Wednesday 3 January 2024

In My Seed Box For 2024 - Spring Onions


In previous years I have done really well with Spring onions, I have two or three with my sandwich most lunchtimes. A note has been added to my Sowing & Planting Plan for 2024 so I can get Spring Onions going a month earlier than previous years.

The life expectancy of Onion seeds is 2 - 4 years, and most suppliers have a two year gap between packed and sow by date.  

In 2022 my sister treated me to a couple of packs of Lidl - De Barletta Spring onions and I bought 3 more packs in April when I went shopping. With Jen passing away and then with the cancer in my jaw and other mobility problems I didn't grow as many spring onions as I otherwise would normally do, so for the moment I'm over stocked with seeds for this year and probably the next couple of years 

These have sow dates between February - April and August - November and are Frost-Resistant for harvest in spring and summer. 

Germination is 15 - 20 days and soil temperature needs to be between 8 - 10C  No seed count but pack say enough for 10m of sowing.   

Lilia - 550 Seeds -  £2.49  - 43 79 38 - were a new variety from Dobies in 2022 and I have to say they are a great bulb spring onion that have really grown well and have lasted from being picked, and I will be growing these again in 2023 and buying more seeds for 2024 

Lilia is a dual-purpose Italian variety with a robust flavour. Dark pinky/purple base, tapering to dark green leaves Spring Onion Lilia is best grown as a salad onion. Its eye-catching dark green leaves and a shiny, intense red inner core make a great addition to a summer salad. Plants can also be grown as a maincrop, storing bulb onion. When fully mature it shows off its defined red and white inner rings. 

Sow March-July 

For salads, best sown in broad drills sparingly April - July, into finely raked, firm soil at a depth of 10mm in rows 300mm apart. (Germination 14 - 21 days). No thinning necessary. Bulbs will be quite large if left to mature. Sow a pinch of seeds regularly for continuous production. 

For bulb onions best sown 3-4 seeds per small pot in a propagator or greenhouse during march April at approx. 15C eventually planting outside. 

Best grown in ground that has been manured the previous autumn. Water freely in dry weather. 

Harvest June-October.

Sow By 2024 

De Barletta (Bulb)                   - 10 metres  -      49p       - Lidl - Sow By 2024
De Barletta (Bulb)                   - 10 metres  -      49p       - Lidl - Sow By 2024
De Barletta (Bulb)                   - 10 metres  -      49p       - Lidl - Sow By 2024
De Barletta (Bulb)                   - 10 metres  -      49p       - Lidl - Sow By 2024
Lilia (Bulb)                               - 550^ Seeds - £2.49         - Dobies - Sow By 2024
White Star                               - 550^ Seeds - £2.49         - Dobies - Sow By 2024    
Snow Queen F1 (Bunching)    - 300 Seeds - £                 - Premier Seeds- Sow By 2024
Tokyo Long White                    -1200 Seeds - £                - Premier Seeds- Sow By 2024
North Holland Bloodred Redmate - 1200 Seeds £          - Premier Seeds- Sow By 2024

^ Opened Pack               

Sow By 2025 

White Lisbon                           - 450 Seeds -      75p*     - Wilko - Sow By 2025
White Lisbon                           - 450 Seeds -      75p*     - Wilko - Sow By 2025
White Lisbon                           - 450 Seeds -      75p*     - Wilko - Sow By 2025
Guardsman                             - 350 Seeds -  £2.55       - Wilko - Sow By 2026          

Sow By 2026 

Ishikura (bunching)                 - 375 Seeds - £1.00*       - Wilko - Sow By 2026
Ishikura (bunching)                 - 375 Seeds - £1.00*       - Wilko - Sow By 2026
Ramrod                                   - 250 Seeds - £1.00*       - wilko - Sow By 2026
Ramrod                                   - 250 Seeds - £1.00*       - wilko - Sow By 2026

* Purchased in the Wilko 50% 0ff sale 

Alphabetical Listing of Varieties historically grown 

                                                Sowing            Harvest

Arrow                                     Mar - Apr          Aug - Nov
Feast F                                  Mar - Jul          Jun - Onwards ( Winter hardy) 
Gerda                                    Mar - Jun          May-Dec - Marshalls
Ishikura                                  Mar - May        Jun - Sep - Thompson & Morgan
Ishikura                                  Mar - Jul          May - Oct - Mr Fothergill's
Ishikura                                  Feb* - Jun         12 Weeks after Sowing - Kings Seeds
Lilia                                        Apr - Jul            Jun - Oct
Long White Ishikura               Mar - Jul           May - Oct - Johnsons
North Holland Blood Red       Feb - Jul           Apr - Oct
Pompeii                                  Mar - Jul          Jun - Oct
                        Mar - Jul          Jun - Oct
Ramrod                                  Mar - Jun          May - Oct - wilco
White Lisbon (Winter Hardy)  Mar - Sep         Mar - Nov - wilco 
White Lisbon                          Mar - Sep         May - Oct - Thompson & Morgan
White Lisbon                          Mar - Jul           May - Oct - Mr Fothergill's
White Star                              Mar - Aug                  - Dobies
White Star                              Sept to overwinter 

* Under Glass 

Sowing Plan for 2023

In 2017 spring onions were grown in vending machine cups in tray modules and transplanted into the onion beds plant membrane, but white rot got a few and the rest had to be harvested early or disposed off.

In 2018 I tried to grow them in cut down square flower buckets but the results weren't very good, saying that the Spring was unnaturally warm and dry.

From 2020 a return to growing in vending machine cups in tray modules and transplanted into the onion beds plant membrane, 

Looking at the back of the seed packets, yes I do read them! What I find interesting is the different guidance provided by different seed companies for the same variety of plant. for example, looking at Ishikura Spring Onions from Wilko, Thompson & Morgan & Mr Fothergill

Sowing Outdoors

Mar - May ~ Thompson & Morgan
Mar - Jun ~ Wilko
Mar - July ~ Mr Fothergills

Frequency of Sowing

Wilko &  Mr Fothergills both suggest every 2 - 3 weeks for a continuous supply throughout the summer, interestingly Thompson & Morgan advice is that "The long harvest period means one sowing lasts the whole season!" which is kind of mad as there harvest period is shorter than both Wilko & Mr Fothergills ! Thompson & Morgan also states "Can be harvested pencil-thin or thinner, or left to mature to carrot size" although they don't state what kind of carrot.  


Wilko & Mr Fothergills both suggest no thinning is required whereas Thompson & Morgan state it is!


May - Oct ~ Wilko
Jun -  Sep ~ Thompson & Morgan
May - Oct ~ Mr Fothergills


Wilko &  Mr Fothergills both state 14 - 21 days and Thompson & Morgan provides no information on germination, I have seen this missing on quite a lot of their packs and it's something I'm and I guess most other gardeners are actually quite interested in.

I know that like Structural Engineers, if you get four or five gardeners together and ask them a question you are likely to get three different answers but until I see what other suppliers of Ishikura Spring Onions have to say, I think I will ignore T&M and go with the guidance from Wilko & Mr Fothergill.

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