HOW TO SOW AND GROW SPRING ONIONS FROM SEED





When growing spring onions from seed, the secret is in the preparation. To begin with you need a sunny site with good drainage but the key is to grow them in a permanent bed in order to build up the soil fertility. There is a down side to this however as you can also encourage the build up of diseases. With that in mind it's advisable to periodically rotate your onion bed with the rest of the vegetable garden.
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If you can, start preparing your spring onion bed in the autumn by digging in plenty of well-rotted farm manure. This will give the ground a chance to settle over the winter period and allow frosts to break down the soil clods. If you soil is too acidic – below pH 5.5 – you will need to add lime to it according to manufactures recommendations. In general, onions prefer a pH of between 6 and 7.5.
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It's possible to grow good spring onions on heavy soil, but you must improve the drainage first before planting. Add plenty of horticultural grit and bulky organic matter to the soil and then create a ridges of soil 4 inches high to further reduce soil moisture.
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You can sow spring onion seeds as soon as your soil will allow which can be any time from late February until the end of July, but you can steal a march here by picking a dry day a few weeks before sowing time and raking the soil to a fine tilth.
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Spring onions like a firm bed so tread over the area you have just raked. Try adding a general fertiliser like growmore for extra fertility, and for an even earlier crop you can sow spring onion seed under glass or cloches in January..
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Choose a dry day to sow spring onion seed when the soil is moist but not too wet, then plant the seed very thinly into drills ½ inch deep. If you are planting more than one row then each row should be at least 4 inches apart. Carefully cover the spring onion seed with soil and gently water in.
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Germination should then take approximately 21 days to occur. Once the new seedlings have began to push through the soil they can be thinned out to between 1 and 2 inches apart. Remember to clear away all of your discarded thinning so as not to attract onion fly.
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You will need to keep a particular eye on the newly sprouting onion shoots as these will often attract the attention of inquisitive birds – particularly pigeons and black birds - who will lift your juvenile crops straight out of the seed beds for nothing more than a little mischievous fun. If you don't have some kind of protection in place you can end up loosing almost an entire crop!
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Onions are not very good at supressing weed growth, and if regular weeding is neglected they will easily be out competed for nutrients resulting in your crop becoming stunted. Try to leave enough space between the rows to get your hoe in for weeding, but always hand-weed any weeds close to your spring onions as they can be easily damaged by garden tools.
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1 comment:

Heather said...

Hi Simon - just popped over to say hello and great blog!