Onions are the most widely used vegetable. It is used on a daily basis in different recipes, salads, or also in your burgers. Growing them is also a fun exercise. There are different types of onions but we are interested in how to grow red onions from scraps.
Red onion is also known as purple onion because of its purple color. It has red meat in it. You can grow almost every kind of onion from scraps. We shall be looking at how to grow them using a couple of different techniques.
Growing Red Onions Explained
Let’s figure out a couple of ways to start the process of growing red onions. The main thing that you need is a good-looking and healthy red onion bottom. That is the ingredient to start this whole process.
HOW TO GROW ONIONS FROM SCRAPS
Follow the steps given below to start growing red onions from scraps.
CHOOSE THE ONION BOTTOM
The first thing is first, as already told that you need a very good-looking and firm red onion bottom. You can buy this from any store near you. Remember to ensure that your chosen onion should have a good root system attached to its bottom.
If you have any gardener friends, ask them for a healthy onion to start with. An organically grown onion would produce the best results for you.
CUT THE BOTTOM
You can consume the whole of the onion as you like, just keep the bottom part of it for growing a new plant. Cut the onion with a sharp knife and keep at least 1 to 1 and a half inches of onion attached to the bottom. A good root system would help to grow the best out of it.
This is a process to dry out the onion bottom you just got as a scrap. You need to keep the bottom in a dry shady place to let it dry out completely. It might take up to a day or a couple of days.
Once callusing is done, it keeps the bottom safe from rotting also. Because all the water from it dries out which is the main cause of rotting.
HOW TO GROW ONIONS FROM SCRAPS IN WATER
This is another way to start growing onions from scraps using water as a growing medium for its initial stage. As we have discussed earlier on how to start growing onions from scraps in soil, we need the same kind of start for grouping them in water also. Follow the steps given below
Firstly, take a healthy onion from which you have to get a bottom with good roots, just like you did in the previous method. It is better to keep some part of the onion attached to the bottom. This will help to support the plant.
Take three to four toothpicks or anything that you can use to suspend the onion piece over water. Insert these toothpicks into the flesh and be careful not to damage the core of the onion by piercing it too deeply. This could cause damage to your onion.
This step can also be skipped if you use a glass or cup which can hold the onion on its brim. This way you won’t need any suspenders.
Now fill that glass or a small container with water and hang the onion bottom right over the water. Ensure that the bottom of the onion having the root system touches the water. It should be submerged in water.
Keep an eye on the water level and make sure the bottom remains in contact with water. If the water level falls below, add more water to it.
The fourth step is to place this small container in a shady place. At this stage, it would not require any sunlight
At the fifth stage, you will notice the roots grow further and rings would appear. This is the signal that the growing process has now been started successfully.
A few days after the rings have appeared, you will start to see new plants sprouting out from the onion scrap you were using. There could be more than one baby plant.
If you get more than one new plants you can always separate them from each other. Use a sharp knife for this purpose. Every single plant would also have its own root system at its bottom.
Now, these are the new plants or seedlings from which you can start your onion plants.
From this step onwards, we have to follow the same methods both ways. Either you are growing in water or you have planted directly into the soil. The next steps are the same which are explained below.
Growing Red Onions In Containers
It’s better to start the next step with the container. You can handle the container easily. The container must have plenty of drainage holes. Pine bark chips could also be placed at the bottom of your container for good drainage.
The size of your container should be large enough to give plenty of space for the root system to grow well. A pot of 8-inch size or greater would serve the purpose. The roots will have enough space to grow in this space.
Good potting soil is needed now. Your soil should also be rich in high organic matter. The nutritional value of your soil can be increased by composting. Adding manure to the soil will also increase nutrients in the soil.
PLANTING THE ONIONS INTO THE SOIL
Either you grew new plants from scraps in water or you got the dried onion bottom after callusing, it’s time to plant them in the soil. In the case of dried onion bottom, dig a hole large enough to accommodate that piece.
After a few days, new sprouts will appear from it. There could be more than one so you have to separate them first and afterward, you can shift them to your main garden space.
In the case of new baby plants you got from the water growing method, dig small holes in the garden soil and make sure the holes are deep enough to provide room for the long roots that were formed during the whole process. Plant and cover them with soil.
The best space between two onion plants is 4 inches. Keep this space and you will get the best onion bulbs at the time of harvest.
WATERING THE ONION PLANTS
Now that you have planted them in the soil, it is time to water them thoroughly, this would adjust the soil to its place. Water the plant when required and don’t let it dry out completely. Remember that onions need a good amount of water throughout their growing season.
PLANT THEM ON A SUNNY SPOT
Choose the area that gets plenty of sunlight as your plants would need it. Plant them where they can absorb their required sunlight. After a few days, you will see visible growth.
FERTILIZING THE ONIONS
Nutrients play a vital role in the growing process of onions. They need to be fertilized at every different stage. In the early stages, you can provide them with high phosphorus fertilizer. A water-soluble fish emulsion is also a good option for fertilizing your plant.
In the middle stages, you need to provide nitrogen-rich fertilizer after every three-week period. You should not be fertilizing your onion plant once the bulbs start to appear.
Remove the weeds as you see them around your plant. They would hinder the growing process. Don’t let them grow throughout the season.
HARVEST THE RED ONIONS
You started from the red onion scraps and now you are about to harvest the new onions from it, how cool is it?
When you are looking to harvest your onions is when the green-colored tops of onions will turn brown and they will also fall off. This is the time to harvest. Pull the onions out from the soil and let them remain in the sunlight for some time, maybe a couple of days, and don’t let them stay outside in the rain.
CURING AND STORING THE ONIONS
Onions can be stored for very long periods of time usually ranging from 3 months up to 10 months. But that depends on how well you cure the onions. After harvesting them, keep them on the soil for a couple of days and let them dry. Also, keep them safe from the harsh sunlight.
After a couple of days, you can move them indoors in a shady and dry place. This place should have good air circulation because airflow is very important for this process. Let them dry there and once the outer skin of the onions dries out completely, you can now detach the bulbs from them.
Storing them in a plastic bag is a bad idea, you should always use a mesh bag for this purpose. The reason for this is the airflow through the mesh bags.
We have discussed in the article how to grow onions from scraps. Specifically the red onions and generally other onion varieties as well. You can use two ways for this purpose. Both use scrap to regrow the onions.
The first one uses water as its medium and the other one uses the soil directly. Both of them are equally fruitful if proper care is given during the growing season. From one kitchen scrap, you were capable of growing several new plants and getting many onions.
Next time you are thinking to throw the onion scrap away, think about growing a new plant from it. Always a good idea not to throw the scrap into your dustbin.