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Growing onions in your own garden is always worthwhile. With relatively little work and a well-prepared soil, you can usually get a nice harvest. A good alternative to sowing onions is to stick the onions.

Depending on the variety, onions are planted in spring or autumn

Requirements for growing onion sets

Onion sets need a lot of sun to thrive, so you should always choose a sunny spot in the bed. The soil is ideally slightly sandy, well-drained and nutrient-rich. Care must be taken to ensure that there is no waterlogging in the bed, as this will cause the bulbs to rot. It is also an advantage if the wind can pull through well at the selected location. This prevents mildew infestation.
Another requirement is regular watering. Although onion sets survive a dry period well, you should always make sure that the soil has constant moisture.

When and how are onions planted?

When growing onions using onion sets, sowing in spring and one in late autumn is possible. One differentiates

  • Spring onion sets and
  • winter onion sets

The spring cultivation

The first onion sets can be sown in the bed between the months of March and April. No onions should have been grown here for two to three years so that there are enough nutrients for the new sowing. If you want to be on the safe side, work a dose of compost into the soil before sowing.

  1. First loosen the soil thoroughly.
  2. Remove the weeds.
  3. Keep a distance of 20 cm between the rows.
  4. Plant the bulbs in rows 10cm apart. The top third of the onion is still sticking out of the ground.
  5. To ensure that the rows run straight, use a planting cord to help.
  6. Make sure that the onions get enough moisture, but avoid waterlogging.

winter onion sets

Good and well-known varieties of winter onion sets are, for example:

  • Presto, yellow-skinned
  • Radar, yellow-shelled
  • Piroschka, red-skinned
  • Romy, red-skinned

These are planted in well-loosened, crumbly soil in autumn, in September or October. The soil should be fertilized in advance with a dose of compost. Fertilizers containing nitrogen are not recommended, as the onion sets sprout too quickly and can then no longer withstand the winter cold.
Also plant the winter bulbs in rows 10cm apart. The top third of the onion sticks out. The rows should also be 20 cm apart.

The care of the bulbs in winter

The onions germinate well and are usually frost hardy. They develop additional roots during the winter months. A snow cover does not bother the young onion plants. However, the young plants should be protected in the event of a frost (heavy frost without snow). It is advisable to cover them with brushwood or fir green.
As soon as the snow has thawed, the rows of onions can be warmed with a fleece pad. A dose of complete fertilizer is not wrong in March, as this will give the bulbs even more growth support. The harvest can then usually take place in mid-May.

Tips on using onion sets

When shopping for your onion sets, make sure you only buy hazelnut-sized ones. Small onions don't shoot that fast. Small bags with 250 g of onion sets are usually available in stores. Store the onions in a dark room with a room temperature of no more than 20 degrees until sowing, so that no germination can occur.
So that the onion sets do well outdoors, they can be soaked in lukewarm water overnight before sowing. The onions soak up water and then develop roots more quickly in the bed.

When are onion sets ripe?

The spring onions are usually ready for harvest faster than onions that have been sown. Already at the end of July/beginning of August the foliage begins to turn yellow and dry. Now is the right time to harvest onions.
Depending on the variety, the winter onion sets can be harvested as early as May. Here, too, the ripening point can be recognized by the fact that the leaves wither.
Spring and winter onion sets need to dry in a dry and airy place for some time after harvesting. Then they can be stored.

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