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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: 20,939

    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.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • 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: 3,267

    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: 53

    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 Posts: 11,391

    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: 53

    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 can only try...


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