Question about onions

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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sobasoba Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
I bought some onion sets from Wilkinsons last week (I think they're called Stuttgart or something like that). There's about 200 diddy little onion things in the bag. I spoke to a man who was also buying some, and he said to start them in small tubs, one in each tub until they start to grow, then plant them outdoors. We've been making paper plant pots out of newspaper this week - would they be OK to use?
OH has built our raised bed today, but we want to try and grow a variety of veg, and I don't know how much room 200 onions will take up!! Can anyone help? You don't know how helpless I feel, have decided to grow some veg and what I know about gardening you could write on the back of a postage stamp and still have room to lick it!!
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Replies

  • No need to put the onion set in pots to start them off.

    Just push them into the soil until the tips are only just showing.

    As you are using beds, plant the sets just the 3-4 inches apart and the same distance for the rows, so you have a square pattern. Exhaust any weed seeds in the soil (seed bank) by hoeing once a week for 2 weeks before planting - known as a stale bed.

    HTH
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  • sobasoba Forumite
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    Thanks GreenNotM, that was clear enough even for me to understand!!
  • Your welcome.

    Good news is that you now know how to plant garlic and shallots (6inch apart) as well .... :beer:


    PS Nice van
    Rich people save then spend.
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  • ManAtHomeManAtHome Forumite
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    The advice about starting them off somewhere sheltered at this time of year would be right if this time of year was a bit more like this time of year..!!

    Quite a while since I was a dedicated veg grower, but always used to put stuff in a coldframe or under cloches before March. Only likely to be a problem if we have a couple of weeks of heavy frost - if this looks likely, just throw some fleece or newspapers over them.
  • sashacatsashacat Forumite
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    I'm putting my onions straight in and I always do...no need for pots, in fact I think it's better to put them straight in the ground if possible as you don't disturb the roots. But do put something up to scare the birds or the pigeons and blackbirds will pull them out
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  • sobasoba Forumite
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    Thanks for all the advice guys. When you say the birds will get them, do I have to put something there to scare them away (DH?) or do you mean to cover them over with something? Would old net curtains do the job or do I need to buy something?
  • jap200jap200 Forumite
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    I totally agree about planting them directly in the soil. I have never heard of starting them off in pots before. Even if you were using your home-made paper pots - imagine the cost of the compost you would need to fill 200 of them! A waste of time and money.

    I have never covered mine over with any kind of netting, but it is a good idea to snip any long dry bits off the top before planting so they are not so obvious to the birds. In my experience only the odd one will be pulled up by the birds, so if you check them once a week or so, you can simply re-plant them. The birds don't seem to bother with them once the green shoot appear.

    I am all for minimal effort for maximum reward when it comes to growing veg so in summary:

    1. Snip off any long dry bits from the tops of the bulbs
    2. Plant directly into the soil so tops are level with surface- don't bother with netting
    3. Check weekly and replant any pulled up - until green shoots are showing
    4. Onion (& shallots/garlic etc.) don't do well with competition from weeds -so hoe/pull weeds every now and then.
    5. Pull up when foliage starts to dry out (late summer) and leave in sun/dry place until crispy
    6. Use any that have gone to seed or have a 'thick neck' up first as they don't store well
    7. Store in net bags/old tights/wooden veg. trays from local market, in a cool place

    Enjoy yummy french onion soup and feel proud of your achievement!

    http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/french-onion-soup,1308,RC.html

    To get kids to eat ("yucky") onion soup simply liquidise their portions to make a creamy version before adding the croutons and don't tell them what it's made of - they will never guess! When I asked my kids what they thought it was made of they said "sweeties" and didn't believe me (and still don't) when I told them (after they had polished it off of course) - it is now known in our house as "sweetie soup".
  • MonkeySaving?MonkeySaving? Forumite
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    GreenNotM wrote:
    No need to put the onion set in pots to start them off.

    Just push them into the soil until the tips are only just showing.

    As you are using beds, plant the sets just the 3-4 inches apart and the same distance for the rows, so you have a square pattern. Exhaust any weed seeds in the soil (seed bank) by hoeing once a week for 2 weeks before planting - known as a stale bed.

    HTH

    Thanks for this, we also bought some of the "Stuttgart Onions" from Wilko and had no idea how to plant them lol, no instructions on the label..
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  • stilerninstilernin Forumite
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    Lots of good advice here.... but in my experience, 'pushing' the sets into the ground is what causes some of them to lift and exposing them to the birds. By pushing the set in, you are compacting the ground underneath, so when the roots emerge they have solid soil to penetrate. This can push the sets out of the ground.

    It takes longer, but I always dig a little hole with a trowel and bury the set. By the time the disturbed soil has settled around the set to expose their tops, the roots have taken hold and the birds can't pull them out. Worth the small amount of extra time in my opinion.
  • I agree, don't push the sets in, hoe a shallow 'u' shaped trench, place sets in then cover to stop birds. A few old cd's hung on canes help as a deterrent.
    I'm mad!!!! :rotfl::jand celebrating everyday every year!!!
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