User avatar
Drumopelli
Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:01 am
Location: Glendale, AZ

Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

I would really like to start growing some onions in the future. I live in AZ and asked a few people here and they said, "If you want onions, go to the grocery store," implying that I had a better chance of winning the lottery.

The soil here makes bad soil look good. It's basically sun-baked brimstone, and thats in the shade. The soil is very hard and compact and I've heard very alkali (whatever that menas). But, can you grow onions in pots in good potting soil? Any suggestions?

Oops, beer-thirty... gotta go.

:P
My short term memory isn't what it used to be. Also, my short term memory isn't what it used to be.

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

In your area, I would definitely recommend gardening in containers or raised beds. :)

UC at Davis has a nice informational page on growing veggies in containers, including recommendations for container sizes.

https://celosangeles.ucdavis.edu/garden/articles/pdf/container-growing-vegetables.pdf

User avatar
Drumopelli
Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:01 am
Location: Glendale, AZ

Thanks.... 8)
My short term memory isn't what it used to be. Also, my short term memory isn't what it used to be.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

Sounds like you will need to till in a bale of peat moss on the plot. Then just push in the onion sets. Can you get sets? Onions from seed is a real challenge. Do you have irrigation water? They will need water. Onions are a cool weather crop. They need to be started early in the growing season.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Brent
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 9a

Re: Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

I also live in the valley of the sun which has been farmed for thousands of years. The valley is (was) a flood plain for the Salt, Verde, and Gila rivers. There can be good soil here depending on your locality. Glendale used to be all farmland. You will notice there is still lots.

My short day variety sampler pack from Dixondalefarms.com does well for me. You are late to plant them this year though. They recommend for our zone to plant the onion sprouts the second week of January.

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 886
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:19 am
Location: back to cental az for now, elevation 5141, lat 34.57

Re: Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

Agreed. Orange groves, lemon groves, grapefruit, cotton... Amend your soil! I would think you could still get some green onions to eat this season if you can find some of the little bulbs in the bag to plant.

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4986
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

I lived in Avondale 3 years about 15 minute drive from you. Not many people grow gardens in Arizona. There is a farm supply store on 202 near Glendale its best place I found to buy plants in trays. Your are right about AZ soil being bad but it is not as bad as you might thing. Soil is extremely fine sand the valley use to flood every year for 1000s of years now the dams hold back the snow melt water. Cover your garden with 6" of organic material and till it in. Good fertilizer is very hard to find in AZ check the farm supply store on 202. You need fertilizer that soil will not grow much without it. Do not put sulfur on the garden I did that to lower the ph it took 2 months before I could plant anything. AZ water and soil are both 8 ph. Now is a good time to plant every thing, broccoli, napa cabbage, other cabbage, tomatoes, beans, squash, chard, bell peppers, melons, anything you want will grow GOOD. I use to grow really good looking corn but it never made corn I think the problem is low humidity or too hot. Farmers in the valley grow lots of big 100 acre corn fields but not for corn it is all silage. I built an irrigation system to water my garden 15 minutes every evening at sun down. Lowes and Home Depot have irrigation stuff use the 1/4" black rubber hose or use 3/4" PVC pipe drill your own 3/32" holes 2 feet apart. Once I learned how to grow an AZ garden I had a very good garden. I had lots of tomatoes until it got hot month of May I covered the tomatoes with sun shade they did good until July they don't like 115 degree weather. Everything I planted did good except Brussels sprouts they were attached by micro small gray mites nothing would get rid of those bugs. Bugs are rare in AZ I had no other problem with bugs. I had grape vines but learned it was a waste of time 4 plants made a great crop of grapes but more work than I wanted grapes are only $1 a lb at the store. If you buy grapes by the case 50 lbs are $26 at Food City. Plant your onions and garlic in October they do very good in AZ. Don't listen to what AZ people tell you about gardening in AZ most people don't know and the people that think they know will tell you wrong. Lots of people told me to water early morning right after sun up other wise everything will die. I took a gardening class in college I know better than that plants take in all their water after dark and do all there growing after dark too. Plants dehydrate during the day so plants need to store up water all night to deal with AZ heat and hot sun in the day. Once the temperature gets to 100 put up your sun shade canvas black or brown available at Lowes. Best melons I ever grew was in AZ. Many crops can be harvested before the heat in May. Melons and sweet potatoes love the heat and hot sun they thrive in it give them water at sun down melon will be 30 lbs and sweet as candy. Give your onions and garlic high nitrogen fertilizer every 2 weeks and plenty of water. Only fertilize available in AZ is Palm tree fertilizer, cactus fertilizer, citrus tree fertilizer. Everything available is very low like 8/4/4 this works good. You need lime for Tomatoes, squash and peppers and you can not buy Lime in AZ. Burn some wood the ash is full of lime. Cement is only $2 a bag it is full of lime put a few hands full of cement in a 5 gallon bucket of water let it set for several days before you use it then stir well and pour it in the bottom of the tomato plant holes before you plant tomatoes plants. If you don't let the cement water set for several days it will kill all your plants. AZ garden is a challenge until you learn how. It made me mad all the stores sell plants $5 each, I refuse to pay $5 for 1 tomato plant back home in TN a 9 plant tray is $2.50

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11269
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

Actually, it is always a good idea to keep amending the soil. If the soil has a pH of 8, you would need a lot of sulfur to bring it down and you will have to keep adding it regularly to keep it that way unless you plant in raised beds or containers. Sulfur takes about 6 months to affect pH. You can plant in it right away, but you cannot plant any acid loving plant for at least that long. Peat moss, and acidic fertilizers can also reduce pH. If you put peat moss in the planting beds it will lower the pH faster. Compost will buffer pH so it behaves more neutrally. However, be careful what compost you use since compost can have a pH of 8 as well. Do not add any chicken manure to the plot, it will make the pH even higher. Steer or horse manure would work better. If your pH is 8 you don't need lime. Tomatoes like a soil that is slightly acidic between pH 6.0-6.8. Grow them in pots. You can make self watering containers. Use potting soil MG potting soil works fine. You can add 2 cups synthetic or 3 cups organic fertilizer to the container. Choose a heat resistant tomato. Arkansas Traveller, Sun Master, Heat master, Heatwave II, creole, sungold, sunsugar, sugary, cherry. Smaller tomatoes tolerate heat better than larger tomatoes. In the heat of summer plant tomatoes where they will get afternoon shade or plant them under shade cloth 35-47 %.

For onions, you can always get the soil ready for next year.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Peter1142
Green Thumb
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:23 pm
Location: SE NY ZONE 6B

Re: Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

Growing scallions is easy and you don't have to worry about day length or having a large amount of space - they grow great close together, or even in a pot - if you wanted to grow something but you don't have a decent amount of garden space prepared.
Zone 6b SE NY
My blog Peter's Vegetable Garden

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

There in your location, you would do well to plant short day types and plant them in January.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11269
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Growing Onions: To do or not to do...

What you can do with your soil is have it tested and start amending with good compost. When you get your soil test and if you need to make pH adjustments, the test will tell you how much sulfur to add. Since it takes 6 months for the pH to be changed ultimately by soil bacteria, your garden should be ready to plant in the fall. You can plant now in pots and potting soil.
If you make a raised bed and fill it with good soil or use the formula 1/3 good quality compost from multiple sources, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 drainage material vermiculite, perlite or coarse builder's sand. and add fertilizer, it will be good to go. Do not add any lime. I like a fertilizer with micronutrients and numbers under 15 if possible; under 10 is better.

A keyhole garden might be a better design for you as it makes the most of recycled water and has a built in compost pile. You can also build it so you can shade it in summer.
The garden can be made out of any readily available materials. A 6 ft garden is about as big as you can get and still have the water reach the edge from the central basket. It produces a lot of food but some plants are not recommended.
A shelter can be made of wire or flexible branches or conduit tubing. It can be used as a trellis or can be covered to provide shade in summer or in when it is colder, it can be covered with plastic to make a winter greenhouse.
https://bakerinstitute.org/media/files/ ... nglish.pdf
https://www.texascooppower.com/texas-sto ... -gardening
https://www.inspirationgreen.com/keyhole-gardens.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2I-_6Bog-rM
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”