A Head Start for the Onions

Last year I grew a decent crop of onions from sets – a gift from one of the old boys down the allotment who ended up with more than he could use – and they did rather well. So this year I decided to go ahead and buy my own sets and have another go.

They arrived last Sunday along with a couple of kilos of seed potatoes (more on those at a later date). I’ve gone for the same variety – ‘sturon’ – mostly because the finished crop had a lovely, strong flavour (but also because they sound a bit like ‘Sauron’, which amuses my not-so-inner geek no end).

Pre-planted onion sets in the greenhouse
Variety: ‘sturon’. Mission: “one (onion) ring to rule them all” (sorry…)

The sets went straight into the ground last year and quite late too – I think it was April or so before they were planted – which meant that although they grew strongly the onions were mostly quite small when I came to harvest them in September or so.

This year, having read about the technique on a couple of other blogs, I’ve pre-planted them in modules in our greenhouse at home, in the hope that they’ll begin to develop early and by the time they go into the ground down at the allotment they’ll be well on their way to becoming big, strong onions packed full of allium goodness.

On a more serious note, growing them on should help prevent curious pigeons from pecking at and dislodging the mini-sets – which, even with the preventative netting, can be a problem if our feathered friends are particularly persistent – and doing so in modules, rather than one big seed tray or trough, should help minimise root damage when it comes time to transplant.

I just have to make sure that the shallow-rooted plantlets don’t dry out in the meantime, so I’ll be judiciously watering as we go.

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2 comments

  1. Sue Garrett says:

    Are you sure that the onion sets aren’t Sturon?

    We will planting potting up our sets soon. One point is to try not to let them become pot bound before planting out as this can check their growth after which they tend not to grow as well.

    • Darren T says:

      Well, I wasn’t sure whether ‘sturon/Sturon’ is a proper noun or not. I’m trying to practise naming conventions as per the RHS L2 course I’m on, and you’re only supposed to use a capital if it’s a proper noun… difficult to tell in a lot of cases.

      And thank you, yes, I’ll be keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t become pot-bound. That’s definitely in the plan.

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