|Onions at the Courtmoor Avenue plot, July 2018.|
In the past I have avoided growing onions because I didn't consider them to have a high Value for Space Rating (VSR). The amount I could grow in my garden wouldn't keep us supplied for very long (we use a lot of onions in our cooking!). Nevertheless I discovered last year that home-grown fresh onions are really delicious - so much nicer than (probably old) shop-bought ones - so I have changed my mind. Quality, freshness and flavour outweigh quantity, that's for sure.
I sowed my onion seeds in modules, a "pinch" of seeds (maybe 6 or 7?) in each module. This has the advantage of saving space, meaning that it is practical to germinate them indoors in a single seed-tray on a windowsill, but it does also have the disadvantage that you have to subsequently prick them out into individual pots or modules when they get bigger. Or do you...?
I have seen people advocating growing onions in clumps, rather than separately, again as a way of saving space and labour. I tried it last year with some Long Red Florence onions and it worked quite well, although they never got very big. This was not a problem because I wanted them to be used as salad onions anyway, so small size was actually a benefit.
|"Long Red Florence" - photo from July 2018|
I'm going to see if the technique works well with traditional Brown Onions too. These are "Ailsa Craig".
So, I have planted six little clumps in one of my raised beds:
In the interests of semi-scientific comparison I'll also be growing some of the same variety in the "normal" way - individually - but I am going to wait a bit longer to plant them. They will be easier to handle when they are bigger.
It will be interesting to see how the two methods compare. I'll let you know later in the year.