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  • 16 per square is the same planting density as carrots. Maybe that is for spring onions rather than bulb onions?

    Things that have done well in SFG spacing for us - garlic (4), lettuce (4), carrots (16), parsnips (9), dwarf French beans (9). Spring onions I find easier to grow in clumps. Beetroot do OK but I'm going to try in Charles Dowding style clumps next year as it's easier to transplant multi-sown modules.

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    • Just harvested some SFG parsnips. They were sown over 6 squares at 9 seeds per square. The harvest from one 'row' of 3 squares gave a total weight of 1.2 kg. Hopefully the 2 x 3 ft area should yield around 7 kg. Have a photo of them to show the size but the forum gives me a 'database error' when trying to upload.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by toomanytommytoes; 23-12-2019, 02:20 PM.

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      • Your photo is too big, TMTT. Reduce the size and try again.

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        • Here they are!
          Attached Files

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          • They look scrumptious TMTT.
            Is it too late to post me some? I'm feeling a bit peckish!

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            • Originally posted by toomanytommytoes View Post
              16 per square is the same planting density as carrots. Maybe that is for spring onions rather than bulb onions?
              Checked the book again and definitely recommends 16 onions per square foot, "carrots, onions or radishes take up the least amount of room, their spaced 3 inches apart, so an amazing 16 will fit into 1 square foot, with no wasted space," and checked that it was the same recommendation for sets, I was thinking of a spacing the same as Martin H uses but as monkyboy has posted that some of his were on the small side at that spacing, I will think on that as we use a lot onions, though I am not looking for huge onions I do want decent sized ones
              it may be a struggle to reach the top, but once your over the hill your problems start.

              Member of the Nutters Club but I think I am just there to make up the numbers

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              • 16 onions per square foot could be reasonable. Each onion would be 3" diameter if they grow well and finish up touching. Using 9 should give 4" diameter bulbs. So depends what you want in the kitchen. Radish and carrots are leafier than onions so need proportionately more room (the roots won't touch when ready to harvest). You could weigh up in shops how big are the ones that you like using.

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                • Reading the 'official' SFG message board, they seem to suggest 16 is for green onions (which presumably are like spring onions?). Some plant at 16 then thin to 9 or 4 as the season progresses.

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                  • Originally posted by Mark_Riga View Post
                    16 onions per square foot could be reasonable. Each onion would be 3" diameter if they grow well and finish up touching. Using 9 should give 4" diameter bulbs. So depends what you want in the kitchen. Radish and carrots are leafier than onions so need proportionately more room (the roots won't touch when ready to harvest). You could weigh up in shops how big are the ones that you like using.
                    Or I could go out to the hut and see the onions there but its too dark to do it just now
                    it may be a struggle to reach the top, but once your over the hill your problems start.

                    Member of the Nutters Club but I think I am just there to make up the numbers

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                    • You could measure a square foot of soil (or paper) and lay your onions out on it, leaving a little space around each, and see how many you can fit in.
                      It'll give you something useful to do.

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                      • Originally posted by veggiechicken View Post
                        You could measure a square foot of soil (or paper) and lay your onions out on it, leaving a little space around each, and see how many you can fit in.
                        It'll give you something useful to do.
                        I like that suggestion VC but just so busy,



                        doing nothing
                        it may be a struggle to reach the top, but once your over the hill your problems start.

                        Member of the Nutters Club but I think I am just there to make up the numbers

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                        • You must be busy (doing nothing) rary as its taken you nearly 2 weeks to find the time to reply to my exceedingly helpful suggestion.

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                          • I came in belatedly to update this thread. Surprised to see some recent activity.

                            Originally posted by rary View Post
                            I have been considering trying THE SFG method myself, I have been reading Bartholomew's book but I have doubts about the recommended spacings like 16 onions into one square and I note the m.b thinks 9 per square is too many so will have to rethink on what system I will use
                            I don't know if it was due to growing conditions (fertiliser, sunlight etc) or the weather (which wasn't as good this year), but my onions were small. Some were barely larger than the sets I'd sown. From memory, the largest would have been two inches in diameter. These were red onions but I'm not sure if that makes a difference. The red onions we buy from the shops tend to be of a similar size (if not larger) than normal onions. I'm going to increase spacing by sowing fewer per square to see what happens.

                            I ordered some autumn planting garlic from the garlic farm in September. I didn't get round to sowing them until December. 4 per square apart from Elephant garlic which is one per square. That will take up 12 squares in total. Remaining six squares in that raised bed will be devoted to onion.

                            Bed two - I'm contemplating resowing calabrese since I've had such a good harvest. But the leaves take up so much space that I have to sow them diagonally so each plant has an empty square to the north, south, east and west of the plant. It wastes so much space. I'm considering growing sweetcorn in between, and may be some brussel sprouts at the very edge of the bed.

                            (The remainder - potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and strawberries shall be grown in pots. I'm going to give jalapeno and padron peppers a miss since they don't do well in my garden).

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                            • I grew onions very successfully at 16 per square foot they were all about 3 inches and did touch. Last year I planted Sets in a raised bed and they all got white rot, I think the sets were infected as it has never been in my garden before.

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                              • Going to have a go at this, this year. Have bought the book and canít put it down! I have a 8 foot by 2 foot raised bed at home so will see how it Works out.

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