Onion Sets, Shallots and loose Garlic now on sale
Although onions can be grown from seed, the easiest way to grow these versatile vegetables is from baby onions called sets. Apart from being quicker to mature compared to seed there are other advantages such as some disease and pest resistance.
Plant onion sets 10cm (4in) apart in rows 30cm (12in) apart from mid-February to the end of April. Gently push the sets into a soft free draining soil leaving just the tips showing, and firm the soil around them. Protect from birds with netting if necessary.
Water if the weather is dry and keep the area weed free by hoeing and hand pulling. Mulching the soil will help conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds. Stop watering once the onions have swollen, and remove any mulch or soil to expose the bulb to the sun. Remove any flower spikes as soon as you see them developing.
It will take approximately 20 weeks from planting until the onion sets are ready for lifting. When the onions are mature the foliage turns yellow and starts to topple over. Leave for about two weeks and then carefully lift with a garden fork on a dry day. Onions which are not for immediate use must be dried before storage.
Drying will take anything from one to three weeks depending on bulb size and air temperature. Any bulbs that are soft or have spotting on the skins should be set aside for kitchen use, the rest can be stored.
Store onions in a cool dry well-lit place in trays or net bags and they should keep until late spring.
Varieties in stock;
Onions Turbo, Centurion, Sturon, Stuttgarter Giant and Red Baron
Shallots Red Sun and Golden Gourmet
Garlic Vigour and Pink Carousel