Now is the time to sow onions

Sow exhibition onions now to give them the longest possible growing season and maximise their chances of reaching whopper size in time to clean up at the local horticultural show this autumn.

Growing giant onions is right alongside super-sized pumpkins and unfeasibly long carrots as gardening challenges that are impossible to resist. Choose from module trays and propagators to good-quality soil based John Innes seed compost and just the right kind of seed.

Boxing Day is the traditional time to start your campaign, slipping out to the greenhouse for a little seed-sowing! But if you haven’t started yet, it’s the perfect job for a fresh January day.

The variety of seed you sow is crucial: every exhibitor has their favourite. Whatever you choose, fill a module tray with damp seed compost and sow one or two seeds to each compartment. Germinate in a heated propagator set to 18-20°C.

Start potting on the seedlings while they’re still at the hooked-over stage and keep them growing on under glass.
Then in April, plant outdoors into a prepared bed to grow on.
They’ll hopefully reach maximum girth-splitting size just in time for the late-summer shows.