NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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April 30, 2012 Horticulture Column

Howdy!!!

Wow, where the time goes.  It is hard to believe it is already May 1.  The weekend was quite cool but did manage to get many things accomplished in my yard.  I now have our potatoes planted (and now emerged), onions planted and many rows of peas for Deb.  She is a pea lover and I usually plant several different varieties to spread out the picking season.  I look for differing maturities and plant the same time.  This allows the fresh garden produce to be picked over a longer period of time.  I also dug up some perennials that did not make the winter.  This is very strange to me as why they did not make the winter.  The perennials that did not make the winter are the ones that are no brainers and survive no matter the conditions.  I need to do some further investigation as it seems that something happened to the root system.  I also did a little pruning on trees with lower growing branches that bug me when I am mowing.  Of course, Deb gets a little hostile of my pruning as she thinks all trees should be left alone as mother nature has developed them, but I need to remind her that I am the one doing the mowing and when not looking can be nasty on the arms or face.  I mentioned earlier that I now have our onions planted and thought I would add some onion growing instructions today.

Watering Onions

It's a good idea to keep the soil in your onion patch consistently moist. Onions have shallow roots, so deep soaks are not necessary. You will be better off watering onions every couple of days if no rain falls in your area. A soaker hose will work just fine. You can also use an adjustable sprayer attached to the end of a hose. Set the sprayer on the mist setting and give your onion plants enough water to make the soil on top very damp.

Fertilizing Onions

It's best to fertilize the soil in your onion patch before you plant the onion seedlings or sets. Choose a timed release, balanced granular fertilizer, like 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. Mix it into the soil before planting. An easy way to accomplish this is to scatter the granules on the ground and then till the soil one last time. Apply the granules at the rate suggested by the manufacturer - usually 1 1/2 pounds per 100 square feet. Again, try to use a nitrate based fertilizer instead of a sulfate based one. This will make your onions more sweet and mild. You also won't cry nearly as much when you chop them up.

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