TIME TO PLANT YOUR ONIONS NOW? It depends. In growing onions the first question you must answer is “How are you going to use these onions?”

          Onions can be used (1) as green table onions, (2) as sweet onions for use on hamburgers and in salads as soon as they are harvested, and (3) as dry or storage onions which are usually used in cooking. 

          The first two kinds do not store very well. The table onions are usually pulled, washed, and put on the table the same day or the next. Sweet onions such as the White Bermuda and Yellow Bermuda, Walla Walla, Candy Hybrid, Red Hybrid, Red Hamburger, Miss Society (Hybrid White Granex), Mr. Society (Hybrid Yellow Granex) (4), and Texas 1015Y Supersweet (favorite onion in the Plains States) will not store more than one to 3 months. Dry or storage onions such as White Sweet Spanish, Yellow Sweet Spanish, and Big Daddy can be kept over the winter after proper curing. They should be stored in a cool, moderately dry area, in ventilated containers.

          Many want to plant Vidalia sweet onions but the laws restrict the use of the name “Vidalia Onions” to only those onions grown by farmers in Vidalia County and some neighboring Counties in Georgia. However, the seed they plant to get these onions is “Granex”. Both yellow and white Granex seed and plants are available and can be grown in Nebraska.        

          The next question then is “Should I plant seeds, sets, or plants?”


          “All onion types can be started from seed.  Onion seed can be grown indoors about 4 to 8 weeks before transplanting or seed can also be sown directly into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked. Follow the packet directions for planting onion seed.” (1)


          “Onion sets are purchased as red, white, or yellow onions. (Almost all of these are Ebenezer cultivars and good keepers.)  They are small, dormant onion bulbs that are ready to be planted in your garden. Plant these in early spring, giving them ample time to grow.”

          “Onion sets are grown for young green table onions or harvesting later for a dry ‘keeping’ onion.  When planting onion sets, divide them into two sizes. Plant the largest sets together in order to have early green onions leaving smaller sets for dry cooking onions. Plant the sets 1 to 2 inches apart and 2 to 3 inches deep.  When you harvest your table onions, pull every other plant allowing more space for the development of the remaining onions for cooking and storing.”  (1)


1. “Onions, Potatoes” and Sweet Potatoes: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting”.  Free brochure from Earl May Seed and Nursery, Shenandoah, Iowa 51503. (

2. “Onions” Free handout from Campbells Nursery and Garden Center, Lincoln, NE.  (

3. “Onions” pm1889 Revised June 2009 Prepared by Cindy Hanes, Eldon Everhart, and Richard Jauron, Extension horticulturists: Diane Nelson, extension communication specialist, and Jane Lenahan, extension graphic designer. Iowa State University: University Extension, Ames, Iowa (

4. Brown’s Omaha Plant Farms, Inc., Omaha, TX 75571, 2013 catalog.

 (Free catalog available at

Copyright 2016