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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You Missed the Planting Dates for Onions if its April

Q. I need to get the bulbs of onions (yellow and red) and garlic planted now that it is April.  I was thinking of planting them in the semi shade of my Texas ranger shrub. The ranger grows along a wall that faces West so this area doesn’t get full sun until 1-ish.

A. You have missed the planting season for onion transplants. This would have been in mid-March in our climate.

Onion transplant on either side of drip tape
            Onions can be started from seed but onion seed is planted normally in late September to mid-October. Onion seed will germinate in the fall and overwinter with periodic waterings. I normally plant onion seed close together by broadcasting the seed in a small area and putting about ¼ inch of topdressing and mulch over the top.

            In mid-March I “lift” the young onion plants (transplants) with a spading fork for planting in rows that are about 12 inches apart and four inches between transplants. Onions are planted in full sun. They will not do well when planted in competition with other landscape plants like your Texas ranger.

            Garlic “seed” are not seed at all but the cloves inside the garlic bulb. These “seed” are separated from the bulb and left in the shade to heal over for a few days. They are then planted in a permanent location in the fall, the same time as onion seed. Garlic is harvested from May through June depending on the variety.

            Get ready to start onion and garlic in the fall and plant transplants of onions in mid Spring.
I would not mix onions with your Texas ranger. The competition from the Texas ranger will not be good for the onion. They will compete with each other for space, nutrients and water. This will result in not developing good size for the onion (unless you don't care about size). If you do want to add onions to your landscape I would do them in planting blocks of their own away from shrubs or trees. Just make sure you give them appropriate soil preparation and enough emitters to get good water distribution for their growth.

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