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Onions

Last year we lost quite a few onions in storage from a rotting at the top of the bulbs, is there anything we can do to protect this year's crop?

You have described a problem known as Neck rot.

This often starts around harvest time, particularly if wet weather coincides with damage to the onion stems.

Bending over the tops too soon can also result in injury and disease infection.

Take care this year, when bending over the tops, wait until they start to die back naturally.

After lifting, dry the onions off fully by laying them upside down on slatted shelving or mesh in a greenhouse, shed or garage, to ensure there is no excess moisture around the necks.

 

The tops of my onions are now turning brown, how long should I leave the bulbs before storing them?

As the tops of your onions wither, partly ease the bulbs out of the ground, and leave for a few days.

Afterwards, lift the bulbs completely and leave them on the surface of the soil to dry in the sun.

If the weather is wet, lift and lay them directly on to slatted shelving or netting in a warm spot until they are thoroughly dry.

Tie them up into ropes, and hang in a dry, airy place.

 

Is it better to grow onions from seed or sets?

For really large, exhibition onions it's best to grow the plants from seed.

Advantages of growing from sets rather than seed:

They give a good yield and require less skill than seed.

They mature quicker.

There is no need to thin them out

They are more reliable under adverse conditions.

Disadvantages of growing from sets rather than seed:

They are more likely to bolt

There are less varieties than there are with seed

There is a chance of importing diseases such as white rot or eelworm into your garden

They do not usually store as well.

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