Three Ways to Grow Onions in Your Vegetable Garden

Bunch of fresh onions on deck.

Method #1: Growing Onions from Sets

Onion sets look like tiny onions and are actually dormant onion bulbs. You can buy onion sets in the spring at your local gardening center, and hardware stores and home improvement centers often sell them as well.


This is the most popular way to grow onions. That’s because it’s the easiest way, and requires the least work.


Onions in basket.

The most obvious downside to buying onion sets is the cost. Onion sets cost a great deal more than seeds, so you are paying for skipping the work.

You will also likely be far more limited in the onion varieties you can choose from. In fact, a lot of stores simply label onion sets by color rather than by cultivar name, so you just know you’re getting a “white” onion, rather than which specific type.

How to Grow Onions from Sets:

To grow onions from sets, choose sets that are about the same diameter as a dime. Onion sets that are too large will go to seed too quickly and give you small onions.

Store the sets in a cool, dry place until planting time, which will be two to four weeks before your area’s last expected frost.

To plant your onion sets:

  1. Dig a shallow furrow for your onion sets. The furrow only needs to be deep enough so that the tip of the onion set will be right at the surface of the ground after you fill it in. Place the sets into the furrow pointed-end-up, about 4″ to 6″ apart.
  2. Cover the onion sets with dirt, and pat the dirt down gently.
  3. Consider fastening some sort of protection over your onion sets to prevent animals from digging them up. Raccoons, gophers, rabbits, and even dogs have been known to swipe onion sets. Chicken wire staked to the ground makes a pretty good digging preventer.


  1. An interesting article about growing onions, but how about one on how to eradicate wild onions in my perennial beds. Between the weeds and the onions this spring, I can’t even find some of the perennials.

    Love your show–I watch it every week.


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