Approaches to growing:
I know quite a few allotment owners who don't bother with onions as they are so cheap in the shops. However, onions are such a vital part of so many dishes that it seems a pity not to be able to eat your own, especially since they store so well. Spring onions are a vital addition to salads for much of the year and sweet, caramelised shallots are a must in French-inspired cookery.
There are three main types of onion: bulb, spring and shallot, all of which can be found in white or red varieties, with the red varieties tending to have a milder flavour. Bulb onions are the mainstay, with Japanese varieties providing the most reliable late summer sowings for a mid-summer crop. Spring onions are simply immature onions, although some varieties have been bred not to form bulbs at all. Shallots are generally grown from sets, which multiply to form a clump of bulbs which are prized for their milder flavour.
I have always felt a bit funny about sets - turning a small onion into a big one doesn't seem enough of an achievement. However, sets have better disease resistance, are not troubled by onion fly and cope better with poor conditions. That said, while sets can make an ideal starting point for the novice grower, results from seed, especially if started off indoors at the beginning of the year, are generally very good.
|pH||6.0 - 7.0|