Thursday, March 4, 2021

Growing Potatoes, Onions and Shallots

Growing your own food with Art's Nursery

Posted By: in Vegetables

Are you growing onions, shallots or potatoes this year?

Growing Onions and Shallots

You can plant onions from seeds, seedlings or from bulbs. If you are starting from seed…you better get cracking. I have some seeds that I am starting but I am really excited to try some of the onion sets this year. Onions, like potatoes adore a full sun, well drained position with a light loamy or sandy loam soil. Unlike potatoes, you will get only 1 onion per bulb.

Plant out 3 to 4 weeks before last expected frost. That’s around March-April here on the West Coast. For scallions you can plant every 3 weeks from April until late August according to West Coast Seeds. Full disclosure, this will be my first year planting shallots…I am always on the learning curve.

Plant pointy side up and no more than about 1 inch deep because unlike the potatoes, the onions grow bigger and better at the surface of the soil. For larger onions be generous with your spacing, about 3 to 4 inches and the smaller shallots about 2 inches apart.

Onions are shallow rooted so keep up with the watering especially in the drier months. The tops won’t look like they are wilting but the bottoms won’t size up unless there is adequate moisture.

Yes this is one crop you will need to be extra diligent with the weeding. They really do not like competition.
Time to harvest when the tops start to topple over. Once they do, you will want to dig them up and dry them if you want to store them. A screen under the deck is what I have planned for mine but really anywhere they will be kept dry, with good air movement for about 2 weeks.

I am pretty excited about growing this year!! If you do have any tips and tricks that you like to use for growing onions or shallots please share.

We are excited to have a great collection of Potatoes, Onions and Shallots on offer…I am especially excited to see the purple potatoes!!

Growing The Best Potato

Ensure you have a well drained spot with a good sandy loam soil in full sun. You can grow potatoes in the ground, in a container grow bag or stacked tires as long as the drainage is good and the soil is nice and light not heavy compacted clay.

Once you’ve decided on a variety (or in my case, 3), place them in a cool frost-free spot (garage works for about 3 weeks to encourage the eyes to sprout, I totally forgot this step last year and still got potatoes. If you have the area, you can actually make multiple plants out of one potato as long as there is at least 1 eye per potato chunk and the chunks are about 2 to 3 inches in size. If you have a small spud about the size of an egg you probably just want to leave it be.

Plant out in Mid to End of March to April or about 2 weeks from last frost. Plant 3 to 6 inches deep eyes up. If you are wanting new baby potatoes you can harvest about 7 to 8 weeks after planting or as Lorna’s Mom used to say…”Tickle the soil”. You can often remove some of the baby potatoes and leave the others to size up.
When the plants are about a foot tall you can hill up or add some soil around the area. This prevents the top potatoes from getting green shoulders which is caused by exposure to light. Hilling up ensures that you have enough soil on top of the potatoes to account for soil settling, weeding etc.

For larger potatoes you can wait until August-September. Being the impatient gardener that I am, I used my potato fork to slightly loosen the soil around the plants beginning of August to check for size.

If you want to store your potatoes, cut off the top of the plants or wait until they die on their own and leave the tubers in the soil for about 2 weeks for their skin to toughen slightly. Alas, my little potatoes didn’t have a chance they were snapped up by my family by mid September. Maybe I need a bigger garden!
Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle is a certified horticulturalist and Landscape designer. She is currently an up and coming apple guru, growing over 120 cultivars which explains her passion for edible garden design. Laurelle works part time for Art’s Nursery. You can also interact with her through Art’s monthly newsletter, our blog and our gardening channel on YouTube.


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