How to plant onion sets

How to plant onion sets

Find out how to grow autumn onions from sets, in our guide.

Growing onions from sets is far easier than raising them from seed. Plus, planting hardy varieties in autumn gives you a head start over spring-planted sets, as you can harvest the bulbs from June. Planting in autumn also means you’re using soil that would otherwise be bare, which helps to retain nutrietns that would otherwise be leached away by winter rains.

When planting sets, don’t force them into the soil as this can damage the base plate where the roots emerge. Use a fork to lift the soil slightly, if necessary.

Growing onions from sets is far easier than raising them from seed. Plus, planting hardy varieties in autumn gives you a head start over spring-planted sets, as you can harvest the bulbs from June. Planting in autumn also means you’re using soil that would otherwise be bare, which helps to retain nutrietns that would otherwise be leached away by winter rains.

When planting sets, don’t force them into the soil as this can damage the base plate where the roots emerge. Use a fork to lift the soil slightly, if necessary.

No open ground? Watch Monty Don plant onion sets in modules:

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Follow our guide to growing autumn onions from sets.

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You Will Need

  • Onion sets
  • Trowel
  • Hoe
  • Rake

Step 1

Prepare the soil well by removing weeds and raking level. Add a slow-release fertiliser if necessary.

How to plant onion sets - preparing the soil.
How to plant onion sets – preparing the soil.

Step 2

Use your trowel or hoe to make a drill that is deep enough to sit the onion sets, with just the papery tops above the surface.

How to plant onion sets - planting the sets in a drill
How to plant onion sets – planting the sets in a drill

Step 3

Cover the onions with raked soil and firm gently, leaving only the tips showing above the ground.

How to plant onion sets - covering the sets with soil
How to plant onion sets – covering the sets with soil
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Growing onions from sets is far easier than raising them from seed. Plus, planting hardy varieties in autumn gives you a head start over spring-planted sets, as you can harvest the bulbs from June. Planting in autumn also means you’re using soil that would otherwise be bare, which helps to retain nutrietns that would otherwise be leached away by winter rains.

When planting sets, don’t force them into the soil as this can damage the base plate where the roots emerge. Use a fork to lift the soil slightly, if necessary.

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