onion sets

Hi all i have a large amount of onion sets to plant, but not sure if to put them into the ground today becouse of a hard frost last night, and we have rain on the way over the next few days in wiltshire so looking to wet to plant over the weekend? has anyone planted any sets yet.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,891

    I have planted my sets because we had a week of lovely weather and I didn't realise this week would be so horrid. But onions are pretty hardy. All I've read about them says to plant in March to mid-April and I've planted them in March before. But if it's very cold where you live perhaps it would be best to wait til it's a bit warmer.

  • You can earth them up a bit which will protect them, and the rain / watering will gradually push the soil back down to normal level. Not too much though  image




  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,906

    I've not planted any sets out in the veg garden yet.

    You can start sets off in modules and plant out later. I've started mine in modules, some in the house and some in the GH. The house one's, (red)) started shooting after a week so I've brought in a tray of white. The GH one's aren't showing any shoots.

    I've also covered an area in the veg plot with a couple of cloches so some can go out early. Was going to start to harden half the red one's off next week with a view to planting them out under the cloches the week after, depends on the weather.  

    I've nothing to lose though, if there is a hard frost which kills then, then there'll be enough left to replace any which die.

  • I used to plant my sets out in March with very patchy results, now wait longer until the ground is a bit warmer. Last year I started in modules or trays and am doing the same this year - a bit later too as it's been so cold - just last week for most and still have some shallots to do. Last year's results were much better through starting with a good root system.   We are in Berkshire so not exceptionally bad weather, although there was still ground frost in some places yesterday at 7am!  (I'm not gardening at that time, just out feeding the birds!)

  • All mine were planted this time last year but with the weather being so unsettled up here in Durham have decided to wait a while, the ground that they are going into is covered in plastic and put my red sets in pots a  week ago with  good roots already.I started some of the yellow in pots last year but didn't see much difference between the ones rooted than the ones put directly into the ground, I only start the red in pots as they seem to run to seed a lot quicker and I like to give them a fighting chance, saying that last years crop was very dismal all round. Once in if the weather is still a bit chilly I cover in fleece (also a deterrent for the birds) until they are rooted.

  • well after the frost lifted yesterday morning i decieded to plant a couple of rows of sets as the ground was dry and it was a mild day, still have a lot left so will leave them now till we get some dry weather, a bit wet here in wiltshire today and looks set to be wet all weekend.

  • Hi Jeremy, glad you mentioned the reds! They are my fave to eat, but never grown any (only whites) I will be putting in a lot in my new plot in Montesquiou in a few weeks. Should be a good crop hopefully and should catch up I hope? (a bit late for onions in the south of France but am in UK at the mo for a couple of weeks so fingers crossed!)

    Best regards


    montesquiou - midi-Pyrenees

  • Brycey DBrycey D Posts: 55

    Has anyone grown reds or shallots in buckets or large pots? Have sets of boths and was thinking of giving it a go and also putting some straight into the soil.....also, are you placing sets or seeds into modular trays?? I have small pots, would it be worth starting my sets in these before planting out?   thanks for any info.


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    Hi Brycey, I'm another one who always now starts onion sets in modules and find it gives a more consistent crop.  Small pots will be fine.  Plant out as soon as the roots reach the bottom.  Growing this way also prevent birds from pulling-up the sets before they have rooted.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Brycey DBrycey D Posts: 55

    Hi Bob, I bought some 38cm diam plant pots so I'm going to put a couple of shallot sets in one and a couple of red onion sets in another...then I'm going to put some more of each in small pots ot modular trays, before planting these into the soil as you describe...you can only try...


  • Dells1Dells1 Posts: 19

    Hi  , I live in wilts too , have  onion and garlic out 10 days or so , weather not been giving any problem.  The sun is warmer now when it does show its self that is . Reckon you should be ok.

  • Hi Dells, My Garlic was planted in October as they like a period of cold weather (no problem with that this year) and are well on the way, my main problem is rust on the leaves, this is my third season and have had the same problem for the prievous two years, it doesnt seem to do the bulb any harm as they come out nice and fat and store very well

  • Dells1Dells1 Posts: 19

    Started my garlic in modules in the greenhouse  during february, they are well away outside now and looking very healthy.

  • arbutus1arbutus1 Posts: 23

    Waiting a while before putting in my red & white onion sets  here in Devon

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,906

    I had problems with rust last year, so planted garlic in a different spot this time.

  • I tried that but it happened again I know this will only be my third season, the thing is My leeks this year didn't suffer? as they did in my first season, some of the other gardeners say try not to get the leaves to wet when watering?? a bit difficult with all the rain we had last year. The garlic came from good stock and were not cheap, the thing is this years crop that I planted in late October the cultivated stock are very poor where my own garlic off last years crop are romping away. (same varity)

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,906

    I grew two garlic varieties last year, one was my own stock, the other cultivated, both got rust but the home grown garlic seemed to ward it off longer. The harvested bulbs were only small but they've kept well.   

    This years garlic, planted in October hadn't even rooted or shown any shoots by February, so as a back up in January, against all good advise, I bought two huge bulbs from a local nursery in their fruit and veg shop. The roots were forced indoors and they went out in the GH, possibly the end of Feb, and to catch the frost they went out into the veg bed beginning of this month. They've survived all the recent frost we've had and are looking like true survivors. In fact they look like the best garlic I've ever planted but there's at least another 4-5 months before harvest...fingers crossed...

  • I live just north of Nottingham and have put last of my Onion sets in today. I always push them into the soil to protect them from frosts and have sown Mid March for years. I only grow for the table and have never had a bad crop yet in 40 years of doing this.

    I am not so confident about putting in my early spuds yet, but thats another topic.

  • My brother is complaining the frost may of done his sets in, they have gone mushy on the outside, even though they are in 3-4 foot high beds, with cover, bolton area.

    What do you think?.

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