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Onions are always wanted in the kitchen, yet with a little planning it should be possible to have enough for the whole year. KG editor Steve Ott offers his advice for bumper crops


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There is no better sight in the veg garden than a lovely bed of healthy onions. But you don’t need to be growing record breakers to claim you have a good crop; after all, why grow bulbs that are larger than you can use in one recipe – unless you like a challenge of course, in which case good luck with growing that whopper?The record currently stands at over 17lb!

So assuming you just want some really nice onions for the pot, here are some top tips to get you started whether you grow them from seeds, such as your packet of ‘Ailsa Craig’ free with the magazine this month, or from sets (immature onion bulbs).


Whether from seeds or sets, onions need plenty of time to develop those lovely sweet bulbs, so the earlier you can sow, the bigger your onions are likely to be. Sowing traditionally starts on Boxing Day, although exhibitors looking for the biggest bulbs might sow earlier than that and will use growing lights to encourage strong early growth in the depths of winter. For most of us, however, sowing any time until the end of April, but preferably before the end of March, should produce crops to be proud of.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

So another year is over on the veg plot – I hope you’ve had a successful and rewarding one. As ever it brought its challenges – the late spring and hot summer certainly made things interesting. My polytunnel crops were the best ever (although one arm is now longer than the other from carrying watering cans) and many of you have told me you’ve had some wonderful soft and tree fruit. That, however, is in the past and we need to prepare for the fun and challenges ahead. With that in mind we have some great features for you this month. Fruit expert David Patch offers his advice on planning a fruit garden, while Ben Vanheems encourages you to leave the spade in the shed and to join the ranks of converts to no-dig gardening. As usual we have features on growing a diverse range of crops and get out and about to meet readers from the North East to the South West. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of their wonderful plots as much as I did.