GrowIn' Onion

Family name: Onion family (Allicacae)

Vegetables that belong to this family are garlic, shallots, leeks and onion. All these can be grown in the same way.

Varieties of onion

You can grow bulb onions (white or red) or shallots and spring onions, which tend to be smaller in size. Chives also belongs to this family.

Soil, sowing and planting

Onions like acidic soil (pH 5.5 – 6.5). Feed the soil with compost heavily the previous autumn.

You either sow onions twice a year or you buy onion sets (little readymade onion bulbs) in spring. Sow in January indoors and again outdoors in June/July. Onion seeds are best sown in trays. When the plants are 15 cm tall, start by hardening them off (by putting them outdoors for some time during a few weeks, so that the plants don’t die from the shock of the cold outside) and eventually plant them 15 cm apart in their permanent beds.


Onions can be harvested from August to the end of October. When the tops turn brown bend the stalk over and leave them in that way for a week. Then harvest your onions and bring them inside to dry for a few weeks, until their skin turns paper-like. These onions can then be stored through the winter.

Pests and diseases

One of the dangers to your onion crop can be onion fly, which is very similar to the carrot rootfly. Since the onion fly can jump higher then 50 cm you’ll have to cover your onions completely with fleece.

Grown together, onions and carrots will mask each others smell, provided they are close enough to each other. That makes them less vulnerable to the flies.  Nevertheless, fleece is still a good idea to protect your onions.

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