Daffodils and onions are about as opposite as one can get. However, my wife and I are proof positive that opposites attract.

First, I am a plant person and love to “dig in the dirt,” but she does not care which end of plant to stick in the soil and hates to get dirty. Next, I am up by 5 every morning, but she loves to sleep late. Finally, she is more beautiful than any field of daffodils, but I guess you can say I am the onion in the family.

Local farmers need to take a new look at cut flowers to meet a niche that can be very profitable. Spring bulbs as cut flowers can fit in very nicely with onions and strawberries in the spring, giving another product to make the strawberry stand more profitable. Daffodils (narcissus species and hybrids) are the most successful of the popular spring bulbs for naturalizing in the South.

Many types of daffodils are available. Some have clusters of two to six sweetly fragrant small flowers (jonquils), some have tight clusters of four to eight small flowers (tazetta), and others have large flowers and are called large-flowered daffodils.

In general, bulbs are planted three to four times as deep (measured from the base of the bulb) as the width of the bulb. Space bulbs in a bed according to size, with large bulbs 3 to 6 inches apart and small bulbs 1 to 2 inches apart. After planting, cover the bed with 2 to 3 inches of mulch to insulate the soil, maintain even soil moisture, and prevent mud from spattering the flowers.

However, do not plant daffodils near your onions just in case you get confused, because daffodils are poisonous. Also, put daffodils only in a bouquet or vase since their sap and mucilage damage other flowers.

Some folks say the lowly, stinky, smelly onion is one of the healthiest foods on Earth. In contrast to the daffodil, which when given in bouquets may win someone else’s heart, the lowly onion may repel others but has been show to improve the consumer’s good cholesterol (HDL) and help the heart.

You can still plant onions from seed or transplants this fall. Onions come in two main types, bunching or dry bulb. Bunching onions are the ones we call scallions and have very small bulbs, used for garnish, and eaten green. In the spring the dry-bulb-type plants will begin to enlarge their bulbs and you can produce onions that will rival the famous Vidalia onions. You may also plant sweet onions (short day) or hot onions (long day); however, most of the ones we recommend are short day.

Onion seed do not keep very well from year to year, so buy fresh seed and plant them now so they will get large enough to withstand the winter. The secret to onion production is to irrigate, fertilize, and shallow weed regularly. In other words, onions are shallow rooted, like TLC, and do not compete with weeds well.

The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

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