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Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Type: Seeds and Bulbs

Sow Time:
Seeds: January under glass, Late Summer outside. Bulbs: March and then August for over wintering varieties.

Position: Open sunny site but will tolerate shade, not in the same place as before.
Preparation:  Well broken up soil, feed 2:1 Potash: Nitrogen to the soil a week before planting
Soil: Well-drained, reasonably fertile but not freshly manured.
Ph: More than 6.5
Frost Tolerant: Some winter varieties, cover spring varieties with fleece if weather cools.
Annual/ Perennial/ Biennial: Biennial
Spacing: Seeds: Sow thinly 1cm depth, 10 inch rows, thin to 2-4 inches.
Bulbs: 10 cm apart, noses poking out, 10 inch rows

Sowing And Planting:

January: sow seeds in trays in doors at 16 0C.  Germination is slow.  When big enough space out 2 inches apart, harden off gradually plant out shallowly and water in generously.

March: Make a drill of fine tilth and sow seeds but do not thin until April then top dress feed with nitrogen.

March and August: Plant the bulbs into the ground with the noses poking half out and gently firm around the plant to prevent air pockets.

Companions: Carrots - Alliums inter planted with carrots confuse onion and carrot flies

Give an occasional feed with a general liquid fertilizer and a light feed of sulfate of potash in June will help ripen the bulbs ready for storage.

Only water if the seasons is dry and stop watering after the onions have swollen.  Mulching helps maintain moisture and deters weeds.

Pest Control:
Onion Fly results in yellow droopy leaves and can be prevented by not planting in freshly manured soil and burning any affected crop.   Most fungal diseases can be prevented by keeping the leaves dry and the soil well drained.  Use chamomile and milk spray as a fungicide. Cut the tops off when they are almost dried out.
Onions are ready for harvest when the leaves turn yellow and flop down to one side, allow for maximum sunlight preparation by pushing the leaves aside and removing any mulch.  Gently lift the roots with a fork and harvest 2 weeks later ensuring the bulbs don't get wet.  Dry them out in a warm place.

 Turning the bulbs whilst they are drying help prevent disease they may take up to 4 weeks to dry.

Seed Saving:
Leave an onion or 2 in the ground until it flowers, it may take a long time, let the flower start to dry out, cut it off then allow it dry right out before shaking out the seed

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