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. Skip the grocery store and add these savory flavors to your kitchen by growing them yourself.
Onions are cool-season vegetables and some of the first to appear in garden centers in Spring. You can plant onions as soon as the soil is workable. Loosen the soil then plant the individual plants or set each plant 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, onions are usually ready to harvest. You'll see the green tops start to fall over, which 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 before planting 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 will fully emerge in 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 weeks of drying, cut off the sheets. The garlic is now ready to use! Be sure to keep a few bulbs in reserve for planting next fall.