Onion Family (including garlic)
Throughout the United States.
Onions: Sow onion seeds 1/2 inch deep and thin to stand 1/4 to 3 inches apart. Plant sets 1 to 2 inches deep, either side by side or up to 3 inches apart. Set transplants 2 to 3 inches deep and 3 to 5 inches apart. When growing for green onions, plant bulbs closer than when growing for dry onions. For a continuous harvest of onions, plant every couple of weeks. Garlic: Plant individual cloves 1 to 2 inches deep and 5 to 6 inches apart. Shallots: Plant individual sections 1 to 11/2 inches deep and 3 to 5 inches apart. Chives: Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep. Thin seedlings or set transplants to grow 8 inches apart. Plant transplants so that the top of their root ball is even with the surrounding garden soil. Leeks: Plant as for onion transplants or seeds.
Loose, crumbly soil that''s rich in organic matter.
Water when the soil feels dry.
Plant in early spring, or start seeds indoors several weeks before the last frost. In mild-winter areas, you can plant in mid-winter for an early-summer harvest. Plant garlic in fall, around the time of the first frost date. In warm areas, plant garlic up until January.
At planting time, fertilize with a continuous-release plant food formulated for vegetables.
Green onions: Pull the largest as needed. Dry onions: Harvest when half or more of the tops have turned yellow and fallen over. Dry in a warm, airy spot for 4 to 5 days. Shake off loose soil and skins. Place bulbs in a slatted crate or a mesh bag, and continue drying in a well-ventilated, dry area for 2- 4 weeks. After drying, store in a dry area between 35° and 40°F. Garlic: Harvest when the tops dry; cure as for dry onions. Shallots: Treat like dry onions. Chives: Snip with sharp shears any time there are young, fresh leaves. Use fresh, or dry or freeze for later use. Leeks: For white stems, gradually pile the soil in a hill around the plants throughout the growing season. Pick when the stems are 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Store in a root cellar or in the refrigerator until ready to use.