What I love best about farming is that I’m constantly learning new things. Starting seeds indoors is a great way to get a jump on the growing season, and this year I wanted to try my hand at onions.
I started a tray of Southport Red Globe seeds (72 cells) on Tuesday, December 27. I followed the package instructions, set up the mini-greenhouse on a warming pad under a grow light, and made sure the seeds stayed moist. I spotted a sprout on January 6…and its the only sprout to date.
At first I thought all the cellular activity was simply happening underground – onions are a root vegetable after all. After seeing a story about microgreens on an episode of “Growing a Greener World” (check your PBS listings – love this show!) I decided to set up a second tray of onion seeds. Essentially you set up little greenhouses and use dark covers to speed germination.
This time I used Red Creole onion seeds. The only thing I changed was using an empty drip tray as a lid instead of the clear greenhouse lid. I set the tray up Saturday, January 14 and took my first peek yesterday (January 19). I was astounded to see nearly half the cells already had visible greens.
Interesting, right? My theory is that these root vegetables simply love the dark, the black lid helps mimic being further under ground than just a shallow surface planting, and my lack of peeking kept things warm and cozy for these seeds. This method will also save me some cash, as I have just 2 clear lids but plenty of drip trays!