This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Suttgarter Onions from start to finish

Above: Onion sets purchased.
This was my first year growing onion and I'm happy with the results. Every time I grow something new I get a rush of uncertainty at some stage - with the onions the uncertainty came when pulling them up and how to dry and store them. I think I managed and as I didn't grow very many I think I'll have them eaten in a couple of months so the storing isn't too necessary. I really enjoy growing things I haven't grown before. Here's a little record of their start and finish in the garden.

Above: Starting to grow - The onion bulbs in the open growing tray seemed to have better root systems than the ones grown in the individual squares. Photo taken 7 May.
Above: In my new raised beds, I used the  square foot growing idea and onions took up two of my growing areas. They were planted in the bed at the end of May. Photo taken 21 July.
Above: A closer look at the onions in the bed.  Photo taken 29 July.
Above: On reflection I think I pulled the onions a bit too soon, however, the leafy stalks were starting to flop over so  I pulled them up. Photo taken 10 August.
Suttgarter onions pulled and drying. They are about tennis ball size, some smaller. They smell and taste delicious. I think I will definitely grow again next year. I'd like to grow a red onion as well. Any suggestions of an easy to grow red variety let me know!

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.


  1. It's good to look back and see how things have progressed. Onions are generally a joy to grow with no complications. I have always grown Red Baron which usually do very well.

  2. We started our onions in cells too. The first lot have produced good onions but the second lot were delayed in planting out which I think caused a set back and so haven't grown as well. It's something we will have to bear in mind next year. Pity they don't produce a deeper tray of cells.

  3. I can never justify growing onions. We use such vast quantities in our cooking that I could probably only afford enough space to grow a week's worth! However, I bet home-grown onions are really tasty, yes?

  4. The onions look great. We grew three varieties: white, yellow, and red. First year for white. We buy the sets bulk, so I don't have a brand name for them. They do well--better last year when we watered more; we got better size. Ours about the size of yours this year. But I keep asking how do farmers get those onions that will weigh a pound each? We live in amid onion fields. My guess is lots of water and fertilizer. None the less, the small onions have abundant flavor and they make me cry, something that store onions often don't do. We just plant the sets in the row along side the tomatoes. They say that they are good garden companions.

  5. I grew the same variety this year for the first time and I'm definitely going to stick to it from now on. I grew them in a polytunnel and feel I may have pulled them a little early like yourself as some of them were small whereas others were very large.
    As for Red onions I have grown Red Baron but they didn't grow too well here in the Highlands, however I will try them again next year in the polytunnel this time.

  6. They look great. Interesting how the ones planted in the open tray produced better root systems than the ones in cells. I've never been particularly successful with red onions, this year they all rotted and have already been composted.

  7. Your home grown onions look very good. I am not always lucky with onion growing, I had good years, but for instance last year they stopped growing too soon, so I had little and mini-sized onions. This year I did not plant onions at all.

  8. I haven't tried onions, except for little early green onions, but this year I will try some Florida sweet onions in my garden...they are huge, white, mild onions. It is almost time to plant here...Between Sept 15 and Oct. 15 for most everything! You got a very good crop, Kelli, and will enjoy them during the cold days of winter...think of a rich onion soup! Yum!

  9. I pulled my onions today! The "maincrop" didn't do as well as the overwintered ones. But the really good news is that both had minimal signs of white nose! I guess it was a reasonably dry summer - the first in many.

    Now lets see some plaiting/stringing Kelli!

  10. I have grown Red Baron for the past few years and thy have done well, Thy also store well