From the Shiny Tiny Garden~Onion Planting Time

1:00 and all is well
Patty Pope and David Rose
Patty Pope and Mr. Rose have an afternoon chat.

It’s garden time again! Well, it’s been garden time for a few weeks, but Ohio decided to have a cold snap at the end of April so we haven’t been working out there as much as we had hoped. We have never been what one would call hardy gardeners. Sure, we had small gardens now and then throughout our marriage, but nothing very large or complicated. I guess when we don’t have to depend on a garden to eat, we can get lazy. And we got lazy. When you work full-time for someone else or even work on your own business, the really important things can fall by the wayside. And I think eating fresh food is very important. Yes, you can go to the farmers’ markets, and I would recommend that you do, but nothing beats harvesting your own food and cooking it right then. There is a feeling, a connectedness to the land, that can’t easily be explained. I’ve always admired those people who could work a full day somewhere else and come home and work a lot more. Making dinner and cleaning up afterwards was about all I could do when I got home. I guess it all depends on your priorities. You can’t beat food picked right from the garden! It’s so much better for us nutritionally, and it makes recipes taste delicious. So, I think that we really should think of the garden as a necessity instead of a chore. But I’m not judging; I know that it can be difficult when your energies are expended elsewhere.

Shiny Tiny Gardens Planting Onions
Ready to plant the onions in my winter apparel

I love to garden, but it has always been on my terms. If the weather is just right, and the sun is shining, and the birds are singing, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then you’ll find me out there with my trowel in hand. This year was going to be different. I was going to start early and keep up with it. I did; I really did try to get out there and get things done, but then it got cold again. I’m tired of the cold, and just want to curl up in a blanket instead of get out there in the dirt. Then I think of the famous Yoda saying, Do. Or Do Not. There is no try. And…Out I go! Maybe I’ll find my own Yoda sitting and chatting with our garden gnomes.

I am not an expert gardener, although I did play one for a little while when I took a Master Garden course at the Stark County Extension office years ago. I can’t remember much about it other than field trips to other people’s gardens. But I do have a little experience at gardening from fits and starts over the years. I want From the Shiny Tiny Garden to be posts that show the trials and successes of growing your own food. Since I am still working full-time, we are only growing a few vegetables this year, but I will show the process from planting to storage of what we are growing in our gardens. All of you experienced gardeners out there, please comment and give much advice. I feel that I’m going to need it. : ) So…here we go with our first planting.

The Onions

Shiny Tiny onions purchased at Berlin Seeds
Bags of onion sets from Berlin Seeds

We purchased a bag of red and yellow onions at a local garden store called Berlin Seeds. It was a beautiful, warm day, and it seemed like everyone in Holmes County as well as all of the tourists were there. The beginning of April was pretty warm here, but now we are having some really cold days and light frost over night. I’m told that we will be warmer this week. That’s great news! May is just around the corner, with warmer days ahead.

We could have planted the onions when we bought them, but we didn’t have the beds ready. I told you we were ill prepared this year. Next year will be different! Isn’t that an old gardener’s motto? : )

Shiny Tiny Onion Garden Bed
Onion Garden Bed

We worked a little on the gardens when we moved here in 2000, but since then, life and work has taken us away from them. Because we didn’t keep up with the garden areas, they have been taken over with weeds and Multiflora Rose. It’s going to be quite a job clearing it out again, but we are working little-by-little to reclaim it. This is an area by the house that I’m clearing for a kitchen garden. I planted the onions here. We’re lucky to have a lot of stones around our place to use for all sorts of things. One thing they’re good for is stacking up to make raised beds. We saved money, got a good work out and have an attractive border in the bargain~well at least I think stones are attractive~but that might be some kind of a mental problem. : ) We stacked up the stones and filled it with our compost.

Shiny Tiny Onion Spacing
Spacing onions with ruler

The bags from the garden store didn’t give us any directions for planting. I have a lot of garden books, but I just wanted a quick reference so I looked it up in the Farmer’s Almanac online. Their recommendation was to plant them 4-5 inches apart and 12-18 inches between rows. I spread them out a little more to 6″ apart and made 6″ between rows. I’ll report how this worked when I harvest them. I know experienced gardeners will laugh at me for taking a ruler out, but it helped me get an idea about how I should space them. After I got some in a row I just placed the next row even with the sets in the first row and it went a lot faster.

Shiny Tiny planting thumb
Using my big, ole’ garden girl thumb

I used my thumb to make a hole about 1″ deep to plant the sets. I have big, old farm girl hands, so they come in handy for all sorts of garden uses. The tip of my thumb to the knuckle is 1″, so that works for planting onions. I covered them and watered them in.

I planted some of the red onions close together in a small spot next to this bed. I’m going to use them as small onions in cooking and salads. I’ll show those as they poke their heads up through the soil.

I will post as they start to grow and when I harvest them.

That’s it for the first planting. Stay tuned for the exciting planting of the potatoes!

Gardeners~please comment on your tips or preferred methods of planting onions.

Shiny Tiny Garden Coffee Time
It’s coffee time!







Live Small and Prosper and see you next time in the Shiny Tiny Garden,


Head over to to

read their excellent post on onion growing!

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