Growing Onions

I lifted my onion crop a few weeks ago but there is no time to sit back and admire the harvest. Late September I’ll be planting onion sets which I’ll be cropping next year.

When the foliage turns yellow and droops over, this is a sign that the crops is nearly ready for harvesting. Give them another two weeks before gently using a fork and lifting the crop. Store in a warm shed out of direct sunshine. Over the coming days they will dry out and any mositure will leave the bulbs, make sure they are not touching each other.

Don’t plant onions in the same position to the previous year. In the coming weeks I’ll be clearing my runner beans and planting overwintering onion sets in this bed.

This new location is in full sunshine but sheltered. I have heavy soil so I’ll add a bag of horticultural sand to help drainage plus a few bags of multipurpose compost.

Plant onion sets 4in (10cm) apart with 12in (30cm) between rows; in September and October. Place the sets into the soil so that their tips are just visible at ground level. Birds will think these are worms so check back a few days later and replant any which are thrown on the ground. Once the bulbs have put down their roots they will be able to withstand the birds. To save time I tend to cover with heavy duty netting to keep the birds off. Sets can withstand temperatures of -5 degrees but I like to cover with garden fleece or a fleece tunnel if overnight temperatures drop to below 5 degrees.

Keep watered in dry weather and weed-free. During winter you will think they have stopped growing but wait until the warmer days of Spring and suddenly they will shoot back into life.

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