TheOnionShed
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Onions!

We are planting onions here in Texas, but I was wondering when other parts of the country usually plant onions. Is there any flexibility on the dates? I know we plant onions here from late December to the beginning of Feb. Just curious! Thanks!

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jal_ut
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I plant onions the first part of April.
Nortrhern Utah 5000 ft elevation.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

garden5
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Up here, we set out onion sets about the beginning of April (some do it in the end of March). However, this year I plan on starting the seed indoors the beginning of February to be set out in April. I read where one other person in my region did it this way with good results, so I thought I would give it a try.

We will see what happens :D.

Gerrie
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I'm curious about what kind of success others have had with onions. I did yellow onion sets last spring, purchased at discount at end of their seaon, had great success, decided to try seeds and as far as I can tell, only a few came up in the fall, then a freeze heaved them out of the ground and that was the end of any I could see. But what happened to the rest of the seeds? Why did only a few germinate? I put them in the ground directly in Sept. thinking they would overwinter, do they need to be planted inside first? Also what is everyones experience with growing from plants or sets versus seeds?
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gixxerific
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jal_ut wrote:I plant onions the first part of April.
Nortrhern Utah 5000 ft elevation.
Is that seed, sets or plants? Indoors or outdoors?

From what I gather from my local Ext I was planning on starting seeds indoors the first of Feb. Though I have never had good luck with onions.

tedln
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Hey onionshed,

I planted my plants (400) on Friday of last week. Since I live near Gainesville in North Texas, that is almost like a small state away from East Texas. I planted the Granex sweet onion since my supplier didn't have the white 1015 plants in stock yet. What variety did you plant? Do you happen to know what variety they plant in Noonday to get the sweet Noonday onions?

Dono,

Last year was the first time I had success growing onions. I had given up on onions years ago, but decided to try again. I think I was successful last year because I planted in a loose soil with lots of organic material. I planted early (March). I have since learned that it is hard to plant to early. I planted plants suitable for my area (long day). I planted at least 60 days earlier this year than last year and they should produce larger bulbs by mid to late May.

Ted
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gixxerific
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Ted sorry to double up but is that by seed or what. I have seed but no sets or plants. I could buy plants I have never planted anything but sets and that may have been my problem.

I hope I'm not taking this off topic too far. 8)

garden5
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gixxerific wrote:Ted sorry to double up but is that by seed or what. I have seed but no sets or plants. I could buy plants I have never planted anything but sets and that may have been my problem.

I hope I'm not taking this off topic too far. 8)
I feel your pain, Gix.

I've tried for two years to have some good onions and have yet to getanything bigger than a golf ball. Both times I planted starts. I think that my main problem is that I planted them too deep the first year (good for green onions, bad for storage onions) and planted the wrong day-length variety last year. This year, I'm starting from seed!

I've researched a lot on growing onions, there's plenty of information on the web, although some of it contradictory when it comes to planting time and method. I can tell you, though, that onions are heavy feeders and like a lot of nitrogen in the beginning, but phosphorous after that. Their soil should be rich, but well draining. They don't compete well with weeds, so make sure you keep the weeds down. Be careful while cultivating so you do not bruise the bulbs. Plant them only .5 to 1 in deep and 4 in, apart at the closest if you want the big bulbs. You can plant them closer to begin with and thin them for green onions as they get larger.

Now, then, as far as when to plant goes...it depends where you are. Now, I don't know how the south does it (I think they plant them in the winter months), but here in the north you plant the sets (long-day only) about two or three weeks before your last frost. For me (and my zone is like yours) late March to mid-April.

Seeds, now those are another story, and a bit of a mystery story at that. Some say you can plant the seeds in the ground if February, others say to plant them the same time you plant the sets. Now, I don't have any proof to back this up, but I think that if you plant your onion seed the same time you plant the sets, those seeds are not going to grow into the big onion bulbs that I'm looking for. Of, course, I could be totally wrong on this since I have yet to try it.

One interesting thing I cam across is a person in our zone who grew onions from seed and kept a sort of a journal on it. These onions were stared indoors in the beginning of January and I believe that the person said that she would have started them the first of February (it looks like you're right on schedule :o) since the beginning of January was found to be a little too early. Long story short (well, a little late for that :oops:) the onions grew well and to a good size.

I will be going by this person's experience for my seed starting this year.



I hope these help you out Gix, and anyone else who's had any onion trouble.

Good luck with your onions!
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gixxerific
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Garden5 I have been investigating onions (again) tonight myself. I was just on another forum with basically the same discussion here. It's hard to find good info. I just told the other forum if you ask 10 people how to grow onions you will get 11 different answers. :lol: So true.

I am going to plant some seed tomorrow (inside). I was going to do it on Feb 1 but I will be off due to freezing temps so........

I just saw a sight that suggested planting seed in October but I believe that was for outside planting not sure if that makes a diff. I have been trying for a LONG time and usually they are small. :(

crobi13
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We are planting onions here in Texas, but I was wondering when other parts of the country usually plant onions. Is there any flexibility on the dates? I know we plant onions here from late December to the beginning of Feb. Just curious! Thanks!
I did not want my garden space to "go to waste" during the winter months so I planted some onion sets in the fall to over winter them. I have no idea how they will do since the ground does freeze up here. My garden soil only froze for a few weeks and is soft again thanks to a warm up the past week or so.
Also, just so that I'm not dissapointed if I end up with no onions, I planted a few in containers & am keeping them under a grow light in my basement :lol:
So I guess my opinion is that yes, there is flexibility on planting dates.

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jal_ut
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gixxerific wrote:
jal_ut wrote:I plant onions the first part of April.
Nortrhern Utah 5000 ft elevation.
Is that seed, sets or plants? Indoors or outdoors?

From what I gather from my local Ext I was planning on starting seeds indoors the first of Feb. Though I have never had good luck with onions.
Outdoors. Whether seed, sets, or plants, same planting time. Early April weather permitting. I have never tried to start them inside.

Pay attention to the long/short day thing for your location, and plant early in the spring. Fertile soil, ample water and weed them. You should do well.

You will get larger onions from sets or plants than from seed (given they were all planted the same day directly in the garden.). I see no reason you couldn't start your own plants indoors. Give it a try.

I grow onions from seed mostly for the green onions. Plant sets or plants for storage onions.

If planting sets or plants give them 4 to 6 inches space so they have room to grow a bulb.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

tedln
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Dono,

I bought a couple more bundles of Texas Super Sweet onion plants at Home Depot today. I will plant them tomorrow. Each bundle claims to contain 60 onion plants in a three inch bundle.

The bundles are labeled to have been grown by Bonnie nurseries in Alabama. Since Bonnie Nurseries is such a large operation, I believe they probably grow the onion plants from seed inside a green house. I think they must plant the seed similar to the way you or I would plant a new grass lawn. The young onions probably look like a field of grass as they are growing because they are growing very, very thick. When they harvest them, it must be similar to the manner turf grass is harvested with a machine which slices through the roots about 1/4 inch below the soil lever. The mats of onions are then sub divided into the smaller bundles.

I see no reason you can't do the same thing and grow onions from seed indoors in late fall or early winter for late winter or early spring planting. They would probably do fine if planted thick with the intent of sub dividing the mat of plants when you harvest them for planting outside.

Just a thought.

Ted
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gixxerific
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Ted that is exactly what I'm attempting to do. Except in the spring, maybe I'm too late we shall see, I have a few sprouts so far.

My Lowe's didn't have any I will check there again and HD as well for more. Always on the look out for more opportunity's. Thanks for the heads up.

tedln
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Dono,

I don't know about the HD's in your area, but the stores in my area have had a good selection of onion plants for a couple of weeks. They probably have ten varieties. I planted the Sweet White Granex and the Texas Super Sweet which is a yellow onion. Both make large bulbs and store well. My neighbors and friends don't know it yet, but they will be eating a lot of onions this summer. I think I planted close to six hundred. I only intended to plant 400, but once I got started; it was hard to stop. Guess I will have to dig out that recipe for French onion soup.

I am really enjoying getting started in my garden. This was the first day of sunshine we have had in about a week. Supposed to start raining again tomorrow. I'm going to try to get some carrots planted before the rain starts. It is still seven weeks before I can safely put tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers in the ground. I will plant my bean, squash, and cucumber seed the last week in March.

I still have a couple of hoop tunnels to build over my squash beds, but no rush on that. It will still be awhile before the squash is up and needing protection from the vine borers.

Ted
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To Grow Plants
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We are located in Wisconsin and our spring planting times start
anywhere from end of April to the end of May , Onions usually somewhere in
between

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applestar
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OK, I've also been doing a bit of research into starting onions from seed indoors ahead of time. It seems the big difference is that in the southern areas, you don't get the long daylight hours that we get in the north during early summer (I guess this makes sense when you remember that in Alaska, sun's still up pretty high in the sky at 11PM). My source (which I can't find at the moment so this is from memory) said 12 hrs day/12 hrs night in the south. The long day onions which we're supposed to plant won't start bulbing until after daylight hours are longer than 14, but short day onions will start bulbing when daylight hours are around 12 when they're still much too young, and then finish growing alltogther, which is WAY too early for us.

What all this means is that when you're growing those long day onions from seed, you need to keep your lights on 12/12 schedule, UNLIKE the way you want to keep them at 16/8 or so for toms and peppers or even lettuce and crucifer starts which you (or at least I) would be starting in another week or so and growing at the same time as the onions (or some flower transplants too). In other words, you need to grow your onion seedlings isolated and under their own light schedule.... I'm definitely using one of my 10" clamp on lights with a CFL. If the area gets daylight, don't forget to synchronize your timer with the sun.

I'm thinking I've finally formulated my onion plans, so I'll most likely start those seeds tomorrow. :D
Last edited by applestar on Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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gixxerific
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If you dig deeper you will find some believe it's not that they need say 12 hours of light but more like 12 hours of darkness.

garden5
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OH, MAN!

I've been growing mine in front of window light :shock:! Maybe this is why they don't seem to all grow straight ant tall. I won't have any room at all under the lights, so this will just have to do. I hope they turn out alright :?.
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rusticbeds
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Best onion production for me is to plant plants in mini-hills or ridges. Last year, we had many extra inches of rainfall, and the onions were in their hills and some in raised beds with hills. Four bunches of plants from Dixondale Farms (no connection), resulted in more than 6 five gallon buckets of prize bulbs...after the tops were trimmed. I probably 'robbed' the beds of another bucket or two before the major harvest. We are heavy users of onions and garlic.

Have raised onions from seed in the past, but this requires a longer time commitment than I can manage. Last year, I raised some overwintering bunching onions and am looking forward to having them soon. This fall, I will keep some of them under a low tunnel for winter munching.

All alliums need huge amounts of nutrients for outstanding results IMO. Weeds must be removed...often. I plant 3 rows in 3' beds with 10-12" between rows. Usually spray with fish/seaweed emulsion. Cultivation is all by hand with an 'onion' hoe. Do not cover the bulb while shallowly loosening the soil.

I also plant a pound or two of sets around other veggies and flowers for artistic and tasty contrast.

If you are looking for varieties to store to eat in Dec, be sure to study the many options in seeds or plants. Storage onions are usually stronger flavored than the Vidalia types. Vidalia types do not store as long...so many decisions!

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