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Planting Onion Sets and Snow on the Fruit Cage

Posted by Rosemoor Garden on 20 Mar 2009 at 03:20 PM

Planting Onion Sets

Now is the time to plant onion sets. The earlier you can get them into ground the bigger the crop.

Once the ground starts to warm up in the spring, which can be as early as mid February here in the south west, onion sets can be planted as long as the soil is dry enough.


At Rosemoor we normally need to wait until early to mid March for the ground to be dry enough to make a seedbed.

Once the seedbed has been prepared, mark a line 

and lightly ease the soil with a three-tined cultivator.


This will allow the sets to be pushed easily into the soil. If the soil is too hard, the roots can push the onion set out of the ground when they emerge.

Check the sets and clean by removing loose skin and cut off the remains of last years stalk. Be careful not to damage the growing tip.

Push the sets into the soil so that a quarter remains above the surface.


Lightly firm the soil around the set to prevent birds from pulling them out. If you bury them too deep it can cause “fat neck” later in the year. This is where the onion stalk produces a large swollen base that can affect storage and will win no prizes on the show bench. 

Snow on the Fruit Cage

We had a large fall of snow at the beginning of February and more snow fell this week at Rosemoor.

It is unusual for us to get this much snow and the weight of the snow has pulled the top net off the fruit cage. We removed it with a broom but it had already broken a number of the ties to the side net.

I spoke to one of the gardeners from a nearby National Trust garden and they had twice as much snow fall as us and it had actually broken the metal supports of the cage.

It is traditional practice to remove the top net from fruit cages in the winter to allow the birds in to eat the pests and where snow is expected to reduce the risk of damage to the cage.

 Garry Preston, Fruit and Veg Gardener


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