THINK you know your onions – well think again.

There are new varieties out there all the time — it's almost impossible to keep up.

They complement the old traditional favourites such as Sturon, Stuttgarter and Red Baron that I have grown for years.

One old variety that has particular happy memories is Rose de Roscoff which flourishes in the particular soil of the area around that part of France.

My recall centres not just on the unique flavour and their rosé wine colour but of the monsieurs in their Breton shirts literally pedalling their strung-up wares around the streets on their bikes.

Yes, sadly I'm old enough to remember the hangover period of the sellers in the 1950s, those last of the few so-called Onion Johnnies, who first plied their trade in the early 19th century.

I've never attempted to grow Roscoff, which is said to be picky about growing outside its native Brittany, but there are similar onions which will find their way into my patch this year.

One is French Pink, from Suttons, which is a traditional rosy-coloured French market variety.

It is said to have a fruity and sweet taste, with a slight sharpness. After cooking its texture becomes tender and the sharpness mellows to sweet.

Rosanna, from Thompson and Morgan is a semi-globe shape with stunning pink rings when sliced.

It is, like most sets, available as “heat treated”, which prevents onions bolting into flower. Rosanna was recently created as a cross with Rose de Roscoff.

I am also throwing Snowballs at the plot.

Onion Snowball, from Mr Fothergill's, is a white variety, excellent for culinary use with a full and mild flavour.

Onions and shallots like well-drained, well-dug, fertile soil and can be planted from now into early April, but resist until the plot has dried out, especially if the soil is heavy because the bulb's growth will be impeded by pugged soil around it.

l Handy hint: Try growing onions with mint to deter onion fly. Moroccan mint is especially fragrant and makes a lovely tea too.