Onion sets look like miniature versions of the mature onion.

Why complicate life by starting onion seeds indoors then transplanting them later into the garden? It’s much easier to start with onion sets (baby onions), widely available wherever onion seeds are sold. All you have to do is plant them in the garden, then harvest them at the end of the summer when they’re mature. Sometimes life is so simple! Using onion sets is particularly recommended if it’s your first experience growing onions or if you live in an area with cool summers.

You can plant onion sets as soon as the soil can be worked and there no more risk of severe frost (-7 ° C). Just plant them at a depth of about twice their height, spacing the small bulbs about 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm) apart.

Warning: if you have had problems with leek moth (an insect that attacks onion leaves) in the past, it would be wise to cover your young onions with floating row cover after planting. Here is some information on this technique.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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