Here’s a Crop That Grows Itself – Onions

Courtesy of Wally S., Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK

Want a crop that grows and sells itself? Onions come close. I call them a “fire and forget it” crop. Because it does not require much watering or weeding, it’s perfect for one of my peri-urban sites that I don’t visit very often throughout the season.

We planted about 1.5 segments of onion sets yesterday (a segment is 1,000 sq. ft.) I’ll plant three or four other sites for a total production of about 5 segments.

SF photo banner onion planting


Bed prep is done with a 8 HP BCS tiller. Three row beds are then marked out with a wheel hoe.

SF photo onion planting

When planting, the straddle method can be a little hard on the knees. Kneeling down, or sitting, on the walkways for slow motion work rates work very well.Two people can plant three beds at a time in about a half hour, using a tag team method. For a task like this, a three person crew can put in nine hours of work, virtually a full day’s work, in less than half a day’s time.

SPIN classifies onions as a very high value crop. It costs about $5 cost to seed a bed, and targeted revenue per bed is around $187. It’s  an easy crop to sell, and there is always demand for it at market.

Onions should have a prominent place in your crop repertoire, if you have the space. If you don’t have the space, it might be worth it to find it.

Looking ahead to see how Wally will harvest and preps his onions, join him in at his multi-locational farm here: