When to plant onions?

Cosmo spring garden

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I planted granex onions last year in February which I started from seeds. This year I had planned to do the same but I read somewhere that the earlier you plant the bigger the bulbs are. I'm in zone 7a. When do you grow your onions? Do you prefer starting from seeds, onion sets or small plants? I plan to grow a lot of onions next year and dont want to mess it up.
Also if you start them from seeds, any advice? Last year less than half made it to transplant.
 

digitS'

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It's your latitude also, Cosmo. For some reason, I tried Granex one year. Wrong variety for here and they only made it to golfball size. That's because the longer days prompted them to make bulbs toooo early. You will need someone along your line of latitude to give you ideas.

I have started from seed, planted sets, and bought plants - all in the same season. The purchased plants are sure an easy way to have some real nice onions but, I don't usually go that route. I'm not 100% happy with onion varieties that can be grown from sets. Still, I buy some every year since it's a good way to have early scallions.

It sounds as though you are thinking of indoor seed sowing. I do that about the first week of February in the unheated greenhouse. I have to be careful that the soil mix doesn't freeze. Outdoors, I have shown seed for shallots in early April.

Indoors, watering is easiest and more foolproof done from the bottom, just set the containers in a basin.

I hope some of those ideas help.

Steve
 

Cosmo spring garden

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It's your latitude also, Cosmo. For some reason, I tried Granex one year. Wrong variety for here and they only made it to golfball size. That's because the longer days prompted them to make bulbs toooo early. You will need someone along your line of latitude to give you ideas.

I have started from seed, planted sets, and bought plants - all in the same season. The purchased plants are sure an easy way to have some real nice onions but, I don't usually go that route. I'm not 100% happy with onion varieties that can be grown from sets. Still, I buy some every year since it's a good way to have early scallions.

It sounds as though you are thinking of indoor seed sowing. I do that about the first week of February in the unheated greenhouse. I have to be careful that the soil mix doesn't freeze. Outdoors, I have shown seed for shallots in early April.

Indoors, watering is easiest and more foolproof done from the bottom, just set the containers in a basin.

I hope some of those ideas help.

Steve
Thank you! Last year the seeds I sowed and left the containers in the unheated greenhouse did much better than the ones indoors. The indoor ones kept dying after sprouting. I blamed it on damping off. I'll use the greenhouse again.
 

digitS'

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digitS'

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At least 2 meals a day?! That sounds like my family when I was growing up ;).

This might get me into trouble. No, I don't live along the Walla Walla River. This location is about 200 north of there and the soil is that of a glacial moraine. That is a lot different from Walla Walla, home of the onions.

People see the ID/WA and imagine potatoes! Those should not be difficult for you to grow, digitS'. What is it, Idaho is #1 for potatoes and Washington is #2? My garden is 100's of miles from either of those farming areas!

Here's a show about Walla Walla onions, that was just replaying when I came into the living room. I saw it earlier this year and watched the onion ring part of it again. Fun local show:


BTW: I knew about the planting time in Walla Walla. It doesn't work to sow seed in the fall here. I tried it several years - too many of the plants bolt to seed rather than making bulbs in the following year. Must be that our winters are too cold.

Steve
 

flowerbug

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At least 2 meals a day?! That sounds like my family when I was growing up ;).

This might get me into trouble. No, I don't live along the Walla Walla River. This location is about 200 north of there and the soil is that of a glacial moraine. That is a lot different from Walla Walla, home of the onions.

People see the ID/WA and imagine potatoes! Those should not be difficult for you to grow, digitS'. What is it, Idaho is #1 for potatoes and Washington is #2? My garden is 100's of miles from either of those farming areas!

Here's a show about Walla Walla onions, that was just replaying when I came into the living room. I saw it earlier this year and watched the onion ring part of it again. Fun local show:


BTW: I knew about the planting time in Walla Walla. It doesn't work to sow seed in the fall here. I tried it several years - too many of the plants bolt to seed rather than making bulbs in the following year. Must be that our winters are too cold.

Steve

the bolting can come from a number of different things. if the onion set is too big, if the onion set has been stressed. if the weather gets too hot and/or dry, etc. i'm still learning about onions here, so i'm certainly no expert. i'm going to be curious about how well all my own seedlings work out for next season. i'm experimenting all the time and there's no reason not to continue as long as i have the room and patience for it. making sure to start with the varieties that are adapted to your region is a good start too. :)
 

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Pay attention to the latitude advice! We grow long day varieties, patterson and dakota tears both of which are only adapted to about latitude 55. They do fine but finish too soon hence, they have to be stored longer.
This year im still using the dakota tears and am adding redwing which is a red storage onion adapted to lat. 65!
we’ll see how they turn out. We grow them all from seed, started in early February.
at around 5 inches we clip the tops back to about 2 inches and notice they come back with greater girth! They go into garden beds Mid May and many times the seeded onions out do Set onions.
 

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