Papa Joe’s Secret to Growing Big Onions.

June 16th, 2010

This is me wee little onion patch.  I’ve got some volunteer tomatoes coming up between the rows and I have decided to let them live.  As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing better than a tomato that grows itself.  


On a recent visit to see my in-laws, I toured my father-in-law Joe’s garden and he told me that the secret to a big onion is to clear away the soil from the bulb once it starts to show a bit above ground.




So that is what I did.  I removed the dirt around my onions to expose about two thirds of the small white bulb.  

It was a trick that I hadn’t read or heard anywhere else, so I thought I would pass it along.  

Thanks Joe!


  • Melanie:

    Interesting… I planted onions a YEAR ago and they are still too small to pull up. Well, the ones that are left that is. I keep pulling them up to check on their size.

  • GA in GA:

    Have never had much luck with onions, so I’ll give this secret a try!

  • jamoody:

    Never heard of this either….too bad my onions drowned and I can’t try it out.

  • My onions are heaving themselves out at the shoulders. I guess they know something I don’t. I left them to their devices, and hopefully will be rewarded with a good crop. Speaking of onions: french onion soup tonight for dinner. The onions are cooking down even as we speak. Type. Whatever.

  • Oh man!
    This is my first year to grow onions, and every time I’ve seen a bit of bulb sticking out I’ve carefully covered it back up!
    Back out to the garden for me, I guess.

  • Thank you Joe.
    I love this kind of information.

  • Sarah in NM:

    My mom-in-law told me that if you keep your onions covered with a thick layer of mulch that they will have a much sweeter flavor than the ones left nekkid. I’ve never tried it, but she’s been growing onions in KS farm dirt for the last 30 years, so it’s likely that she’s right. Might be worth a test.

  • Huh. I’ve never been so loving with my onions. I just pop the sets in the ground and ignore them until September or so. (They’re watered on a timer like the rest of my garden. I don’t typically even weed unless it’s reeeealllly bad.) 2 years ago I had some whoppers that were almost 5″ across. Wonder what size I could get if I tried this?