Planting Onions

Community Community General Gardening Vegetables Planting Onions

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  charles 11 years, 8 months ago.

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    Ben Matthews

    Hi Charles. I got my onion sets through the post so will be planting them around the 20th March. On the bed where they’re to be planted there’s still about 2 inches of greenwaste compost. It’s a lovely tilth, but I’m just wondering how deep to plant them? Should I plant as I would in bare soil with the tops of the sets just poking out or should I plat them further down into the compost? I’m just unsure of what will happen to them if they’re planted as normal and when the compost is taken down into the soil.

    I was also wondering what spacing I should go for between the rows. I left a foot last year to get a hoe down between them but never used it and just did a bit of weeding by hand. Seemed a bit of a waste of possible growing space to me. My plots small enough for me to hand weed it absolutely fine.




     You can plant closer for sure, though if too close the onions will be smaller – try some different spacings to see. Depth wise, if the compost is recently spread and still fluffy, the sets want to be a half inch or so deeper so their tops are invisible, also this may help birds NOT to see them and pull them out. As the compost is taken in, other soil comes up, mainly as wormcasts, so the planting level remains similar.


    Ben Matthews

    Great. Thanks for the advice Charles!


    Ben – must have the same postman I’ve got sets to plant Sat 20th too! Thanks for asking the question and getting Charles to reply – I’ve only just had a delivery of well rotted stable manure so it will be quite bulky when I’ve spread it out. I now know to plant the sets in the soil rather then on top of it but pushed through the manure.

    Last November I put in some sets in some other areas with similarly new but well rotten compost. Now these are showing through a much more level and reduced manure/compost layer. They look like they’ve not been disturbed by the birds as my sets have in previous non-no-dig years.

    Good luck – let’s hope the rain stays away!




    Hi Charles, I notice you advise against growing japanese onions overwinter due to mildew. Is this the same for Radar as well? Thanks in advance, Tess



     Hi Tess


    I am pretty sure that Radar hosts the mildew as well and advise against growing it unless you don’t want to grow onions from spring sowing. Also I appreciate that allotments where other people are growing Japanese onions over winter makes it difficult to have healthy spring sown onions.

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