Planting onions and garlic before winter is an alternative solution for those who want to save their own time and try new agricultural techniques. In fact, there is no single correct answer to the question of which crop is better: planted in autumn or spring. Planting of onions and garlic in winter has its advantages: earlier germination, hardening of heads in winter frosts, a stable harvest, in addition, the gardener does not have to worry about storage for planting material. In many ways, the processes of growing winter onions and garlic are similar, but there are also some nuances here.
This article will be about the peculiarities of planting winter onions and garlic, how to plant each of these crops correctly and when it is better to do it.
How to grow winter onions
Until recently, no one in Russia planted onions before winter, all this was done in the spring. But today there are a lot of varieties of winter crops, so it is possible to plant bulbs in late autumn even in Siberia and the Urals, not to mention the south of the country and the middle zone.
The secret to the success of winter planting lies in freezing the bulbs: a couple of weeks after planting, the onion sets will take root, but do not have time to germinate until the first stable frosts. In this state, the bulbs will "sleep" until the spring heat, after which they will immediately grow.
The winter planting method has a lot of advantages, including a high soil moisture after the snow melts, and a high ripening rate, which makes it possible to plant another crop in place of onions in the same season.
Important! To determine the optimal timing for planting onions, many gardeners use the lunar calendar. In 2017, 6,7 and 10 October, or 7 and 12 November are considered auspicious days.
How to determine when to plant onion sets
In determining the timing of planting onions, the climatic conditions of the region play an important role. The gardener should understand that the bulbs will need time to adapt - about 2-3 weeks. That is, during this period there should not be frosts yet. However, prolonged autumn heat is also detrimental to the planting material - the onion will release feathers that will freeze even with slight frosts.
Therefore, the timing of planting winter onions should be selected so that after 3-4 weeks stable cold begins in the region. Only in this way will the bulbs winter well and begin to grow in full composition under the spring sun.
In areas with not very frosty winters, it is recommended to plant onions from late October to early November. Experienced gardeners assure that if the thermometer has been showing +5 degrees for several days, it is time to plant the bulbs in the ground.
In the southern regions, winter onions are usually planted at the end of November, this is the only way it manages to take root, but does not let green shoots. In the north of the country, you should be guided by your own observations of the weather in previous seasons, sometimes winter onions in the North are planted already at the end of September.
How to choose a place to plant onions
Winter onions love well-fertilized, loose and moderately moist soils. Therefore, before planting, the beds must be fertilized using mineral additives or humus. The earth should be well dug up.
Attention! Fresh manure cannot be used to fertilize the beds, so the bulbs will grow small, they will shoot many arrows.
It is recommended to plant winter onions in the place of such crops:
To prevent onion sets from becoming infected with nematodes, you should not plant them in the place of potatoes, parsley or celery.
Attention! Onions or garlic can be grown in the same place for no more than two seasons in a row. After that, it is necessary to take a break for at least four years.
How to prepare planting material
Planting onions before winter, as well as in spring, is carried out by means of sevka - annual heads grown from seeds (nigella). The optimal size of the seed is 1-1.5 cm in diameter. Larger bulbs are stronger, but this is why they tend to shoot arrows, causing the bulb to shrink or deteriorate.
A small planting, up to 1 cm, does not have the strength to grow arrows, but small onions winter well in the soil, and in spring they give a high yield. Therefore, when sorting out the planting material, you should select small, dense bulbs covered with husks.
Important! Small onions, or, as it is also called, "wild oat", is very difficult to preserve during the winter months - small onions dry out very quickly and become unsuitable for planting. Winter onion cultivation solves this problem completely: the seedlings do not dry out in the ground.
How to plant onion sets in autumn
When the soil on the site is fertilized and dug up, you can start forming beds and planting seedlings. To do this, you need to do the following:
- Level and slightly compact the soil in the area.
- Make grooves about 5 cm deep so that the distance between them is 20-25 cm.
- Spread the onion into grooves at intervals of 5-7 cm (depending on the size of the seed), sprinkle with soil and tamp it a little.
- Immediately after planting, winter onions are not watered, but if there is no rain in the region, the beds can be moistened in 10-12 days.
- With the onset of frost, the beds need to be mulched, covering them with spruce branches, straw or dry leaves. To prevent the shelter from being blown up by the wind, it is pressed down with dry branches or boards.
Advice! If snowy winters are rare in the region, it is better to cover the winter onion plantings with foil.
Planting garlic in autumn
Unlike onions, garlic has been planted before winter for a long time - it is this method of growing a spicy crop that domestic gardeners use most often. If the owner has always used the spring method of growing garlic (spring planting of cloves), it is better not to immediately switch to the winter method: in the first years, the seeds are separated, half are planted before winter, and the second part - with the onset of spring.
In regions with a harsh climate and snowless winters, it is also recommended to cultivate garlic simultaneously using the spring and winter methods - this way there are more chances to get a good harvest, because a lot depends on the weather.
Optimal timing of planting garlic
As already mentioned, the seeds of garlic and onions are very difficult to preserve - not all planting material will last until spring. Therefore, the heads of garlic collected this year are sorted out, the largest and healthiest heads are separated, disassembled into teeth and planted before winter.
The timing of planting garlic should be determined based on observations of the weather. In recent years, the climate in most regions has changed slightly, experts advise adhering to such a schedule - from September 25 to October 15. Later plantings may freeze out, while earlier plantings may germinate prematurely.
Important! If you believe folk signs, early autumn is preceded by early spring, and vice versa. That is, if the spring in the region was early, then the winter cold will come faster. This judgment will help you navigate the timing of planting winter garlic.
It so happens that frosts begin suddenly, and the garlic has not yet been planted before winter. In this case, you can stimulate the root system by soaking the teeth for a couple of hours in a humate solution, and then drying them on a battery. After a couple of days, root rudiments will appear on such teeth, and they can be planted even in frozen soil.
Where to plant winter garlic
The place for planting garlic before winter should not be in the lowlands, since the spring floods will wash out all the cloves. It is better to choose a site on the southern or southeastern slope, so that the garlic is warmer, it is not blown by icy winds.
Advice! If there is not enough space on the site, you can plant winter garlic using the compacted planting method. For this, the beds are made between the rows of garden strawberries, for example, - these crops are considered excellent "neighbors".
After potatoes and onions, it is better not to plant garlic, since these plants have the same pests and diseases - there is a high risk of losing the entire crop. You should not grow garlic for more than two years in one place - the soil should "rest" from onion crops for at least 4 years.
Preparing the garlic beds
The area for winter garlic is dug onto a shovel bayonet 10-14 days before the expected planting of the cloves. Before that, the land must be fertilized, since garlic loves nutritious and light soils. It is better to fertilize with rotted manure, humus or mineral complexes, it is strictly forbidden to use fresh manure - there is a high risk of developing pathogens.
When the earth settles after digging (after a couple of weeks), you can make grooves and plant chives. If you do not wait and immediately plant the garlic in the dug-up soil, the cloves will fall too deep, which will inhibit the growth of the plant in spring.
The planting material must be disassembled into teeth and dried thoroughly. For winter planting, only strong, hard teeth without traces of rot and other damage are suitable.
Advice! The larger the planting teeth, the larger the size of the heads of garlic that will grow from them. Therefore, for planting, it is necessary to choose the largest teeth or annual heads.
Planting garlic according to the rules
Growing garlic is a simple process, because this culture grows almost independently. You just need to plant the cloves correctly, and a good harvest of garlic is ensured.
It is recommended to follow these rules for planting garlic before winter:
- Before planting, the teeth are recommended to be calibrated - sorted by size.
- The planting depth of garlic is two heights of the clove, which is why it is more convenient to make grooves for the pre-sorted material.
- The spacing between the chives is 8 to 15 cm, depending on the size of the garlic.
- To make it convenient to care for the beds, it is necessary to leave 25-30 cm of spacing between the rows.
- To prevent the bottom of the garlic from rotting, it is recommended to pour a little sand or wood ash on the bottom of the grooves.
- You do not need to press the cloves into the ground, as the frozen ground can push them to the surface, which will lead to the freezing of the garlic. The teeth are simply laid out in the grooves and sprinkled with dry earth.
- From above, the planting is mulched with a thin layer (about 1.5 cm) of peat or garden soil with leaves.
Advice! You do not need to throw away the smallest cloves of garlic, you can grow healthy and fragrant greens from them. For this, garlic is sown under trees, which will subsequently protect the delicate greens from the sun.
There is nothing difficult in the winter planting. You just need to correctly determine when to plant onions and garlic before winter, so that the heads do not freeze and do not germinate ahead of time. Then all that remains is to make the beds, plant onions and garlic, mulch a little and forget about planting until next spring.
You can learn more about the winter planting of onions and garlic from this video: