Top tips for homegrown onions and a tasty home-made tart

Sink your teeth into some grow your own inspiration and try growing your own onions. With some gardening advice from our friends at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, you’ll be able to make a delicious tart, using Nadiya Hussain’s recipe as seen at the BBC Good Food Show Summer 2022.

From soups and salads, to warming onion gravies, curries, tarts and much more, onions find their way into a huge variety of dishes, giving you all the more reason to get them into your plot this November. Read below for some great growing tips, and for a tasty tart recipe, perfect for your homegrown produce. 

TIP! In autumn, common onion planting varieties include ‘Autumn Champion’ and ‘Electric’ – these are more tolerant to the colder conditions. 

How to grow

  • Plant a small onion set 10-15cm apart in moist, fertile soil in a sunny spot, with the tips showing out of the soil surface. Allow 30cm between rows
  • Keep the area weed free

Growing onions from sets is usually a little easier and quicker, but you can also grow from seed. Sow these indoors 1cm apart in moist compost in January. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, transplant them into multi-purpose compost. You’ll be able to plant them into the garden come spring.

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Help with problems

  • Stop birds from pulling up your onions by covering them with horticultural fleece
  • Watch out for drooping yellow foliage – this could be a sign of fly larvae. Planting parsley with your onions can help prevent this
  • Be careful of neck rot – this can be prevented through not overcrowding when planting

When the leaves droop over and turn brown, it’s time to harvest your onions! Loosen the soil with a fork and lift out your produce. To store, leave your onions on a drying rack or on newspaper. Their outer skins will rustle when they’re dry, and you can then hang them in a cool, dark, dry place to store.

Feeling hungry? Why not try making a delicious tart with your home-grown produce, as seen at the BBC Good Food Show Summer at the 2022 Show. Find out more below…

French onion and blue cheese tart

This recipe is from the BBC Good Food Show Summer 2022, as seen on the Big Kitchen at the BBC Good Food Show Summer with chef Nadiya Hussain. The recipe is from Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 large lemon thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 5 onions, thinly sliced (about 1kg)
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 sheet ready rolled pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 150g blue cheese
  • small handful of chipped chives, to serve
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    Method

    1.Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan, and add the onions, garlic and lemon thyme leaves, mixing everything together. Mix in the sugar, 1 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp salt. Stirring occasionally, leave to cook for 30 minutes on a medium heat.

    2.Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a baking tray using parchment. Roll out the pastry onto the tray.

    3.Score a smaller rectangle 1cm inside the pastry rectangle gently with a knife. Make sure you don’t cut the pastry all the way through. Next pierce the inner rectangle with a fork, to allow steam to escape. Brush the edges with the egg, and bake for 20 minutes.

    4.With the back of a spoon, push down the puffed-up pastry of the inner rectangle to leave you a neat border.

    5.Crumble the blue cheese and onions into the pastry and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before eating and sprinkle your chives on top.