Monday, 23 January 2012


Before you sow your onion seeds, it is wise to prepare your bed for planting in late autumn or early winter. Good drainage is important, so add organic matter to the soil if required, or mound the bed. Onions prefer to be in the same for several years as this builds up soil fertility, but rotate the bed after that period to avoid a build up of pest and diseases.

Prepare the bed by digging over the soil to a medium tilth and incorporate well rotted farm manure. Ensure that the majority of the manure is near the top of the bed in order to encourage the roots of the onion to grow in it during the early stages of development. If the soil is heavy add plenty of grit and organic matter to the soil and plant in mounded rows to aid drainage. 

In March gently tilth the top section of the trench and incorporate a general fertiliser such as Growmore, hydrated lime or calcified seaweed at manufacturers recommended rates. Onions like a soil pH of between 6 and 7.5.

Sow your onion seeds directly into your onion bed or container on a dry day between January and February, when the temperature is about 13 degrees celsius (any warmer and the onion seeds are at risk of poor germination rates). They should be placed in drills 1.5 cm deep, leaving 22 cm between rows.  Cover with soil and gently water.

The seeds will germinate within 21 days.  They can start to be thinned to 3-5 cm spacings, and then to 8-10 cm during the next few weeks.  Ensure you protect your seedlings from birds as they can often uproot your whole crop.  Keep the bed weed free as competing plants will result in a weakened crop.

The onion is mature between August and September, when the foliage starts to turn yellow and fall over, and should be harvested a few weeks after. Lift the onions on a dry day and move them to a suitable location to dry for 3-5 weeks. This will allow them to mature prior to using in the kitchen.

For related articles click onto:
Feeding plants
Growing rhubarb
Growing potatoes
Growing tomatoes
How to grow broccoli from seed
How to grow cauliflower from seed
How to build a cold frame
How to Grow Agave from Seed
How to grow artichokes from seed
How to Grow Asparagus from Seed
How to grow basil
How to grow beetroot from seed
How to grow cabbage from seed
How to grow carrots from seed
How to grow coriander
How to grow cucumbers from seed
How to grow french beans from seed
How to grow leeks from seed
How to grow lettuce from seed
How to grow onions from onion sets
How to grow onions from seed
How to Grow Pumpkins from Seed
How to grow runner beans from seed
How to grow strawberries from seed

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