I was told two years ago that it is a good idea to knock over the top of an onion plant to encourage it to grow bigger in the middle. That worked good two years ago, but it didn't work at all last year so I'm thinking it was just coincidence.

Is there anything I need to be doing to the stem of an onion to encourage them to bulk up?

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    I've heard this advice too and it doesn't work out well. They will fall over on their own. IMO, you just take care of the soil, give them enough space, and they will grow well. – bstpierre Jun 15 '11 at 10:55

I think that was pure coincidence. Have you tried using a low level of nitrogen (N) and a high phosphorus (P) number? The only other thing of is the use of good soil with good water drainage. Do you use any type of manure (chicken, etc) when planting?

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    No manure (ever since I gave the kids e.coli, I've been avoiding it), I just work compost into the soil and spread some near the sets when I plant them. I've never tested any NPK levels so I don't know about that, is that a ratio that is good for Onions? – Peter Turner Jun 16 '11 at 3:43

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