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Pack of 250g Onion Sets - Shakespeare
Shakespeare Onion Sets are available to order from mid-September through the Autumn.
Shakespeare is an overwintering onion type. This hardy variety has been bred in Britain, to withstand the British climate, and has been used commercially for many years. The darker skinned bulbs produce semi oval bulbs which are re-known for excellent storage and intense flavour. Well recommended.
How to Successfully Grow Onions from Autumn Planted Sets
Onion sets are small immature onions, which have been grown from seed in the previous year, and then harvested early so that they can be planted out a later date. It’s because the onion is such a versatile vegetable that demand is an all year round affair. In that respect we need a constant supply of onions for all our culinary needs, and therefore it should come as no surprise that we have a vast range of varieties and cultivars to choose from.
However, there is generally less choice of options with onions that are grown mainly from sets over those grown from seed. The main advantage of growing onions from sets is their readiness to plant at short notice without all the fuss of growing from seed. Autumn planted sets will provide the grower with a distinct advantage of an early harvest in the following year.
Growing in containers
Onions can be grown in beds or containers. Growing onions from sets in containers is ideal for those who want a small, steady supply of bulbs as and when needed, with any surplus being dried and stored for later use. Between September and November fill large pots or containers with good quality compost containing plenty of organic matter. Firm the soil surface and apply water with a watering can and rose attachment. Use a dibber or gently push the sets into the soil, at 10cm spacing, so that only the tips are visible. Place the container in a sunny position.
Growing in beds
Prepare planting beds, usually after other main crop vegetables have been harvested, and incorporate plenty of organic matter. Onions will grow best in well-drained soil in a sunny position. Rake the surface soil to a fine tilth and firm with the back of a rake. If you like your onions to be grown in straight lines then use a string line for marking out. Ensure the soil surface is damp and then draw a furrow with the edge of a hoe or push the sets into the soil so only the tips are showing. Space each set at 10cm apart in the rows and 30cm between the rows.
If the autumn is mild then the sets will begin to show signs of growth with green shoots appearing. Onions are very hardy but if early hard frosts are forecast then ensure these young shoots are protected by applying a mulch of leaf mould or straw. Water sparingly and only if the soil dries out, otherwise they should over winter without any problems. Water as normal when temperatures rise during late spring.
Pests and diseases
Over winter, the onions will be dormant and pests and diseases will be less troublesome. Come the spring, look out for signs of yellowing leaves, rust, mildew and mould. Whilst most onion sets purchased from reputable suppliers will be fine, weather conditions may cause several fungal-type problems, for which there are no chemical remedies. Avoid feeding young plants with nitrogen-rich fertilisers. Onion fly is a known pest but rarely affects plants grown from sets.
Harvesting and storage
Autumn planted onion sets should be ready for harvesting from early June in the following year, which is 2-3 months ahead of spring planted sets. Store in a cool dry place.
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The best garlic in terms of overall eating and keeping quality.
November to January planting best but crops well from end March planting.