Vanisle_BC
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Have you ever transplanted onions in clumps?

One of my seed catalogues recommends starting onion seedlings 3-5 to a cell, then transplanting each cell unthinned, to grow a clump of plants. Another reference claims that if clumps are spaced about 25% wider than for single plants, bulb sizes won't be much smaller but yield/area (weight) will increase.

Anyone here have relevant experience?

I've usually started my onions in shallow wooden boxes. At transplant time I lift them and soak in a basin if water to disentangle the roots.

Using multi-seed cells and transplanting the groups of seedlings sounds like much less work.
"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior." H. D.Thoreau. (Me too.)

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jal_ut
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Re: Have you ever transplanted onions in clumps?

Here in high dry Utah we have a rather short growing season. To get a large onion I will buy a bag of small dry onions from the seed store. These little onions are pushed in the ground early in the season spaced about 5 or 6 inches. They will make a nice large onion. If I plant seeds I get loads of green onions and if let go full season will end up with some one inch bulbs. There is also long day and short day onions. You need to get the type best suited for your area. Here we plant in April and plant the long day type. They develop in June when the days are long.

I have not tried clumps.
Experiment and see what works for you.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Gary350
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Re: Have you ever transplanted onions in clumps?

As seeds grow into onions you pull some of the larger onions every few days to eat this makes room of the remaining onions to grow into larger onions. As you continue to eat more onions they grow larger and larger, in a few months you have several large full grown onions.

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digitS'
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Re: Have you ever transplanted onions in clumps?

I do both of the above, thin my seedlings for green onions and buy sets. However, I have not planted clumps of onions ... plant clumps of lettuce, cut and harvest 1, 2, 3, 4 ... then pull the clump of roots for the compost.

Difficulty Imagined: Onion seedlings are often tiny and any seedling that I can think of is fragile. Roots will regrow and after soaking (as VanIsle does) those roots can be trimmed. That leaves the above-ground part of ... um ... leaves, to be concerned with.

I plant onion seedlings just in loosened soil these days and disentangling them after the root-pruning isn't difficult. They can go in a row opened with a hoe, laying them out and refilling with soil. It works okay for me to set them between the index and middle fingers of a gloved hand. Then, I just "scratch" them into loose soil. They stand up to this treatment just fine and many, many can be planted in a fairly short time. Whatever the planting technique, trimming off all but an inch or so of the roots makes transplanting easier.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Have you ever transplanted onions in clumps?

Hah, so far nobody plumps for clumps in their onion patch. I guess this year I'll try some both ways and see what difference there is.

Remembering - thanks Steve - that trimming the roots makes planting singles much easier. I can't believe I'd forgotten that, last year. I guess it's my CRS syndrome.

What day is this anyway?
"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior." H. D.Thoreau. (Me too.)

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jal_ut
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Re: Have you ever transplanted onions in clumps?

"What day is this anyway?"

This is the first day of the rest of your life. Hang on and spur!

Go plant an onion.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
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Re: Have you ever transplanted onions in clumps?

I do plant bunching onion and chives in clumps. However, when I plant bulbing onions from seeds, I separate the seedlings and plant individual onions 3-4 inches apart. I accidentally lost a tag for the Texas granax and thought they were bunching onions and did not separate them. The onions only made very small bulbs about the size of shallots.

Transplanting onion seedlings is tedious and you will have to be careful to separate and preserve the roots. Watering them gently after they are transplanted is also key to avoid losing too many. I plant singly, but sometimes if the roots cannot be disentangled, I have to plant small clumps of two or three. I end up having to cull the extra seedlings if they cannot be separated later.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Gary350
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Re: Have you ever transplanted onions in clumps?

Vanisle_BC wrote:Hah, so far nobody plumps for clumps in their onion patch. I guess this year I'll try some both ways and see what difference there is.
When I plant seeds I accidentally get too many seeds too close together and get onions clumps. I have transplanted onions it works but it seems easier just to pull a few onions that are too close together and eat them. I have a package of 1000 seeds I planted about 500 seeds a few weeks ago that is a lot of onions in a small area. I could have planted seeds is a larger area then maybe not have clumps. Once you have onion plants nothing wrong with transplanting them with the spacing you like.

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