Where to grow your onions
When growing onions the first thing to do is to decide where you are going to put them. I have grown onions in all sorts of different places, in pots and tubs, in a vegetable patch, mixed in with garden flowers, even in a soda bottle! (School experiment!)
The kind of onions you can grow will depend on where you choose to grow them. If you are lucky enough to have a vegetable plot, or room to make one, then that's ideal. Not everone is that lucky and even if you don't have that sort of space you can still grow you own onions. You will just have to choose your variety carefully (more on this later).
Vegetable Plot - preparation for growing onions
You've got to have a feel for it
When I moved to my new house the first thing I did was have a good look at my garden. I was looking for a patch that was fairly well drained, in the full sun for part of the day and with some shelter. Once I'd found the spot I cleared the weeds and had a good feel of the soil. I rubbed it between my fingers to see if it was clay or lovely crumbly loam. As my house is pretty old there's been a garden here for a long time. This means that although the area is mostly clay my soil is pretty good. If it wasn't though, I'd have got some garden compost or maybe manure, and forked that into the soil and left it for a few weeks.
I don't dig it!
Now some vegetable gardeners will tell you that you have to do masses of digging when you are preparing a new plot but I don't believe that. As I've just said, my soil is a nice, crumbly loam because it's been cultivated for so long, but if I dug down more than a few inches I'd soon hit heavy clay. It's wet, harsh, cold and hard for my onions to put roots into but that clay holds moisture and if there's a drought it could save my onions. I would rather build up the depth of my soil with garden compost, spent mushroom compost and other organic matter than try to break down the clay subsoil. If the onions get a bit dry they'll push their roots down into the clay and take care of themselves. My back is healthier for it too!