Even if you have snow on the ground, you can do some gardening: Plant seeds inside for cool weather
vegetables, such as onions.
Working with cool weather vegetables such as onions not only gives you something to do during winter,
it gives you a head start on spring planting.
As the name implies, cool weather vegetables can withstand cool temperatures—much cooler than
tender vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, can tolerate. That allows your onion seedlings to be
planted outside when the air and soil temperatures are just 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Tender plants, such
as tomatoes and peppers, can’t be planted outside until the air temperature is at least 60 degrees
Fahrenheit, even at night.
Learn how to plant seeds inside in our previous article here.
KINDS OF ONIONS
We carry two different varieties of onion this year.
‘Siskiyou Sweet’ onion is very mild and sweet. You can eat the green tops as if they were scallions.
The ‘New York Early’ onion stores well. It’s sweet, but with more bite than ‘Siskiyou Sweet’. See all the seeds we offer here.
A week before you plan to transplant your seedlings outside, start to harden off your seedlings. Put
them outside for a short period to get them used to brighter light and cooler temperatures than you
have inside your house. Each day, place them outside for a longer period so that when you transplant
them, they aren’t shocked.
Make sure conditions are suitable before you transplant seedlings outside. In addition to having proper
temperatures, you must make sure the soil is not too wet. If your garden has puddles, don’t even think
about planting, no matter how warm it is!
Here’s how you can test you soil to see if it is too wet. Scoop up a handful of soil and squeeze it. If it
sticks together and forms a glob, it’s still too wet. If it crumbles, it is dry enough to be worked.
At that point, you can add compost to your soil. (You can use the compost you have made yourself or
buy compost here.) Either mix some compost into the hole where you will place your seedling, or simply
top dress your bed with compost—smooth the compost on top of your soil.
Plant your seedlings and enjoy your early crop of cool weather vegetables!