13 October 2010

10 Reasons to Grow Your Own Onions

Overwintering Senshyu Yellow Onions
 These are in no particular order but the first three reasons we started growing our own vegetables several years ago are the top three: 

1.  Cost

There's no getting away from it but if you have a little bit of space you can save yourself cash.  Although there are several options, today's price for loose onions at Tesco online is 25c each (or €1.19 kg).

We estimate that we use about 1kg of onions a week. So on that basis we would be spending €61.88 per year on onions alone.   I have just planted 100 onion sets (tiny onions) for overwintering.  The total cost was €3.58, which, if this year's crop is anything to go by, 2.5 onion bulbs = 1 kg.

So my grow it yourself onions will work out at 0.04c each or 11c per kg (or €5.72 per year).

Overwintering 'Radar' Onion Sets

2.  Chemical Free.

We know what's gone into our soil and can guarantee that the crop hasn't been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.

3.  Children can see where their food comes from.

Okay so an onion doesn't change dramatically from the tiny set you plant, to the (hopefully) large bulb you harvest, but it's facinating to see how crops develop, grow and where they come from.

4.  Using vegetables in season.

The onions are at the peak of their flavour when freshly picked, and then carefully stored.

'Settons' - dried and stored
 5.  Convenience.

We can pick an onion or take one from storage whenever we need one.  We don't have to remember to buy them.

6.  Using up spare ground.

Whether you're lucky enough to have a bit of space in your garden, an allotment or someone else's garden, you're using space that might otherwise have had grass, weeds or brambles growing over it.  You're using the soil productively.

7.  Instant Soup!

You're never without a meal. You can have a delicious bowl of home grown soup in front of you in less than half an hour.  Here's a lovely recipe for french onion soup if you're looking for one.

8.  Tradition

Onions were first recorded over 5000 BC so we can be happy that we're keeping a very old tradition of growing and eating them alive!

9.  Health

The sulphides contained in onions (the compounds that are released when you cut them that make you cry) have been shown to lower blood lipid levels and reduce blood pressure.  Consumption is also said to reduce the chances of colon cancer.

10.  Feel Good Glow.

The 'feel good factor' of having watched your own food growing and then cooking with it cannot be underestimated!

So go on, if you haven't already done so, try growing your own onions and see for yourself how rewarding it can be.

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