mattie g
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Onion Plant Size Question

Given that this is basically the first year I've tried to legitimately grow onions, I'm curious as to where they should be right now in the growing process. I planted these transplants (not sets) on March 23.

I have two variesties: Copra (a long-day) and SuperStar (an intermediate-day). The SuperStars really took well once planted, but the Copras have taken a little longer to get established. At this point, the majority of the plants of either type have 4-6 leaves, although the SuperStar plants are generally larger and have more leaves overall.

So the question is...does anyone have a good feel for about how big these plants should be by now? I know the bulbing process is driven by sunlight hours, so I'm getting impatient waiting for more leaves to show up on my plants because of the quickly lengthening days of May. In this area, the length of the day (between sunrise and sunset) is about 14 hours right now, although I don't think that's an exact match for sunlight hours.

I'm not worried about getting huge onions or anything, but I would certainly love to have ones that are reasonably sized. And since I'm inexperienced with this, that little bit of worry is starting to creep in. :lol:

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jal_ut
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

OK, first, take a deep breath and relax. They will do fine.

Onions respond well to a shot of nitrogen at about this point.

That and keep them watered and you will be rolling in onions.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

mattie g
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

Thanks, jal.

I gave them a shot of compost tea (mostly unfinished compost) about 10 days ago, and I definitely saw a response from them. Then this past weekend I sprinkled some composted manure on the bed. It's supposed to be dry for the next few days, so I'll give them another shot of tea this weekend since the ground should have dried out OK by then. Since my garden is small and I can address issues more "personally," I try to keep organic unless I have absolutely no other choice.

My main thing is I'd like to see some reasonably sized onions this year, and learn what I can from the experience. My biggest were about the size of golf balls last year, so I want to at least beat that!

Deep breath has been taken...

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jal_ut
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

It will be interesting to see if the long day or intermediate day onions do best there. I am thinking maybe the intermediates if you had them planted early enough.

For onions one should try to get them planted very early as soon as you can get on your ground. Then they have time to get some size before the days are long enough to bulb. If you are where it gets too hot for onions in summer, you need short day onions so they bulb earlier before the heat kills them.

Keep us posted, OK?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

mattie g
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

Happy to keep the updates coming in.

According to the map on Dixondale's website, we're pretty much at the overlap of the long- and intermediate-day onion area. I'm almost as far north as you can get in Virginia, so short-day onions might not do too terribly well here.

One of the issues I had was that the weather refused to cooperate during the time when I was hoping to get the onions planted. I also may have requested delivery a week or two after I really should have (learning experience), so I ended up getting them in a few weeks after what was probably ideal.

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jal_ut
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

mattie g wrote:Happy to keep the updates coming in.

One of the issues I had was that the weather refused to cooperate during the time when I was hoping to get the onions planted.
When you figure out how to get the weather to cooperate, let us know, OK?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

mattie g
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

jal_ut wrote:When you figure out how to get the weather to cooperate, let us know, OK?
I'm going to become a rich man when this weather machine I've been working on finally works...

mattie g
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

Here's a picture or two just to get a feel for how things look right now.

First is of the Copras and the second is of the SuperStars. There are over a total of over a hundred onions planted.
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mattie g
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

Update...with pictures to be posted later.

The SuperStars are really starting to come on, and they have anywhere from 7-9 visible leaves. I say "visible" because I suppose it could be that some of the reallt early leaves have dried up and fallen off at this point. The plants are also well upwards of over a foot tall (and some much, much larger). I'd expecting the bulbing to begin any day, if it hasn't started already.

The Copras are smaller - as they have been the entire time - but they've been developing more leaves quite quickly as May has progressed. Some of them seem a little stunted - only five or six leaves and maybe 8-10" tall - but some have eight or nine leaves and are looking very healthy. They should have some more growing to do before they start bulbing.

Both types have some pretty floppy leaves, which I assume is pretty normal. If not, then I guess there's not much I can do about it and I just hope they turn out!

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jal_ut
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

Don't worry about the floppy leaves. That is what onions do.

Hey, you know you can eat onions at any stage? Try a few green ones.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

mattie g
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Re: Onion Plant Size Question

Roger on the floppy leaves, jal. Thanks for letting me know!

Here are a couple pictures of my onions from this morning - SuperStars on top and Copras on the bottom. I have the trowel in the picture to give some perspective (it's about 8-9" long).
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IMG_0345.JPG
I have a good bunch of onions planted deeply in a pot for green onions. We haven't had them yet, as my shallot scapes have been serving as chopped green onions for the time being. But I'll probably harvest a few pretty soon...

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