5-10-5 from Espoma and 13-13-13 from Agrium. Apply fertilizer when you prepare the bed. I have also used bone meal and Wells Brothers “Jump Starter” when planting. At three weeks, top dress with fertilizer and then again when the bulb starts to grow. I also fertilize every three weeks or so until the end of April. You should be harvesting onions towards the end of May.