PLANTING SETS AND SOWING ONIONS IN RAISED BEDS OR CONTAINERS
Article by David Marks.
The benefits of growing onions in a raised bed or container is that the soil is the correct texture without the need to dig it. The second benefit is that the soil warms up quicker, setting your onion plants into growth faster than onions grown in the open ground. Plant / sow your onions at closer intervals than in the open ground because weeding is so easy in the crumbly soil of a raised bed.
BEST POSITION AND SOIL FOR ONIONS
Your raised bed or container provides the best soil conditions for growing onions, light and crumbly so the soil requires no attention. If you have a choice grow your onions in the sunniest part of the raised bed, they appreciate lots of warmth and sunshine.
Mid to late March is the best time to sow onion seed. Sow the seed thinly in rows which are 2.5cm /6in apart. Cover lightly with soil and gently water them in. Make sure you label the row with onion variety and the date sown. The onion seedlings should appear in roughly three weeks.
In a raised bed onions can be grown closer together compared to the open soil because regular localised feeding will provide them with lots of nutrients. Thin the onion seedlings to 10cm / 4in apart when they are 1cm / half an inch high.
PLANT ONION SETS IN CONTAINERS OR RAISED BEDS
Onion sets are easy to plant in a raised bed. Simply make a small hole in the soil with your fingers, put the onion set into the hole and cover round with soil so that only the very tip of the onion set is visible on the soil surface.
The picture above (click it for a larger version) shows an onion correctly planted. The pointed end of the bulb is uppermost and just above the level of the soil.
The best time to plant onion sets and raised beds is the end of March. It's a good idea to water the onion sets after planting just to settle them in.
The only major problem after planting onion sets is birds. In some areas birds love to peck out newly planted sets. The solution is to cover newly planted onion sets either with horticultural fleece or some other netting.
If you need to cover you onion sets with horticultural fleece in a raised bed make a virtue out of a problem and cover the entire raised bed. It's difficult anyway to cover just part of a raised bed. The horticultural fleece will protect all crops against a late frost and it will also protect them from a wide range of pests.
The horticultural fleece can be removed after four weeks when the onion sets have started to sprout longer foliage and put down some roots.
Go straight to the next page about caring onions by clicking here or see below for more pages about growing onions in raised beds and containers.
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