How to Implement the Chinese Method of Planting Onions on the Ridges

Onions, a staple in many kitchens, can be grown more effectively using the Chinese method of planting on ridges. This technique, often referred to as the “lazy” method, is popular for its simplicity and the superior quality of onions it produces. Here’s a detailed guide on how to implement this method in your garden.

ridge planting onion

1. Understanding the Ridge Planting Method:

The Basics: In this method, onions are not sown in flat, even soil but in ridges or earthen ramparts created with a hoe. These ridges are separated by shallow ditches.


  • Faster weight gain in fruits.
  • Increased sunlight and light exposure.
  • Improved plant immunity and resistance to diseases and pests.
  • Easier maintenance: weeding and loosening the soil is more straightforward.
  • Protection from onion flies, especially during the pest reproduction period.

2. Preparation and Planting:

  • Timing: Start planting in spring when the ground warms up to +5 to +10°C, typically by the end of April.
  • Soil Preparation: Prepare the soil by working in organic matter 6-8” deep and ensuring a well-drained soil environment with a pH of 6.0-7.0. Add fertilizers like superphosphate, dolomite flour, or nitroammophoska.
  • Selecting and Preparing Bulbs: Choose bulbs about 15 mm in diameter. Warm them up 14 days before planting, ensuring the temperature does not exceed 40°C.
  • Creating Ridges: Form ridges 15 cm high at a distance of 30 cm from each other.
  • Planting Process: Plant the seedlings 3 cm deep and cover with soil, ensuring it remains loose. Water immediately after planting.

3. Care and Maintenance:

  • Watering: Ensure consistent soil moisture, watering about 1 inch per week. Adjust watering based on soil conditions and weather.
  • Fertilization: Fertilize three times during the growing season. Use a solution of urea in mid-May, potash fertilization in June, and water the beds with diluted superphosphate during the period of head formation.
  • Weeding and Loosening: Regularly weed and loosen the soil around the ridges.

4. Harvesting:

  • When to Harvest: Stop watering about a month before harvesting, typically in late summer or early September.
  • Harvesting Process: Bend over the tops of the onions when ¼ of the leaves have yellowed. After a few days, pull the bulbs and leave them to dry in the garden, covered by the foliage, for up to a week. Then, move them to a warm, dry place with good air circulation for 2-3 weeks to cure.
a basket of harvested onions

5. Additional Tips:

  • Spacing: Space onions 2 to 4 inches apart, with at least 18 inches between rows. The spacing may vary slightly depending on the onion variety.
  • Planting Depth: Plant the sets or transplants so the tops are slightly above the ground.
  • Pest Control: Cover the onions with floating row covers or use diatomaceous earth to control onion root maggots.

The Chinese method of planting onions on ridges is a tried and tested technique that ensures larger, healthier onions with better storage capacity. This method, requiring minimal effort, offers a great way to maximize your onion yield and enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the year.

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