The Veg Plot

Onion sets off crop rotation

overwintering onion sets

I have conceded defeat to Rich – the onions he grew from sets thrashed the ones I started from seed. I’m not saying his onions are bulbous beauties, but even the best of mine would struggle to fill a mini bhaji.  So I’m going to learn from my mistakes* and give it another go next year. However, I’ve also popped in a few sets of overwintering, Japanese onions for an earlier harvest.

Which means it’s time to put our crop rotation policy in action.

Crop rotation helps look after your soil, keeps disease at bay and gives each crop the best chance of growth. We have four main plots for veg so will be adopting a four year crop rotation plan. Which goes like this…

Potatoes followed by legumes followed by brassicas followed by roots & onions.

Therefore my onions are going into this year’s brassica plot. And, more specifically, the space vacated by Rich’s pox-ridden hispi cabbages. We never found out what caused the pox, but the cabbages survived. Whatever the problem, it’ll be four years before cabbages get another go in that patch, giving any mystery diseases every chance of disappearing.

The plot was weeded, manured, and well dug when the cabbages came to an end, and the sets have been planted in groups of four with their tips in line with the top of the soil. Fingers crossed they’ll get a good head start on Rich’s onions next year…

Sets sown: Onion ‘senshyu yellow’, Taylors bulbs
Red onion ‘electric’, Taylors bulbs

 *Left in the seed tray too long. The weather didn’t help but, as I wasn’t able to get them planted out nice and early, I should’ve at least potted them up to give them some fresh, more nutritious soil.


  • I commend your crop rotation plan, Nick, but must refer you to the Book of Exodus (a kind of Bronze Age Gardeners’ Question Time) for further guidance: specifically Ch23, v11.

  • I always recommend shallots rather than onions. More bang for your buck, and superior flavour. My alliums always follow my spuds to take advantage of the recently manured ground.

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