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How to Grow Garlic and Onion Sets

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When it comes to planting garlic and onion, choosing between growing plants from seeds or sets (young plants) can depend on various factors. Growing from seeds offers a wider variety of plant choices and can be more cost-effective. It allows you to experience the full growth cycle of a plant, starting from a tiny seed. However, growing from seeds requires more time, attention, and care, as you need to ensure proper germination and early growth stages.

Using sets, however, can be a convenient and faster option. Sets are already partially grown plants, making them easier to establish in your garden. They can be a good choice for beginners or for those who have limited time or experience.  We will go over how-to grow from sets of Sutherlands’ most popular selections.

There are 2 types of garlic: The softneck garlics are grown in the southern part of the U.S. Their stalks are soft enough that you can make those fancy braids while hardneck garlic, grows best in the cooler weather, whose plant stalks tend to be more stiff. You can grow garlic anywhere,even containers, as long as they are at least 6" deep for roots to grow and in a sunny spot. They are also ideal for container and patio gardens.

  • Fill the area with quality soil in a well drained location or container.
  • Plant the cloves about 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart, with the pointed end facing up.
  • Water thoroughly.
  • Cover generously with mulch or straw to protect from frost and to keep the soil moist. As the season goes, the watering could drain out nutrients from the soil. Be sure to give them plenty of fertilizer every few weeks till you start seeing them sprout.
  • Remove flowers to divert energy back to the growing bulbs.

When to harvest: When the stalks start to turn yellow, that is when you can start harvesting. Many would say when the first four leaves, counting from the bottom, have browned. Keep everything in tact as much as you can. They don’t need much cleaning. Leave them to cure (dry), best to spread out to avoid mold from forming. You can also hang them upside down in well a ventilated area away from sunlight. In about 2 weeks you will have plenty of delicious garlic to enjoy. You can braid them at this point. They make great decor in your kitchen too.

Have no space? Not a problem! Have lots of space? Even better! Growing onions can be rewarding. Even in a small space, you can plan on harvesting a good amount. Onion sets, just like garlic sets, are already established and ready to plant. They have a higher success rate than direct-sown seeds or transplants.

  • Fill the area with quality soil in a well drained location. You can plant them in a container but you need the container to be big enough for spacing.
  • Plant the onion sets about 1 inch deep and 4-6 inches apart in rows, ensuring the pointed side faces up.
  • Water thoroughly. The onions require approximately 1″ to 2″ of water per week. Check the soil. Onion plants often look healthy even when they need water.
  • Cover generously with mulch or straw to protect from frost and to keep the soil moist. Just like growing garlic, keep them fed with nutrients during growing season.
  • Cut off the flower on top, or cut the entire bolting stem, so the onion stops producing seeds unless you want to try growing from seeds next season.

When to harvest: Just like garlic, when the stalks start to turn yellow. Harvest the onions when the tops have fallen over and dried out, slowly pull them out of the ground and avoid damaging as it could cause them to rot. Check and remove any rot and cure them in a warm, dry place. You can braid and hang them upside down as well. Periodically check for rot and remove sprout. Once cured, you can cut the roots and trim the tops back to 1 or 2 inches.

We hope you will give them a “Grow” this spring season and enjoy homegrown onions and garlic that are perfect for adding flavor to your favorite dishes.

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