Onions are one of our favourite veggies to grow, as they can succeed easily in both pots and in-ground gardens, plus they are typically low maintenance and many types store well into winter! But, we often hear surprise from gardeners when we talk about only offering onion seedlings, versus the established small bulbs called "sets".
There are a few reasons we focus on seedlings vs. sets. First, we can offer more diversity of onions and related alliums when seed grown (there are very few organic allium bulb sets on the market, whereas we can offer most of our allium seedlings from certified organic seed and grow them 100% organically at Sage Garden). Second, most onions are biennials meaning they put much of their second-year energy into flowering. Onion sets are second-year bulbs, so the resulting plants are less bulb-focused and more flower-focused. By contrast, first-year onion seedlings are all about turning out beautiful bulbs at fall harvest!
The seedlings we offer come in 4-packs, each with between 20 and 40 seedlings in each depending on the variety. Seedlings are meant to be teased apart and transplanted bulb-widths apart, and onion seedlings separate easily from each other. The seedlings need to be well watered as they establish but quickly grow and become low-care if planted into composty soil. The one amendment that some gardeners add other than compost is bone meal, providing slow-release phosphorous to encourage bulb development. Just a sprinkle of bone meal per seedling is sufficient.
We find this to be an awesome way to get a strong crop of onions!
Cortland onions are one of our most popular! They are versatile, easy to grow and have excellent storage qualities. We also have red onions, leeks, shallots, Walla Wallas, Cipollini, bunching onions (scallions) and more, each spring.