Vegetables and Fruit forum: bulb onion just not making it here in MN..

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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jun 22, 2016 11:04 AM CST
I LOVE onion. I'm growing Egyptian walking onion which does really well here but I'd like to get some bulb onion. I bought some seeds to try and they are basically not growing at all. They sprouted OK, but have stayed little sprouts for weeks and week. Some of the sprouts died. They are getting full sun and it has been pretty hot here. I know the ones I bought were the wrong 'day' variety for here.. I think long day.. whichever variety I was NOT supposed to buy for MN. lol. But that should only matter in the 'bulbing' stage, right? They should at least be able to grow I suppose I could switch to growing from the little bulbs but I'd really like to see if I could get onions to grow such that I don't just have to keep buying the bulbs every year. (Seems to defeat the purpose of growing since instead of the bulb I could just buy the onion.)

Any advice on a good variety to try or why the sprouts are staying so small?

Thanks!
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
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farmerdill
Jun 22, 2016 11:58 AM CST
I have no idea But here are afew thoghts to consider. In general summer onions (long day types) take a 100 days or more from seeding to harvest. All onions require loose soil, plenty of water, and lots of N. But the planting bed Must be well drained, They do not tolerate wet feet. They do not tolerate crowding, Minimum spacing 3 inches for small onions 6 inches for large ones. Winter onions (short day) don't well as a summer onion. They bulb premature, resuting in very small bulbs. For future reference, onions plants can be bought locally or ordered fom Dixondale or Browns Omaha. Transplanting seedlings takes much of the guesswork out of direct seeding.
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jun 22, 2016 12:30 PM CST
Well, in MN, our summers are basically your winters. That said, my sprouts are about 2 inches tall and very thin... and they've looked like toothpicks for about 70 days at this point. So I don't think it is the day length for bulbing that is the issue here. Soil is def loose, very well draining (I live in sand but I've turned in plenty of compost. I still have to water often because everything just runs through the sand.)

I don't want to do seedlings. If I have to do that I'll just buy the onions. There's no point in spending the same $$ to buy a baby onion as a big onion would cost just to spend the extra time to let it grow bigger. I was really hoping there was a type of bulb onion that I could seed here in MN. The ones I have are red creole, short day ones. I'll have to try some long day ones and see if that goes better.

Thanks!
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
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farmerdill
Jun 22, 2016 1:21 PM CST
Agreed, You may want to try one of the sweet spanish types like Walla Walla, or Yellow Sweet Spanish. If you prefer a red Onion, Red Hawk, Red Wing, Red Burgandy or Red Zeppelin
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jun 22, 2016 1:25 PM CST
Thanks!
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
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Thomas75
Jun 22, 2016 2:00 PM CST
I agree with @farmerdill about the Sweet Spanish onions, boy they grow great and taste great.
Thomas75
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jun 25, 2016 4:31 PM CST
You probably should water every day as they need lots of water.

I have used seeds in the sandy clay area around St. Cloud and lack of water seems to be what determines how well they grow.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jun 27, 2016 6:51 PM CST
Hi Robyn -- onions do take a LONG time to develop from seed; I start seeds indoors in February and the plants still are pretty small when I put them out around mid to late May, but then they do start to take off pretty quickly. (We do need long-day onions here in the north; short-day onions are for southerners growing them during the "short days" of winter.)

I've had great luck with Candy (a neutral-day type), Copra, Patterson, Ruby Ring, Red Wing, and Southport Red Globe. Also with white sweet Spanish, but they don't keep well for me after harvesting so I've pretty much quit growing them.

Onion seeds don't store very well; although I've had some success with getting seeds from the previous year to germinate, I always start with fresh seeds each year. Of course, you can also buy "onion sets" to plant -- if you can still find them where you live (ours always seem to disappear by this time of year) you could still plant them now. Smiling
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Name: Eddie
Clemson,SC
EddieG
Aug 8, 2016 8:22 AM CST
Here in upstate South Carolina, I have trouble with onions I plant in the fall bolting. During the fall and winter period the onions are exposed to cycles of cold and warm that tricks them into bolting.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Aug 8, 2016 9:36 AM CST
jeg8344 said:Here in upstate South Carolina, I have trouble with onions I plant in the fall bolting. During the fall and winter period the onions are exposed to cycles of cold and warm that tricks them into bolting.


Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! welcome to the Veggie Forums!!
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
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farmerdill
Aug 8, 2016 12:20 PM CST
I don't have any major problem with bolting here in middle Georgia (Augusta) Some varieties do bolt a bit ( max 10%) but others rarely. If transplant are too large, they have a greater tendency. I starts seeds around Labor day, transplant in mid December,harvest in May. This years varieties were Numex Radience and Phoenix

Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Aug 8, 2016 2:42 PM CST
farmerdill said:I don't have any major problem with bolting here in middle Georgia (Augusta) Some varieties do bolt a bit ( max 10%) but others rarely. If transplant are too large, they have a greater tendency. I starts seeds around Labor day, transplant in mid December,harvest in May. This years varieties were Numex Radience and Phoenix



Beautiful onions!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 22, 2016 3:00 PM CST
OK ! My 2cents worth ! Thoughs onion sets.size of u finger. are only good to grow green onions.expensive wons! $$$
Farmerdill thumbs ☝!!! BUTT !!! For your short grow season . get some seeds in the ggound right now !!!!! It probably should have been the beging of Aug.? Plant em fairly thick. Transplant em when about the size of pencils. jan. Feb.when you can.
Hear early sweets start coming in mid may. all the others are out by end of june.
Plant your sets 6 to 8 inches apart for large onions. Further if want to grow extra large or a 🏆 winner. 🐶WOOF !!!
😎😎😎
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Aug 22, 2016 7:18 PM CST
Philipwonel said:OK ! My 2cents worth ! Thoughs onion sets.size of u finger. are only good to grow green onions.expensive wons! $$$
Farmerdill thumbs ☝!!! BUTT !!! For your short grow season . get some seeds in the ggound right now !!!!! It probably should have been the beging of Aug.? Plant em fairly thick. Transplant em when about the size of pencils. jan. Feb.when you can.
Hear early sweets start coming in mid may. all the others are out by end of june.
Plant your sets 6 to 8 inches apart for large onions. Further if want to grow extra large or a 🏆 winner. 🐶WOOF !!!
😎😎😎


Jan /Feb is frozen here. .. not sure I understand. .
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Aug 22, 2016 7:58 PM CST
Robyn, my onions this year, for the first time in a long time are large.
The fact they were watered at least for thirty minutes every other day is the only thing I did that was different from past years.

I kept them weeded and did not plant them as close together as I used to which probably helped also.

When I have used onion seed I would get some small keepers but they are always going to be behind sets or plants.
One thing you could try to get some answers, buy a couple of bags of cheap garden soil next year and make a small, no bigger in size than a single bag, bed with that soil about six to twelve inches deep.
Put six onion sets, plants or seeds in that area.
If that bed out does your regular garden soil, you will know it is partly the soil.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Aug 22, 2016 8:22 PM CST
robynanne said:

Jan /Feb is frozen here. .. not sure I understand. .


I didn't quite understand Philip's post either...

I do agree with RpR, though; and one other thing that I noticed this year (although it could have been weather related) was that the sets that I planted earlier than the others (the earliest ones went in on May 3rd, the rest were planted May 22nd) grew larger than the later ones, even though they were all from the same batch of sets. I also left more room in between them than I normally do; it can be hard to make yourself do that, and the same thing can be accomplished by planting closer and then harvesting some for scallions to make room for the larger bulb onions. At any rate, I'm going to try to get all of my onions in by May 1st (weather permitting) next year. (Which means that I'll probably have to start seeds in January...)

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