Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Growing onions

by Sarah - March 12th, 2010.
Filed under: allotment. Tagged as: .

Things you should know about growing onions. Onions are mostly grown from onion sets. That is onions that have started to grow still kind little bulbs. They can be heat-treated which discourages them from bolting. You can grow onions from seed, and some varieties have only grown from seed, that a spring onions usually. Lots of different types of onions but there are a few names that come up time and time again as being good growers.

Onions will grow in most areas in your garden, they’re happy in most soils especially if you’re adding in the first flights to keep them happy. They prefer good drainage, and the rich soft soil.

When you plant them, you plant the sets so they are just below the surface of the soil and only a tiny bit the onion bulb shows. This bit is very inviting to birds, who want to investigate and pull out the onion sets. It’s best to check that they were all covered up still on a vacant basis until they have started growing among the birds can’t pull them out. You can of course use netting to keep the birds away from them, or even use a cloche. Don’t plant them when it’s really wet, but plant them as early as possible so they get a good long growing season. You could also start them off in some potting soil in doors, this encourages them to have a good root system.

Spacing is something you need to watch carefully. You really do want to be able to home or out the onions using a hoe rather than having to hand weed. If you plant the onions too close together, then they are also competing more for water and nutrients and may not grow as big as they should. You might find it useful to use and marker when you are planting them to ensure that they are equally spaced.

They will need regular weeding throughout the growing season, as well as regular feeding. Because of the upright nature of the leaves, this means that they don’t suppress any weeds on the ground around them like other plants mark.
Onions are ready when they leave starts yellowing dieback, let this happen naturally rather than bending the leads over to speed it up. When you harvest them, if it’s dry warm and sunny, then you can just put a fork under them to lift the roots and break these, and leave the onions out in the sunshine a day or two. Those onions with a thick neck needs using first as they do not store as well. Allow the onions to dry for a couple of weeks in a well separated area, a wire tray or an area spread with newspaper will be good for this. As they dry you can push dirt and excess skin off them, do not remove the golden skin as this will protect the onion. You can learn to string them together so you can hang them up somewhere, or you can store them in an onion now. You need to make sure they are completely dry before storing, any damp leaves on the plants will cause them to rot. The onions will last 3 to 6 months, but in good conditions they may last longer.

If you’re onions rot in the ground, then this could be onion neck rot. Onions can also be affected by fungal growths, onion flies and onion thrips.

By buying from reputable sellers and not growing onions in the same spot from more than two years at a time, you should avoid some of these pests.