How to Grow Onions and Garlic

Learn how to grow easy-care onions and garlic in your home vegetable garden.

-Onions and garlic are among the easiest garden vegetables to grow and add some of the best flavors to your kitchen. They're also some of the most rewarding because they store well. That means you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for months after harvest. Onions are cool-season vegetables and some of the first to appear in garden centers in Spring. As soon as the soil is workable, you can plant onions. Loosen the soil then plant the individual plants or sets 8 to 10 inches apart and about 2 inches deep. By early to mid-summer depending on where you live and which variety you grow, they unusually ready to harvest. You'll see the green tops start to fall over like this and this is a signal that they're ready to pull up. If the soil is loose, you can just grab the tops and pull. But a little assistance from a spading fork will make it easier. Brush up the soil, then let the onions cure for a week or two in a dry place leaving the tops on. After curing, you can cut off the tops and store the onions. Plant garlic in fall rather than spring. Wait until the cool weather laid on them so that the plants won't send up shoots before winter. Split individual cloves off the bulbs and plant them with the sharp tip pointed upward. The shoots full emergent spring and grow into early summer, if they produce flower buds, cut them off before they bloom so the plants can develop more energy to the bulbs. When the leaves start to turn brown, plants should be nearly ready to harvest. Pull up one bulb to check. If the bulb is full and firm with a slight papery skin, they're ready. You'll need a garden fork to help lift the bulbs. Like onions, you should keep the tops on while the garlic cures. After a couple of weeks of drying, cut off the sheets. The garlic is now ready to use and be sure to keep a few bulbs in reserve for planting next fall.