Onion is a staple vegetable in most households. The smell of onions and garlic sauteeing in a pan sure does get hungry tummies rumbling. One of my favourite onion dishes is french onion soup. Why not have a go at growing your own onions just for fun!
Winter is the time to sow long keeping onions like these Brown Spanish and Creamgold. They can be planted in spring but if you plant the seeds earlier they will grow bigger and fatter.
Also, they will not have to compete with as many weeds during the cooler months so it gives them time to get established before the weeds start growing in earnest in spring.
You can grow onions from seed successfully if you allow them plenty of time to mature. It is best to grow them in a place where onions have not been grown for five years to limit any spread of disease.
They are best planted as seeds directly into the garden bed as they can ‘bolt’ (run to seed quickly) if they are planted as seedlings. Always use fresh seed when sowing onions.
Onions love lime so be sure to add some to your soil before planting. Don’t apply fertilizers at planting time as it can cause problems with pests and disease. It can also make the bulbs grow big and soft and reduce their keeping qualities.
Sow the onions in rows half a metre apart because later you can plant carrots between them. They are very happy garden companions and will improve each others yield.
Wherever you grow your onions, make sure the soil you are planting into is nice and friable. Sow the seeds a few centimetres apart and apply a fine covering of soil. Press down to make sure the seeds have good contact with the soil.
The seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. You will be able to harvest your onions in late summer and autumn when the tops die back.
Let your onions cure in a warm dry airy spot for about three weeks. If they have been grown correctly and allowed to dry properly they can last right up until the following spring.
You can grow many different types of onions. Try the long keepers or salad onions such as White Spanish or red onions for variety.
Cabbage, carrots, lettuce, beetroot, leeks, tomatoes, strawberries, chamomile and summer savoury
Peas, beans and asparagus.
Like anything that you grow yourself the flavour is always better. Try this real french onion soup with your own homegrown onions.
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