Globe onions are the round onions which are commonly seen at the supermarket and can be brown, white or red. They are great for growing through the winter months although they can take six months before they are ready for picking.
Globe onions are the basis for almost all stews, casseroles and curries and are used in almost every cuisine. The biggest problem that most people have is that, when they are being cut, they release a gas that makes people cry. There are lots of different techniques on how to cut onions without crying such as filling your mouth with water whilst you cut. If you have one that works, let us know as well.
When planting into the garden, dig lots of compost through the topsoil first and then use a dibbler to make holes 10cm apart. Place a seedling in each hole and gently push the soil around the rootball. Water the seedlings very lightly but if they fall over, don’t worry as they will soon stand back up.
Onions grow quite well in containers that are at least 25cm deep so long as they all have enough room to spread out. Fill the container with premium potting mix and plant the seedlings about 10cm apart. Water lightly and make sure the container is in a position to get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Water the onions regularly but don’t fertilise them as they rarely need it. As the onions grow, they might slightly rise out of the soil but don’t cover them because this is quite normal.
Onions will let you know when they are ready to be harvested as the green strappy leaves will start to dry and fall over which will be at around 12 weeks from planting. Pull the onions out of the ground, leaving the leaves attached and just trimming off the dangly roots.
Lay the onions flat on a drying rack or piece of cardboard in the sun so that their skins can dry out. Once this is done, the leaves can be cut off and the onions stored in a cupboard or alternatively, a bundle of onions can be tied together using their leaves and hung in the dark in the garage. Another clever trick is to hang onions in a stocking, tying a knot between each one so that it looks like a big sausage.
HOW TO EAT
There aren’t many cooked dishes that don’t start with chopped up onion as it adds a flavour base before all the other ingredients are added. It can also be sliced into wedges to be included in stir fries or if it is left whole, it is delicious roasted in the oven.
No sausage sizzle or barbecue is complete without fried onion. To prepare these, slice an onion in half then remove the skin from each side. Place the onion half on a cutting board and slice it from one end to the other. The slices are then cooked in a little bit of oil on the flat hot plate of the barbecue with a little bit of salt added at the end.
Some people like to eat raw white or red onion but brown onion is quite strong so it is mostly served cooked.
Find some great recipes in the Smarty Plants Kitchen.
HOW THEY GROW
Onion seedlings are very small and look like thin grass. As they grow, the onion bulb begins to form and eventually poke their head out of the ground. Roots grow from the base of the onion and long strappy leaves grow above the ground.
Botanical Name: Allium cepa
Life Cycle: Annual
When to Grow: Plant in autumn so that they grow through winter.
Height/Width: 30cm x 8cm.
Requirements: Plant in full sun and water every day unless it rains. Don’t apply any extra fertiliser as they rarely need it.
Nutritional Benefits: A chemical in onion helps the good bacteria in our body to grow and keep us healthy.