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Onions, onions, onions

I've said it before and I'll say it again - onions are a must have for any vege garden. The number of dishes that require, or taste better with, onions is never-ending. So, it just makes sense to have this staple growing in your garden too.

And, as I've also said before, don't stop at growing just the brown-skinned, white-flesh Pukekohe longkeeper variety. Stock up your vege patch with a variety of different types of onion. At Awapuni we also sell spring onion, red spring onion, red onion and pearl drop onion plants.

Pop down to your local supermarket, The Warehouse or Bunnings and pick up some of our newspaper wrapped bundles of onion seedlings. Or head to our online store and get them delivered direct to your door.

If you're growing Pukekohe longkeeper, which is known for its resistance to bolting, and ability to be stored for a long time, it grows best in soil that's friable. By that I mean soil that goes crumbly when you touch it. You can plant red onions with your longkeepers as they like the same conditions.

Dig a hole about 3cm deep and plant each plant around 10cm away from its neighbour in rows that are about 20cm apart. If you're a spinach fan, try popping this in between the rows as it makes a great companion plant. Keep aphids at bay and your Pukekohe longkeepers will be ready to harvest in 20 to 24 weeks.

Pearl drop onions produce a pure white cocktail onion that has crisp, round and slightly flattened bulbs - perfect for pickling. They like to grow in rich soil and full sun. And spring onions (of any colour) will grow just about anywhere - including pots. Plant each seedling 3 to 4cm apart, and in six to eight weeks your spring onions should reach a height of 70-75cm and your pearl drop onions around 45cm high. Keep the soil moist and when the tips of the leaves begin to brown it's time to harvest. I like to pop new seedlings into the ground every month for a year-round, continuous supply.

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