Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sets In

I've finally got round to getting my red onion sets and shallot sets potted up in to modules. It's still too wet to get them in to the ground so potting them up this way gives them a chance to get started and put out some roots before they're eventually planted out at the allotment. I did the same thing last year with the shallots and I got a great harvest, in fact, I'm still eating them. This is the first year that I'm growing red onions, I've gone for Red Baron which seems to be a common variety.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm going to start some potatoes off early to try and get an early harvest. I had intended getting some planted up alot earlier than this, but it's another job which I haven't yet got round to doing. I've got a container at the ready and shall get round to planting a couple of tubers in it this week, and it will then reside in the greenhouse to give it some protection. The weather is very mild at the moment, but if it turns cold again I shall make sure that I've got some fleece at the ready.

I seem to be behind everyone else with their spring bulbs. I've now got a few snowdrops and crocuses blooming, and the daffodils are pushing through the soil, so I don't feel quite so left out now when anyone mentions all the flowers they have in their garden.


  1. Hi Jo,
    My parents live in the north east and they have snowdrops out but nothing else. I have lived in the south and now Wales for 12 years and the temperature difference between us and my parents whilst subtle is still significant. I'd say we are always about 3 weeks ahead of them.
    It's great to get started with everything, isn't it? I planted up some shallots at the weekend. I'm not doing onions, mainly because space is a bit tight. By growing the cut flowers I have to sacrifice some things.

  2. Hi Jo
    Isn't it great to feel that planting can begin. I've found the greenhouse really useful for getting seeds etc. started when its just too wet or cold on the plot. We've grown Red Baron in the past with good results.

    I thought I might leave my early potatoes in bags until at least the middle of March but you've set me wondering now.

  3. I've never potted my onions up before planting them out before, didn't even know you could but it's a good tip to know. Our ground is dry enough to get the onions in....all I need to do now is get some onions to plant!1

    I grew red baron last year and loved them...they have stored well over winter and I still have a few left!!

  4. I don't generally grow any Alliums apart from Chives, but this year I'm having a go with Shaalots (fisrt time for about 10 years) and garlic (first time), so anything could happen. My soil is very light and drains very readily, so I think the conditions are already OK for planting, but I'm a bit worried that we might still get another spell of very cold waether. Do you think Shallots and Garlic would survive OK if we did?

  5. I'm going to stop reading gardening blogs, it all makes me feel so guilty that I have nothing done yet :)
    At least I have snowdrops - haha! ;)

  6. Like you I started my onions off in pots - I planted one lot outside at the weekend and the shallots but I am keeping the others in the greenhouse a while longer as insurance.

  7. I shall be planting my onion sets on the plot mid March on providing the weather is okay. Flighty xx

  8. I'm giving onions a miss this year in favour of french and dwarf beans and brussels sprouts (I'm a bit squeezed on space to grow everything I want to every year). One the flowers front, I have 5 snowdrops and about 7 crocus in flower. The rest have been dug out of the border by the chickens... Note to self - plant more in pots.

  9. started my onions off last week too did the same thing last year and had a really good crop from them.
    I have no daff's out yet which is odd for me down south.

  10. That's a good idea to start them off in modules, I think I'll give that a go too as mine are often very slow to get going.
    I have 1 snowdrop in flower and 2 daffs!

  11. I imagine that you were pleased to have done that Jo. I was hoping to do the same by the end of February but still haven't. I suppose that the first week of March will not make much difference :) Have sown some Red Baron seeds though. Have grown them in the past and they are most tasty.

  12. The temperature difference from region to region can vary significantly, Wellywoman, though everything soon catches up. You will be saving more money by growing cut flowers than you would by growing onions, and flowers are so much prettier, so I think you've made the right choice.

    I'm going to leave the majority of my potatoes until later in the month, Martyn, I'm just going to pot up a container or two a little earlier. It's nice to get started again, you're right.

    It's too wet to get my onions planted out yet, Tanya, so at least they get a head start this way. I'm still eating onions and shallots from last year, we got a really good harvest.

    I think shallots are garlic would be fine being planted out now. Garlic in particular benefits from a period of cold as it helps to split the bulb in to cloves.

    I sometimes get a little panicked when I read blogs and see how much further on people are, Mo. Everything soon catches up though, there's no rush. Enjoy your snowdrops.

    That's a good idea, Elaine, it's always good to have back ups. You'll also be able to see which do best, those planted out early, or those cosseted for a while.

    It's still too wet to get my onions out yet, Flighty. Potting them up first allows them to get going at least.

    I think you're doing the right thing, Suburban Veg Gardener. Onions are cheap compared to beans so they'd be my preferred crop too. I think pots are the way to go when you've got chickens.

    My daffodils are through the ground, Stacy, but there's no sign of any buds yet.

    Another benefit of starting onions off in pots is that the birds don't tend to pull them out of the ground once they're planted out, Su. I think they're a bit tougher to get at once they have roots.

    It's always good to get a job crossed off the list, Anna. One down, lots more to go.

  13. Planting in modules is a good way to start off onion and shallots sets, it worked for us well last year too. Our shallot sets are now shooting

  14. I'm glad you mentioned potatoes as you've reminded me to check how mine are getting on with chitting. I always plant potatoes on St Patricks day. Re: your last post on flowers, a great idea to grow from seed. I usually start seed in pots because of slugs but you may not have that problem or could use slug pellets. Hope it goes well, flowers are great to have in the garden.

  15. I have shallots in 3" pots which works well. Also have some onions sets that have overwintered and some that I planted out last weekend, fingers crossed they'll be OK.

  16. Did not think to start onions in modules. I put them straight into the ground last week. Yellow onions this time. I've sown some lettuce seeds, too. And radishes!
    Happy gardening!
    Mississippi, USA

  17. Hello Jo,

    Just letting you know my yes peas recipe book arrived yesterday. It looks great thanks for the reccomendation.

    Hope you get a good harvest of red onions, I am also growing them for the first time so we can compare notes etc.

    Take Care,


  18. You've been busy in the garden Jo, what sort of container is best to use for growing potatos?........does it have to be outstandingly large, remembering I have but a small impish sized garden.
    lily x

  19. I'm hoping my onions and shallots do as well this year as they did last year, Sue. We've still got plenty left.

    My potatoes are chitting well, Kelli. I've just bought another variety, Nicola, so they're now set out to chit too.

    It's far too wet at the allotment to plant out onion sets yet, so potting them up in modules to get them started works well, Damo.

    I start my onions in modules as it's too wet to plant them out yet, Lea. It's great to get started again on seed sowing.

    Glad to hear the recipe book arrived, Martin. It's got some good meals in it. I'm looking forward to having some red onion in salads this year.

    I use buckets a little bigger than a standard sized bucket for growing potatoes, Lily. The bigger you use, the bigger crop you'll get as you keep covering the foliage as it grows and this encourages more potatoes to grow up the stem. You don't have to use a container such as a bucket, some people use things such as empty compost bags.

  20. I wish I had used your method with the red onions, I have put mine directly in the soil, about 4 weeks ago, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
    But with no sign of life, and lots of rain, I don't think
    They can swim.

  21. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, MuddyBalsham. I used this method last year and it worked well. I'm still waiting to see if they survive all the rain we've had, I hope so.


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