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Growing Garlic and Onions


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Below are general guidelines for growing garlic and onions including plant height to enable you to plan exactly where to place them when growing amongst other plants.


For detailed instructions on growing fruit plus in-depth articles on growing your own edible produce visit our sister site or why not visit our gardening blog The Urban Gardener.


Plant Height

Garlic/Spring Onions  Up to 30cm/12-inches

Other onions Up to 60cm/2ft depending on variety

Time between sowing and harvesting

Spring/salad Onions - 12 weeks

Others - +22  weeks Depending on Variety

Where to Sow

Garlic & Spring/salad onions - Outdoors in open ground or in containers

All other onions - outdoors in open ground

Sowing time

Garlic - March to April - temperature   +10C/50F

Spring/Salad - March to July  - temperature   +10C/50F

Others -  March- April  - temperature +10C/50F

Can also be grown from sets

How to Sow/plant

Garlic - Divide the bulb into cloves, leaving the skins on. Plant 5cm/2-inches deep,  pointy end up covering with about 2.5cm/1 inch of compost or soil. 1 bulb to a 15cm/6-inch pot

Others (including spring/salad onions) - 12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks.

Sets - plant 10-15cm/4-6" apart in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks.

After Germination

All seed sown varieties - Thin seedlings to 2.5cm/1".  Keep the soil moist but not very wet and weed free.

Growing on -

in Pots

Garlic and Spring/salad Onions only - Water  in dry weather and feed once or twice during the growing season.

Growing on -

in open ground

Spring/Salad Onions  - Water  in dry weather and feed once or twice during the growing season. Keep weed free

Garlic - Water  in dry weather and feed every two weeks between June and August. Keep weed free

Others - thin to 10cm/4" apart. Keep weed free. Water  in dry weather and feed once or twice during the growing season. 


Spring/Salad Onions - as above

Garlic - Break off any flower stems which may appear. Stop watering in late August.

Others - Break off any flower stems which may appear. Stop watering once the bulbs have swollen and pull back any covering earth to expose the bulb surface.


Spring/Salad Onions - Pull as and when needed

Garlic and Others - Once the foliage has turned yellow and toppled over, leave the bulbs for a further two weeks then carefully lift with a fork. Onions which are not going to be used immediately should be spread out and left to dry (outside if the weather is clement or inside if rainy. Discard any soft or damaged bulbs.


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