When to plant onion seeds – a guide to homegrown onions

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Growing your own vegetables is a rewarding venture and one which has been explored by many more people amid the boredom of a string of lockdowns. Growing a fruitful and healthy onion crop is easily done when the seeds are sown at the right time, but when should you be adding this versatile vegetable to your garden? With this guide, you can take your onions from soil to supper in no time.

Onions are both a cheap and simple addition to any gardener’s vegetable patch, requiring very few tools and tricks to sow the seeds.

Onions can be grown from bulbs, seeds or sets so always check planting times according to the method by which you’re growing them.

When to plant onion seeds

The onion is regarded as a versatile vegetable for many reasons, from its wide range of varieties to the varying growing methods and the fact that you can grow them both indoors and outdoors.

Timing your onion seeds will depend on where you choose to grow them but the general consensus is that onion seeds are best planted during the spring.

  • Onion seeds that are sown indoors can be planted as early as the first week of February
  • You should wait until the end of March to sow onion seeds outdoors
  • Move indoor seedlings outdoors when it begins to warm up, from mid-March onwards
  • Harden seedlings outdoors towards the end of April
  • Thin out your al-fresco onion seedlings in late May
  • Move your indoor seedlings to your garden beds in mid-May
  • Spring onions can be sown in September

How to plant onions from seed

Place the seeds about an inch deep into the soil and leave at least half an inch between each seed width-wise for adequate growing space.

If you decide to plant in rows, ensure there is at least one and a half to two feet between each row, as well as following the depth and width guidelines above.

According to gardeningknowhow.com, onion plants have shallow roots and require frequent irrigation throughout the growing season.

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Once the tops begin to layover, usually by late summer you can stop watering your onion seeds and begin to lift your grown crops.

With many different types of onion available, Express.co.uk have rounded up the best onions for certain dishes so you can get stuck into planting your own.

Snowball onion

The white onion, also known as the ‘snowball’ variety is used in sauces as a thickener and for salads and Mexican style dishes where the onion flavour is intended to be more muted.

Hyred onion

A red onion with a sweeter taste than their white counterparts.

This type of onion is best suited to dips and salads where they can be finely chopped and added to salsa, guacamole and thinly sliced for a tangy addition to slaw, salad bowls and stir-frys.

Setton onion

Setton or yellow onions are the most common variety and are a favourite in the kitchen as they keep well when stored in the cupboard.

They have a strong flavour, yellow skin and crisp white flesh which makes for a good base in stews, sauces and curries.

Spring onion

This longer, thinner green-skinned variety is a salad favourite and is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes so be sure to plant these if you’re a fan of Asian-fusion foods.

Spring onions are usually ready to harvest eight weeks after sowing – Gardener’s World recommends forking the soil around the plants a little before pulling up the small, leafy bulbs.

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