Growing Onions In Containers - First Try, Final Report

David Trammel's picture

If you've read my earlier posts on this year's garden and my experiments with self watering containers, you'll know I set up one with onions.

Here's the picture of the container back in June

There were five onions, I believe they were 3 yellow onions and 2 whites.

I admit that they were planted a bit crowded but the soil was a very rich mix so I didn't think they would lack nutrients. Also the expense of the containers and soil, as well as the space in the garden kind of mandated that the container had a bunch of onions in it.

You wouldn't take this much trouble to grow just one onion.

It was also an experiment, since the spacing was clearly tight. Could onions grow this close together?

Now that its late August most of the plants have died off, which is a good indication its time to harvest.

Here's the result.

Not all that great.

The second onion from the left, which was a yellow onion, was at the center position and is about the size of a tennis ball in diameter. The others are smaller. They weigh in at about 2 pounds. Enough to add to a stew but not enough for a full meal alone.

For the effort you really need to grow bigger onions, something along the lines of commercial onions.

A good start. My second experiment is going to be just three onions for the Fall and perhaps over Winter.

As a side note, the self watering design seems to be doing what it should. Here's a picture of the bottom of the top container and the roots from the onions.

Not sure if the roots growing out of the center cup (arrow A) are just from the one onion but clearly they are down into the water. There is also several roots (arrow B) growing down thru the holes in the bottom of the upper container. Note too, how many roots are in the siphon cup (arrow C).

In replanting the Fall plants today, I was struck on how moist the soil was in many of the containers. This might be because we had a good rain a few days ago.

More to come.

Magpie's picture

All of the onions available in grocers here in NZ are the same size or smaller than the ones you've photographed. In my own garden, my "big" onions are about the same size as your smallest one. Personally, I prefer smaller onions, as it allows me to use onion without having to store fractions of an onion between meals (ie. I want to use "1 1/2 American standard 'medium' onions", I'd just use three small onions). Storing small onions is also easier, as less is wasted if one starts to go bad, plus they are easier to store hanging as a braid. I definitely wouldn't count the experiment a failure!