garden5
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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.

garden5
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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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Alan in Vermont
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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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gixxerific
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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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!potatoes!
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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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gixxerific
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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.

garden5
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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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Alan in Vermont
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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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jal_ut
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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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Alan in Vermont
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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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jal_ut
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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.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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