Share it! Science : Glimpse of the Garden: Week 8, Onion Sets

Glimpse of the Garden: Week 8, Onion Sets

     Each year I buy a bag of onion sets from our local farmer's co-op. As I am getting ready to get them in the ground, I got to wondering- why do we call them onion sets? What is the difference between a set and a seedling?

     An onion set is one onion, not the entire bunch, like a set of dishes. Many onion sets are grown near Chicago, a place Native Americans named "Shikako", or "skunk place" after the smell of wild garlic, onions and leeks.

     Although you can grow onions from seed, they have long growing seasons, so it is not the easiest way to do it for a small scale gardener like me. The onion sets are grown from seed, planted very thickly so that they must compete for resources. The added competition stunts the growth of the onions and the bulbs stay small.

     These small onions are harvested late in the summer and thoroughly dried so that they will not rot in storage. They are stored until the late winter/early spring when you can start to buy them in your local gardening store. 

     The difference between a seedling and a set is a seedling is an onion sprout that is grown directly from seed, and a set is a small onion that has been grown and harvested the season before. 
Onion set info from
2014 Onion Patch ©SBF 2014

2014 Red Onion Harvest ©SBF 2014

In other garden news, the spring flowers continue to bloom and amaze me. Outside is buzzing with bumblebees and we've spotted our hummingbirds back to visit the azaleas and lilacs! 

(affiliate link)
Grow and Make

No comments:

Post a Comment