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How to grow onions and shallots

Onions and shallots are easy to grow and make the perfect low maintenance crop if you’re new to growing your own vegetables. They fit neatly in rows between other crops and don’t need a lot of attention except occasional watering.

Shopping List

  • Your choice of onions or shallots
  • Vegetable growing compost
  • Granular fertiliser
  • Garden trowel
  • Garden hoe
  • Garden gloves
  • Watering can
  • Fleece or netting (as needed)

Step By Step Guide

1. Prepare the soil before you plant by raking in a good quality granular fertiliser or some well-rotted garden compost.

2. In rows 12 inches/30cm apart, push each bulb - also known as a set - into the soil with the growing tip still visible above ground. Space onion sets every 4 inches/10cm and shallots a little wider at 6 inches/15cm.

3. Cover newly planted bulbs with fleece or netting to protect them from birds.

4. Sit back and watch your onions and shallots grow. Water as needed when the weather is dry, using a garden hoe to keep weeds at bay.

5. Onions and shallots are ready to harvest when the leaves begin to turn yellow, usually from mid to late summer.

6. Lift gently with a garden fork, shaking off the soil. Leave out in the sunshine to dry before storing in a cool place.

Top Tip: Will store well for several months in a cool dry place

Know Your Onions and Shallots

Onion Centurion

A popular classic with a good flavour, this strong growing variety produces a heavy early maturing crop, straw yellow in colour.

Onion Red Baron

Highly recommended for its exceptional flavour, this variety gets more popular every year. Suitable for planting early in the season, it has an attractive skin colour ideal for use in salads.

Shallot Golden Gourmet

Known for its great flavour, each set matures into a cluster of tasty shallots for a bumper crop, no matter the size of your space.