Saturday, 21 March 2020

Planting out my onions

Last year I grew some onions by a different method. Instead of growing each onion separated from its fellows, I grew them in clumps. This allowed me to produce many more onions, although of course they were much smaller ones. We found the small onions very versatile in the kitchen - there are times when a big onion is more than you need. I'm using this technique again this year.

This year I sowed my onion seeds in the first week of February, and brought them on first indoors and then in my coldframe. For the last few days they have been outdoors all day, acclimatising. Now I have planted them out in one of my raised beds.

I had available a total of 24 pots / clumps of onion seedlings - 9 each of "Bedfordshire Champion" and "Elista and Karminka mix", and 6 of "Ailsa Craig" - but in the end I only used 20, because I felt that any more would have made them too crowded. Anyway, it leaves me with four spares ready to cope with any emergencies!

I put the onions in two rows of 10, with about 20cm between clumps, and the rows about 30cm apart.

I have left room in this bed for a row of Beetroot, which I will be sowing soon.

As regular readers know, I get a lot of problems with foxes / badgers / cats digging in my raised beds and little seedlings are never safe without protection, so immediately after planting I covered the onions with netting. I have a good collection of aluminium rods of various lengths and some of the "Build-a-Ball" sets for joining them together, so it was easy enough to construct a suitable frame.

The frame was then covered with black fabric netting which was weighted-down with some bricks.

That should keep the little blighters off!

Now all I have to do is wait for the onions to grow. They require very little maintenance, just weeding whenever necessary and occasional watering. They should be ready for harvesting some time in August, I reckon.


  1. I do the same as you Mark, I like my clumps to be of three or four onions though and the rationalle is the same, more versatile in the kitchen. I also find that the clumps hold together much better in the module trays, a single onion would need to be in the trays for several weeks longer for the root ball to develop. I plant mine out in April under fleece, mainly to give them a little protection from the wind (it's windy here by the sea) : All the best - Steve

  2. We general plant our onions in a mixture of clumps and individually so we get a veroety of sizes.

  3. Hi Mark,
    I've been using the multisowing method for the last few years having been inspired by Charles Dowding youtubes.Very successful first time round with Franchi seeds Rossa Lunga but not so since using other seed merchants.In last year's rotation they ended up in the most raised but wettest beds and didn't like that at all.

    1. The ones I grew last year were Ailsa Craig (usually an Exhibition onion) from Wilko's and they did pretty well. My raised beds all drain very well - too well in fact!


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