Planting Onions on top of the ground

Has anyone done this? A friend said he had great results just setting the onion sets on the surface of damp ground on a 6" x 6" spacing. Said he had to keep the birds from messing with them, but in a while they rooted.
All references so far talk about planting them at depth of 1".
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Wilson 44.69, -67.3

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