Planting onion sets for Spring!

How to plant onion sets

It’s here again: Spring. Official!

Well, not quite official… but March 8th is good enough for me.

Spring means planting onion sets and potatoes. So I made a start on the onions today by planting four rows. I bury them about 5″ apart, and deep enough so that only the very tip of the sets are just showing. Any shallower and the birds pull them up, meaning you have to do the whole wretched procedure all over again.

Still haven’t done anything about my new allotment extension. Neighbours report that the soil is seething with live bramble roots and is a bugger to dig. Which is comforting.

13 Responses to “Planting onion sets for Spring!”

  1. Vegmonkey Says:

    Brill! That’s a strong affirmation. I plan to get my onion sets and potatoes in next weekend. In response to your other post, early carrots are a great idea when covered. I use horticultural fleece on mine, pegged down

  2. Celia Says:

    Time to plant for the recession. Leeks (leek and potato soup), potatoes (baked), broad beans (eaten with strips of bacon and onions, a complete meal), French beans (eaten cold with a small amount of tuna and lettuce -salade nicoise), onions (for potato pie – layers of potato, onions, and tiny strips of bacon with a white sauce – baked in oven), peas (eaten when young , frozen when a bit older, and for pease pudding (what the poor used to eat) when dried), lfageolet beans – ie dried French beans for cassoulet (lots of beans and the hock of bacon), parsnips (cooked and liquidised together with carrots with butter/goose fat, put into dish with fried breadccrumbs and a few strips of bacon on top and baked), carrots, cereliac (baked with eggs on top). By growing large quantities of these and eating large quantities, you should be able to reduce meat (expensive). Of course, putting some hens on the allotment would be even better.

  3. Cat Says:

    Hurrah – i too planted this weekend a set of onions, although forgot to write about it. Means I am on the ball this year….for now….I’ll see how long that lasts!

  4. Diane Says:

    I bought the onion sets…my first time to do so.

    Now I’m searching around the internet trying to figure out how to plant them, when to plant them, where to plant them…and found this page.

    I live in Pittsburgh, PA…is it too early to plant? Thanks for your help!

  5. Soilman Says:

    Celia: Top ideas for budget eating! I fear, though, that planting for the recession will mean – in practice – planting stuff that other bastards nick. I suspect theft is going to be the big allotment/community garden story this year.

    Diane: That’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania… right?!?

    Sorry about my ignorance of US geography. Pennsylvania’s pretty northern, so probably a zone colder than the UK, where the Gulf Stream gives us an unusually warm climate for 52 deg North. I’d estimate you should plant your onion sets end of March to mid April (when there’s no more snow on the ground, basically!). Just dig the soil a bit, then push the sets into the ground so they’re three-quarters buried. About 5″ apart. And voilà – that’s it. Done. Now you just need to keep the weeds down – onions don’t grow well if they have to compete with weeds.
    Best of luck.

  6. Diane Says:

    Thanks so much for the advice! And for looking up the US geography for Pittsburgh, PA.

    I wanted to ask you one more question…and thanks for the help again.

    Do you have any particular opinion about tilling the soil. I’ve read in a few books that it isn’t good to disturb our hard-working worm friends…thanks again!


  7. Soilman Says:

    It’s OK to dig the soil thoroughly once a year, Diane – in fact, it’s pretty much necessary. I do one annual thorough digging (during autumn/winter), incorporating horse manure and compost as I go. But yes, not a good idea to be continually digging and turning soil. Especially if you’ve got a bad back!

  8. Matt Houldsworth Says:

    I got onions, first early potatoes and carrots in 2 weeks ago and was then told by my mother that it was far too early… we will have to see what happens, but isn’t that half the fun?

  9. Soilman Says:

    You’ll be all right with the onions and spuds, Matt, but the carrots may well not work!

  10. robert Says:

    hi i have a question about planting bell peppers and banana peppers, how far apart do they need to be to keep from cross pollinating? thanx for the help your amatuer gardener robert.

  11. Soilman Says:

    Robert hi

    Sorry, I know nothing about peppers – don’t like them, so don’t grow them!

    Can anyone else help Robert with this question?

  12. Gerald Howden Says:

    I put my Onion Sets in a little trench of compost about 2″ x 2″. This gives the ‘Set’ a chancr of ‘getting hold’ B4 reaching the natural soil. This year they look a picture, bnoth the stutgart and the challots. But what is the best feed I can give them?

  13. Soilman Says:

    I don’t feed my onions, Gerald – I just incorporate tons of manure into the soil the autumn before planting – but I believe you need to be careful not to give them too much nitrogen. So Growmore’s probably the best option.