When to plant onions – the ‘easiest and fastest’ way to grow your onion sets in the garden

Gardeners' World: Monty Don shares tips for planting seeds

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Onions are one of the most versatile vegetables you can grow, and they’re absolutely perfect for beginners, too. It’s almost time to start thinking about your summer garden – including when to plant your onion sets.

Onions are an absolute staple part of most dinner recipes, and growing them in your own garden is a sure-fire way to make sure you’re never caught short at dinnertime.

They’re incredibly easy to grow, and won’t require much maintenance after you pop them in the soil.

It’ll only take a few months for your onions to be ready to harvest, making them the ideal vegetables to start your gardening career.

It’s now almost time to start thinking about planting your onions to make sure they’re ready for the end of the summer.

When to plant onions

You’ll want to start planting your onions between the middle of March and April, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

Once the season is over, you could also plant new onions in September, so that they’re ready for the start of next year.

Make sure you plant your onion sets between five and 10cm apart, it added.

You should also slowly push the onion bulbs into soft soil, making sure to leave a little bit of the tip poking out of the surface.

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The best way to plant onions

The most effective way to plant onions is to grow them in sets.

These are small, immature bulbs that are usually available to buy at the start of the spring season.

“Onions are usually grown from sets, which are small, immature bulbs,” said the RHS.

“This is the easiest and fastest way to grow them. Sets are readily available in early spring and late summer in garden centres and from online suppliers.

“Onions need a sunny, sheltered site with fertile, well-drained soil. They won’t do well on acid soil [below pH 6.5].

“Onions are best suited to growing in the open ground, but you could grow a short row or two in large, deep containers or raised beds. They’re not suitable for growing bags.”

After planting your onions, you should make sure to cover them with fleece until they’re rooted, it added.

The fleece will protect them from hungry birds, which tend to be a problem for newly planted onion sets.

You can harvest your onions once the foliage starts to turn yellow, or topple over.

If you’ve planted your sets at the start of spring, they should be ready by the end of summer or early autumn.

But if you pre-emptively planted onions in September the previous year, you can harvest them in June.

You should always lift the bulbs out of the soil before the foliage completely dies.

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