cincycuse
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So, should there be one germinated onion per pellet? Right now, I have several pellets with more than one germinated seed, should I cut all but one as should be done with others veggies?

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Ozark Lady
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Onions always get too hot, when I try to grow them.

Has anyone tried container growing them, or growing them in the shade? Or even perhaps overwintering them, which is how I have to grow garlic?

And I absolutley do not understand the day length thing with onions.
For some reason, my brain just won't wrap around that theory. -wall-
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Tigerlilylynn
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Ooo a container with wheels or on a rolling pallet might just do the trick to adjust the light and heat. In the container gardening book I have he grows 18 onions in a "large" self watering container. Large being about 26x19 and 10.5 deep.

For what it's worth he also says long day onions are better in the North and short day in the South.

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I planted Walla Walla seeds about three weeks ago, and most of them germinated. I have trimmed them back twice to 3" so far, and I anticipate doing it a couple more times given that my garden is still covered in a foot of snow. So far, so good with the seeds.

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jal_ut
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Another thread on onions

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21238&highlight=onions
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Ozark Lady
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Okay, there are zone maps...
Is there such a thing as a day length chart?
I notice that Texas and Utal planted long day...
It is my understanding long day is for northern gardens... Well, where is the line?
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jal_ut
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It is my understanding long day is for northern gardens... Well, where is the line?
Onions varieties do exhibit light sensitivity in regards to when to bulb. Some will bulb with 12 hours of light and others need up to 16 hours.

You need to get the onions to a good size before the days are long enough to bulb so you have lots of leaves and good plant vigor to make a bulb.

Onions are cool weather crops. In the Southern states you can probably plant onions in January or February. You would want them to bulb before the weather got too hot, yet the days are still not that long say in April when the onions should be bulbing, so a short day onion will bulb earlier before it gets hot.

Farther North and at higher altitudes, you won't be planting that early. You will probably be planting when the southern onions are bulbing, so by the time the plants reach a respectable size and are ready to bulb the days are quite long. If you plant the short day onions here, they will bulb before the plants get sufficient size to make a big onion.

Is there a line? Probably not a distinct line, but you may take 39 degrees North Lattitude as a rough dividing line if you wish. I mention altitude because at higher altitudes, planting times are later, so you are more likely to need long day onions.

My advice is; try something and see if it works for you. It is not a big stretch to try 4 or 5 varieties of onions. Also, ask at your extension office.

My thoughts are that if you can plant onions in January or February, go for short day onions and if you must plant in March or April, go for long day onions.

Onions are hardy and can be planted early. As soon as your ground dries out enough to do it. Some frost and snow is not going to hurt them. Here in Northern Utah at 5000 feet elevation, that is usually early in April. Everything East of the Rocky Mountains is at a much lower altitude and I would think March would work for planting onions in most areas north of 39° North Latitude.

I hope this helps?
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jal_ut
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Sunrise/Sunset

https://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php
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applestar
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jal_ut, that was a good thorough explanation and I feel closer to figuring out how to get these little buggers to grow! 8)

I'm attempting to grow them from seed for the 2nd year. Last year, I started the seeds Mar. 1, this year, Feb. 5. The little seedlings are at about the size I planted out last year -- still pretty tiny. So hopefully, in 3 more weeks or so, they'll be more of a transplant size. I also have some onion sets coming sometime this month, and I have all those onion bottoms that I'm going to transplant out.

I don't feel that I' have the technique down yet, so I'm still mostly in the "listen, experiment, and learn" mode. :wink:

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Ozark Lady
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My onion seeds are still in the package.. :oops:
Perhaps I should try for a fall crop, since I understand that they are only viable for 1 year.
Or just grow green onions... that I can do! ha ha
I just plant them with the radishes and lettuce, which will be this week!
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gixxerific
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applestar wrote:jal_ut, that was a good thorough explanation and I feel closer to figuring out how to get these little buggers to grow! 8)
I agree Jal. I have researched and researched but it is so confusing with onions. I have seed going and sets ready to pounce as well. Maybe this will be a a good year for once.

Thanks
Dono :D

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Agreed - Great explanation!! :)

Does anyone know if "red beauty" onions are long or short day? They are a hybrid:

"Red Beauty is an early bulbing, hybrid variety with a refined neck, globe shape and good, deep red colour. Start indoors in short-season areas for a larger bulb. Short-to-medium storage. Maturity of 105 days. Approximately 200 seeds/package."
(veseys.com)
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Alan in Vermont
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Well, the die is cast! I have 144 tray cells seeded on 3/13, today I started seeing green threads appearing on some of the cells. I put two seeds in each cell, will probably cut off the weak sister. I planted directly into cells instead of starting and transplanting because I felt it would be very hard to do transplants with one hand working only about 15% for me.

These are long day onions, any opinions on just how much light I can put on them? There must be some size they reach before thet go on a bulbing orgy? Should I give then an arbitrary 8 hours and then cut them off from all light? There is only one room I can start seeds in so I can't shut off lights to just the onions. I'm leaning towards putting domes over then to protect the plants with black plastic over the domes. Does that seem reasonable?

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Alan in Vermont wrote:Well, the die is cast! I have 144 tray cells seeded on 3/13, today I started seeing green threads appearing on some of the cells. I put two seeds in each cell, will probably cut off the weak sister. I planted directly into cells instead of starting and transplanting because I felt it would be very hard to do transplants with one hand working only about 15% for me.

These are long day onions, any opinions on just how much light I can put on them? There must be some size they reach before thet go on a bulbing orgy? Should I give then an arbitrary 8 hours and then cut them off from all light? There is only one room I can start seeds in so I can't shut off lights to just the onions. I'm leaning towards putting domes over then to protect the plants with black plastic over the domes. Does that seem reasonable?
Long day varieties start to bulb when day lengths are about 14-16 hours. If you start onion seeds indoors, keep lights on only 12 hours each day to give the plants a suitable night. Onion seedlings will form bulbs too early if exposed to long days at any time during their development. You will not get anything bigger than sets
This info cam from here it's short read give a go please. https://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h247onion.html

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gixxerific wrote:
Alan in Vermont wrote:Well, the die is cast! I have 144 tray cells seeded on 3/13, today I started seeing green threads appearing on some of the cells. I put two seeds in each cell, will probably cut off the weak sister. I planted directly into cells instead of starting and transplanting because I felt it would be very hard to do transplants with one hand working only about 15% for me.

These are long day onions, any opinions on just how much light I can put on them? There must be some size they reach before thet go on a bulbing orgy? Should I give then an arbitrary 8 hours and then cut them off from all light? There is only one room I can start seeds in so I can't shut off lights to just the onions. I'm leaning towards putting domes over then to protect the plants with black plastic over the domes. Does that seem reasonable?
Long day varieties start to bulb when day lengths are about 14-16 hours. If you start onion seeds indoors, keep lights on only 12 hours each day to give the plants a suitable night. Onion seedlings will form bulbs too early if exposed to long days at any time during their development. You will not get anything bigger than sets
This info cam from here it's short read give a go please. https://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h247onion.html
Thanks for the link, Gix; pretty good reading and also clarifying on the terminology. I guess what we are growing are transplants.
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Alan in Vermont
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Thank you, Gix, that was just what I had been looking for.

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G5 what you and I are growing i suppose could be called transplants but they are realy seedlings. They are not sets that is for sure. (we have been pm'ing each other with our seed progress)

Your welcome Alan I hope it helps, I'm no expert by any means, I'm still trying to get it right myself. I beleive Jal has it down.

I just planted some of my seedlings today as well as some sets I bought. I am interested to see if anything come of either. I did plant some sets in a large pot that are doign great, wether they bulb or not is still up in the air.

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So how big did your seedlings get? My onions are still pretty tiny -- no more than 1/16" thick at the base. :roll: I'm going to give them until end of March and plant them at the same time I'll plant my potatoes.

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Alan, my experience with Walla Walla onions shows mixed results. They do not all bulb properly, so I get some nice onions and lots of small ones. They do come on early, meaning they are short day type, and they don't store well at all. I have heard they are supposed to be day neutral, but I don't believe it.

You may have better results with Yellow Spanish onions. These are long day onions and would likely do better that far North.

If you are starting your onions indoors, you can just plant them in a flat, then when ready to go in the garden, you can separate them to bare root and plant them. They will do fine. Many onion plants are sold bareroot in bundles of 75 or so. These do very well. They are pretty tough.

You can plant onion seed or sets directly in the garden as early as your ground can be worked. Here that usually means early April, depending on the weather. They need to get started early so the plant can have some good size and vigor by the time the days get long enough to trigger the bulbing. Then you will get nice big bulbs.

In Arkansas, plant short day onions and plant them very early. I don't know what your winters are like, but you need to plant onions (in the garden) a month before your average last frost date.

Have a great garden.
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applestar wrote:So how big did your seedlings get? My onions are still pretty tiny -- no more than 1/16" thick at the base. :roll: I'm going to give them until end of March and plant them at the same time I'll plant my potatoes.
If that was meant for me. Mine were just a touch bigger than that probably. I planted a few yesterday and saved some more for later planting. They have already had 3 haircuts if that means anything to you.

I'm hoping for the best, I have never done very well with onions. But I always planted sets and transplants from the store before.

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Alan in Vermont
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According to Gurney's, where I got my seed from, WW are a long day onion. Univ. of Minnesota Extension Service, in that link Gixx posted, says not to set out plants until danger of frost is past.

Once again we are proving that if you ask 10 people a question online you will get 11 different answers. Not criticizing, jal, just making the observation. Sure would be nice to get a consensus. :)

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You are not likely to get a consensus. What I suggest is put some out early and some later when the danger of frost is past and see for yourself what works for you. Also, don't limit yourself to one variety. Plant 5 varieties and see which does best. Every plot is different. You just have to try some things and see what works for you in your circumstances.

My experience with onions tells me I can plant onions a month before the average date of last frost. Seed, sets or plants. All will make it planted then. Here that is Early April, whenever the ground is right.
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I agree with Jal on the early planting. That site is probably covering it's butt for people that may plant way too early, who knows.

I believe that if your ground is not so saturated they will rot, onions should be plated early even if they don't grow very much when the time is right they will do their thing. Being planted in as opposed to above the ground they have that added cold weather protection.

Like I said I just planted some and will plant again in a few weeks or so. I also have some in pots that are maybe 10 inches tall right now growing indoors. they are more of an experiment, that seems to be doing well. I just put some more in pots a few day's ago and they are already (3-4 day's later) starting to poke through. These were sets.

Oh and Alan you are very right about the differing ideas. I have researched 20 - 30 different sites and they all have their own twist to them. Good luck do as Jal says try a few different ways and see what works best for you in your situation.

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I agree, Gix, what we really have on our hands (or in our pots) now are seedlings.

Since everyone's micro-climate is different, I don't know how close we will come to finding a one size fits all approach to growing onions. Although, there are a few blatantly conflicting or incorrect theories that are floating around that could be eliminated. This would reduce some of the confusion.

Good luck with your onions, all. :)
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Eight days after planting the onion seedlings are coming along nicely. I have covered two domes with black plastic so I can cover the onions but keep the lights on for the other plants. There are tomatoes starting in the flat behind the onions in the first pic.

[img]https://i872.photobucket.com/albums/ab282/AlaninVermont/my%20garden/onions-3.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i872.photobucket.com/albums/ab282/AlaninVermont/my%20garden/onions-2.jpg[/img]

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Looking good :D!

Be careful about keeping them covered too tightly, though; to little circulation can bring on the damping off.

Do you plan on thinning them, or just letting them grow as is?
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Alan in Vermont
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My original plan was to thin to one per cell. Having no idea what the germination percentage was I seeded at two per, then tossed the remaining seeds from the packet randomly into the trays. Depending on how these come along I may thin them as planned or just break the soil apart and plant then as bare-root seedlings. I have one batch of nursery grown bare-root plants ordered as a backup, just in case my attempt at growing my own goes bad.

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Are you using one of those 72 cell flats? If so, you would probably be good with up to 3 to a cell; at least that's what I'm doing with some of my onions. If your cell count is smaller, you may have larger cells. In which case, you could go with even more per cell.
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Yes, those are 72s. Depending on how the learning curve works out for this year I may just shake seeds in a half flat next year and transplant, bare-root, right out of that.

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I would suggest a lighter planting myself. I just threw a ton of seed in my planter and well, let's just they grew pretty thick. I have thinned them out a bit. When platning them in the ground it wasn't to hard to get them out of my container, which was the top of a salad container.

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re: going for bulb size in onions, it's good to remember that the onion will get a layer for every new leaf, so as in many cases where you want to encourage leaf growth, good ol' high-nitrogen fertilizer (of whatever sort) can work wonders.

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!potatoes! wrote:re: going for bulb size in onions, it's good to remember that the onion will get a layer for every new leaf, so as in many cases where you want to encourage leaf growth, good ol' high-nitrogen fertilizer (of whatever sort) can work wonders.
They will eat up the nitrogen, you can also a good amount of phosphorous at planting time to stimulate bulb and root growth.

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I've heard of using nitrogen for the first few weeks and then phosphorous after that to help with bulbing. Hmmm....I'll bet that regular doses of compost tea would be just what the doctor ordered :idea:.
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Well, my first attempt at onions is not being real promising. Got all sorts of long growth, looks like coarse grass though, not nice onion tops. I trimmed them back a couple timesand for a few days they stood (more or less) straight then laid back down. Quite a few have multiple leaves(fronds, stalks, tendrils?) but definitely nothing resembling a nice stocky onion plant. Thought maybe there wasn't light enough so today I rigged two more tubes over them, gave them another haircut and set the lights down close.

I had hoped to try setting them out in about 10 days, Still want to aim for that but may not have soil dry enough to work by then. We had 6" of wet snow on the ground yesterday so soil temps are back down and moisture is way high.

At any rate I'm glad I had onion plants ordered so I will get a crop in spite of my attempts at home grown. Got notice earlier this week that the plants have been shipped so I need to get a spot ready for them ASAP.

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[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/onions_up.jpg[/img]

These are from sets planted on April 12. I took the pic on April 26. They have been snowed on three times. It doesn't bother them. I planted some seed the same day and it is up and looking good. I haven't taken a pic of those yet.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/onion_plants.jpg[/img]

This is a bundle of Big Daddy Onions that I bought locally. There was 91 in that bundle. They ranged in size from pencil size down to toothpick size. I have had great results with these for several years.
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Alan in Vermont
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Here's a long overdue update on the onion experiment.

After watching my seedlings develop slowly I finally decided that a major change was due. They grew willingly enough but were prone (no pun intended) to falling flat and growing along the top of the trays. After about a month of that I added two more bulbs over them for a total of four 40 watt (48") tubes. That gave them the idea of how to grow and they started thickening and growing multiple leaves. Couple weeks of that, then a couple more in the coldframe.

Garden prep took me forever with this semi-functioning hand of mine so it was mid-May before they got in the ground.

And away they went! Transplanting losses were miniscule and the plants thrived.

As of 7/2 they were developing good tops with miltiple leaves but no bulbing yet.

Image[/img]
[img]https://i872.photobucket.com/albums/ab282/AlaninVermont/my%20garden/onions2-7-2.jpg[/img]
Image[img]https://i872.photobucket.com/albums/ab282/AlaninVermont/my%20garden/Onions-7-13.jpg[/img]

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Just as a side note, I had ordered Walla Walla plants from Gurney's as a backup to my homegrowns. They arrived around May 1 but I had no place ready for them so they went into the refrigerator. They stayed there too long and were pretty sickly looking when I set them out.

When you buy from Gurney's you buy by the "offer", each "offer" consists of two "bunches. Each "bunch" is supposed to contain 55 to 75 plants, so 110 to 150 plants per "offer". I received 62 plants TOTAL, roughly half of what should have been. Last year I though we blew through the onions pretty fast but I had never counted them when I set them out.

I emailed them about the shortage and they will be sending me another offer for next year. I will be counting them!

As it happened the boughten plants suffered badly from their time in cold storage, virtually none of them survived. That is my fault, not theirs.

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As of this morning they are bulbing nicely. My thought would be to keep the tops of the bulbs covered but everything I have read indicates that they should be left exposed. Does anyone have any idea why that is so?
Why that is so? All I can say is that is just the way onions grow. I have had people suggest that you should move the soil away from the bulb some so it can more easily expand. I say, I have better things to do. Let the onions do their thing. Plant 'em, weed 'em, water 'em.
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