Grow Your Own
Onions are a kitchen staple and are both undemanding and easy to grow. You can grow onions from seed or by planting sets (immature small onion bulbs) for convenience most choose to plant onion sets. There is a huge variety to choose from, yellow onions are most widely used and we recommend 'Sturron' for its high yield, strong flavour and tends to store well. Red Onions tend to be sweeter and are good for salads, we recommend 'Hyred' or 'Red Baron'.
Planting from seed.
Sow onion seeds in modules any time between winter and late spring. Sow at 10 - 15 degrees celsius in damp seed compost and water with a fine spray. Transplant the established seedlings out into the veg plot once the last risk of frost has disappeared.
Planting onion sets.
Sunny, well-drained soil is ideal for growing onions. It's important to spend some time improving your soil prior to planting, dig in plenty of compost and ensure the site is weed-free. Plant them in rows, 10cm space between each bulb and 30 cm between each row by pushing them in gently into the soil so tips are level with the surface.
Growing top tips!
To prevent birds from pulling up newly planted sets cover with horticultural fleece or pea sticks. Weed your sets regularly and water to keep moist as onions do like to be in water-retentive soil.
The foliage will turn yellow and fall over, this is when you are ready to harvest your onions. Lift the bulbs with a fork and if dry leave them to dry on the top of the soil or move them to the shed/greenhouse bench. It's important to store your onions so that you have a crop to use throughout the year. Store them in a cool dry place, they are best hung to ensure air circulation.
Now, what to do with a huge amount of onions you say?... A delicious recipe, that's what!
Onion Soup with Goats Cheese Crouton.
800g yellow or white onions, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1l vegetable stock
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp Marmite
handful of Parsley, roughly chopped
8 thick slices of bread
100g soft vegetarian goat's cheese, cubed
1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roast onions for 45 mins in a roasting tin with the oil. Stir the onions halfway through to ensure they do not burn, they should be brown.
2. Add the onions into a large saucepan with the stock, mustard and Marmite. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins, then stir in the parsley.
3. Slice bread and lightly toast, scatter with goats cheese & grill for a few minutes.
4. Ladle the soup into bowls, pop a cheesy crouton onto each and enjoy!