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Planting Vegetables in March

Onions

Q. The recent cold and snow have me dreaming of fresh produce from my veggie garden. What can I plant in March?

A. It’s not too early to select and purchase onion sets for late March planting. Onion sets are available at some garden centers and by mail order. If you order from catalogs, the varieties ‘Ebenezer’ and ‘Golden Globe’ are recommended for Illinois. Sets may be planted in early spring as soon as the soil is dry enough to work. For green onions, the sets should be placed upright about 1 inch apart and about 3 to 4 inches deep. For dry onions, the sets should be placed upright about 3 to 4 inches apart and 1 to 2 inches deep. Cover the sets with soil. Green onions (scallions) can be harvested four to six weeks after planting. Dry onions will be ready to harvest in three to four months (approximately late August or early September) when the necks are thoroughly dry or about 95 percent of the tops have bent over. Pull the onions and place them under cover to dry. Drying takes from two to four weeks. Then cut off the tops about an inch above the bulb, place them in a well-ventilated container, and store in a cool, dry place.

Please contact Plant Information at (847) 835-0972 or plantinfo@chicagobotanic.org for more information.