Pre-planting onion sets indoors
It’s snowing today. Again. I don’t think I’ve seen it snow so often, since we arrived here in France for the first time. It hasn’t been a very cold winter though up till now. Locals still consider it a warm winter I think. So having so much snow this year, might be just a personal experience. We moved up for about 400m, which might explain why it’s snowing more here, than on our former mountain. Whatever the reason is for this snow, I don’t mind it. I love having so much snow around in winter. I’m just not so sure when I will be able to start the outdoor growing season at full force. I guess only time will tell. For now I will just start gardening indoors and fill my time with making YouTube videos.
What? Yes, videos. I will be making them. But not all the time, don’t worry.
Today I’m sharing my first YouTube video with you. It’s a tiny one. Not so special, very simple, modest, no award winner. Hahaha. I’m so nervous about it and have postponed it for such a long time. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. I often can only improve myself by pushing out a product or thing and then moving on to a next stage. If I keep it in my hands, it fills my head in such a way that I feel saturated. I have no place left for inspiration or improvement. I don’t know how it works for you?
Anyway, todays video is all about pre-planting your onion sets indoors. I guess most of you will know what onions are (right?) and how they grow. But maybe you’ve never heard of onion sets, so let me explain it quickly. Onions start their growing process from a small seed. You can see the black sharp seeds below. From these seeds, they slowly grow into fully grown onion bulbs. It takes a few months before they reach that consuming stage. If we would leave it in the ground at that point, it will start to flower and eventually go into seed again. Seeds that can grow to full-grown onions in a new growing season. A growth circle, as round as an onion (pun intended).
Now, you can always choose to grow your onions from seeds. There are three advantages to do this:
- onion seeds are very cheap.
- there is a great choice in varieties.
- and maybe most importantly, if you grow your onions from seed, you will be able to control the whole growth process yourself. You can choose not to use pesticides and such.
There is one big disadvantage though: it’s a very slow growth process.
The good news is that you can cheat! Onion sets are the shortcut in this case. Onion sets are mini onions, baby onions. A stage between a seed and a fully grown onion. They have been grown by somebody else from seed, before they arrived at your place. I’ve added the picture above to illustrate the different stages. The seeds, the baby onion and the full-grown onion. They are all from different varieties by the way. Just to confuse you. But it’s pretty clear right, that it takes more time and energy to grow a full-grown onion from seeds than from these sets.
As I’m growing in a new garden this year, which will have to be put together and cultivated intensively, I chose the shortcut for this year. I will grow my onions this year from sets. I’ve done this before and it was a good success. What you choose is your own choice obviously. And if you choose to pre-plant onion sets, just follow my instruction. It’s no advanced science in any way, but it’s always helpful to see how these things are done, I think.
Onion sets can be planted out directly into your garden in march or april when the weather will be more mild and less wet (this will differ from region to region obviously). If you are in no hurry and don’t want an early harvest of onions, you can choose to just wait and plant them directly outdoors. As said I chose to pre-plant my onion sets this year. The big advantage of pre-planting your onion sets, is that you will win a few weeks for harvesting your onions. At the same time, you will also guard them a bit from external influences when they are most fragile. They won’t have any competition. You give them shelter and a little push so to say.
Sounds appealing right? So let’s get started then. You will need a few hands of mini onions that you can buy online, or offline at a local gardening centre, or grocery store. I bought red onions, a bag full. You will need as many baby onions, as you want to harvest in the end in full size. Maybe a few more even. I am never able to grow as many onions as we use here at home. I just sow as many as we can grow in the garden. About 80 this year?
Next to that you will need some small pots or sowing trays in the same amount as your onions. They don’t have to be big, you only want your onions to start growing some roots. And then you need some potting soil. Last but not least a watering coaster to place under the pots.
You can now switch to my video above for further instructions or just do as follows. Fill your trays with damp potting soil or compost, whatever you have at hand. Make sure you have as many pots as onion sets. Place one baby onion in a small hole that you make in each pot. Cover it with soil and just leave the top to stick out above the soil. Keep on filling the holes until you are ready. Make sure that you stick the bottom part of the baby onion downwards. You don’t want to grow an onion upside down. Now place your pot-trays on a watering coaster. Add some water and leave them to grow in an unheated greenhouse or a place where it’s warmer than outside, but nut super hot. Onions can easily catch mould. Don’t over water them for this reason. Leave them now to grow until they have grown their pointy leaves for about 10cm above the ground. Then take them out of the trays and plant them in your garden. Good luck!