As there are many different varieties of onions available, choose one which will suit the climatic conditions of your own area. An early maturing variety would be best for warmer areas. Prepare the onion bed at least two months before planting. Dig it over thoroughly, adding compost, lime and well rotted manure. After raking the bed to a fine tilth, make shallow drills 30 cm apart. Sow the seed thinly in rows and just cover the seed with soil or sifted compost, firming the rows with the back of a rake. Mulch lightly. Use a compost mulch when the seedlings are established taking care not to bury the swelling bulb which need the sun to mature.
Thin out the seedlings in two stages, the first to five cm apart and the second to 10 to 15 cm apart. The thinnings can be used like spring onions or shallots. Plant the seed during July and August Do not plant onions out of season because the onions will bolt to seed and fail to form satisfactory bulbs. When the leaves have turned yellow and shrivelled, they are ready to harvest Choose a dry day and pull them out by hand. Dry them in the sun until the leaves are brittle. Store them in a cool, dry place.
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