We ran a survey and asked our valued customers to submit their top tips for successfully sowing and growing onions. Some have been featured in our catalogues but we thought we would publish these online to allow other growers to benefit...
We must add that we haven't tried all of the hints and tips below but it may offer some insights to how other growers approach sowing and growing their onions!
- Sow early, trench in winter adding plenty of rotted manure in alternative layers, manure then soil dress with bonemeal and potash 2oz per square yard, in spring dress bed with 2oz of nitro chalk, and 2oz nitro chalk middle of June leave to mature and keep them well watered when bulbing.
- Onions are one of the greediest feeders in the garden so ground preparation with plenty of well-rotted compost or manure and seed selection are the two most important considerations. Watering should be consistent, each leaf is an leads to an onion skin, the more constant the watering the thicker each skin will be, too little water slows the growth, too much will cause them to split. It may also be wise to bear in mind that onions in a poly-tunnel or greenhouse will stop growing if they get too hot (Exhibition growers install fans).
- My speciality. Start early. I sow indoors on Boxing Day in a seed tray. I transplant to individual cells before the first two bent leaves become vertical. I keep them in my sun room until they are around four inches tall. Then I plant them out in raised beds usually in early March, as once again, they can take a bit of frost. My real secret is to put a bit of mycorrhizal (friendly fungi) powder under them, as they seem to respond incredibly well to this. I harvest when the tops begin to shrivel and let the onions themselves dry out thoroughly before being stored. I was able to eat my last onion from last year yesterday (24th May) by following this process. They usually store well either on onion strings or in onion nets in my garage (away from the window).
- If for show lift early and cover with talcum powder and let ripen in greenhouse.
- Plant in a heated greenhouse on boxing day, when frost has gone and plants are 4-6 inches plant out in 10-inch pots, water and feed regularly, support foliage as it grows, works for me as I m a regular winner at our village show.
- Grow them in large pots, not many in each. Move them around the garden/patio - because slugs and snails don't like onions.