A Bit About Onions
A very popular vegetable in the kitchen and relatively easy to grow. Years ago an onion bed had to be double dug , manured then firmed down with a lawn roller. Today a fluffy bed is advised and a selective onion fertiliser added. This is a slow release compound fertiliser, that feeds the plant what it needs at the time it needs it.The only addition is a tomato feed a couple of weeks before lifting the bulbs.
The biggest choice of onions are ones grown from seed, these are usually sown in a seed tray and lightly covered with fine vermiculite. When at the crook stage they are potted into single pots. Drinks machine cups are ideal for this, 15 just fit snug into a 15 cell tray insert. Not very often do seed sown onions run to seed early, this is due to the tiny bulb not being big enough to have a seed embryo, that’s triggered into life by a cold spell.
Onion sets easy to grow ,not a big variety and prone to bolting if we have a cold spell once the set has started to grow. Being bi-annual the cold spell triggers the flower embryo into growing. It can be removed but the final onion is smaller and not very good for keeping. Some of this problem can be over come by growing heat treated sets, the flower embryo is killed by the heat treatment, very limited varieties of these.
Onions have delicate hollow leaves, that break easy and are not very competitive amongst weeds. I plant my onions 6in apart each way. When growing for show I put a cane for each onion and add onion clips to keep the plant upright. From this I noticed that the supported onions were weeks ahead of the unsupported that had flopped over and had taken quite a time to get going.
The Big Show Onions
Kelsae .or reselected Kelsae are the top seed for these, can be an expensive hobby, sown around Christmas they need heat and lights ’till early April, when planted out they still need a night temperature of 60F. This is for the real big ones. The 1.5 K are a good option and do look quite impressive if grown with a bit of care ie keep the plants up right, this gives a good shape, measure the circumference to get an even matched set, normally three. Write the size down as its easy to forget which was which. When lifted trim roots and shorten foliage to around 3in. Remove any broken skins, wash and dry, dust with a cheap non perfumed talc to make sure the onions are dry. Lie on their sides in a dark cool place and turn them regular for a good skin finish. These are for the 1.5K class