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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Planting Onion Seedlings, a Lesson.

An informative pictorial all about how we plant our onions (and other alliums such as shallots and leeks) here at Boulder Belt Eco-Farm. This season we plan on planting around 6000+ onion, leek and shallot seedlings. We also have several beds of sets (which we grew) and a couple of beds that we direct seeded (and will use most of those onions for next years' sets).

Today we will talk about transplanting seedlings. Onions can be transplanted early in the season. We are in zone 5b/6a (depending on what climate change is doing on any given day) and we have started transplanting as early as early March but most years we start transplanting in Early April and try to finish up before Mid April, though in the past we have been planting the last of our alliums in early May and they worked out just fine.

We prepped our beds before planting by putting on compost, a pelleted fertilizer (I do not remember what the NPK is, something like 7-10-7) and sulfur because our soils are quite low in sulfur according to our last soil test. All that was tilled in lightly and than the bed was raked smooth and is ready to go

We start with onion seedlings we started in December through early February. These in the photo are Copra onions, our favorite yellow storage/cooking onion and the pots we are using for this bed are the pots that had a lot of die off so they are not well filled with seedlings. Most of our pots have around 150 seedlings in the and it takes 2.5 to 3 pots to fill a bed with approx. 450 seedlings. These pots have about 1/4 that amount so it took 6 partially filled pots to get the job done

Here we have removed the seedlings from the soil they grew in and have moved them to a 1 quart yogurt container to get ready for transplanting. We put the bare rooted seedlings in water (usually with a bit of kelp powder such as Maxi-crop) to keep the roots wet and keep transplant shock to a minimum.

Eugene shows us how to make a proper planting hole. take the trowel and plunge it into the soil, draw it back towards your body to make a small hole and you are ready to place your seedling

 This show the proper depth for planting an onion seedling. You want the roots to hang freely so they are not bent or folded (or spindled!) and you do not want to plant onions deeply. Just make sure the roots are completely covered along with perhaps a centimeter of the onion greens (if that).

Once the seedling is in the hole at it's proper depth you just push the soil back , et voila! The seedling is planted

 A happy seedling


My Edible Yard said...

Great post, Lucy. Thanks. Very informative and educational. Great pics, as usual, too.


Marthanna said...

Thanks so much! I wish I would've had this when I planted my seedlings...would've been so much easier! :)