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GARDENING ON THE MENU

Mastering the growing of onions is a rite of passage for many, but for those of us who are still struggling, gardening writers Martin and Jill Fish may just have the answers
Sowing onion seeds in the greenhouse

Igrow onions purely for the kitchen, not the show bench. However, some of my first experiences of growing onions were with my uncle on his allotment and he always grew ‘Kelsae’ onions for showing.The seed was always sown on Boxing Day – the things people do to get out of washing up! Following in Uncle Arthur’s footsteps, as a young man I did a little veg exhibiting at village shows and although I say it myself, I always did all right with onions!

We eat a lot of onions and I always grow a few different types in the garden each year to get a variety of flavours. Some are mild and others are strong! I grow from seed and sets, and as well as bulb onions I also grow shallots, garlic and a few spring onions.

SOIL CONDITIONS

All members of the onion family (Allium), including shallots and garlic, grow best in a sunny position, on well-drained soil that has been well prepared in advance. My onion plot is planted where brassicas were grown the previous season. The onions can take advantage of the fact that the brassica roots have broken up the soil and they will also benefit from the lime that would have been applied to raise the pH (alkalinity) for the brassicas. I also dig in plenty of organic matter in late winter and allow the soil to naturally break down by spring. Just before planting, I give the soil a dressing of general fertiliser to give them a good start.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

This month - Keep fresh, harvest and storage tips plus grow grapes and soya beans. Wow factor - Try globe artichokes and cardoons. Feeling drained? Share the highs (and lows!) of gutter gardening. Herbal treats - make a handy herb box and visit a grower's paradise. Fun with fungi - a beginners guide. Plus pruning for fruit, cash savers, feed your soil the organic way and fantastic exclusive videos in our custon iPad edition.