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Onion Question

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Onion Question

Post  WolfHeart on 4/26/2012, 6:04 pm



So I found this on my Onions today, not all of them but most. My questions are:

1) What is it?
2) Should I leave it?
3) Should I have a dance party because I have it?

thanks
John
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Re: Onion Question

Post  laufenberga on 4/26/2012, 6:15 pm

That thing on the top of the green? I think that is a seed pack of the onion but I'm not sure.
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Re: Onion Question

Post  plantoid on 4/26/2012, 6:29 pm

It is the start of a flower of an onion that is running to seed , it will become about 2 inches across , ball shaped & be full of tiny white flowers . If you keep it till the flowers start to die off & change to a brownish colour with a slightly solid lump in the middle of each flower ( this is the seed not qiote ready for harvesting ) .

Carefully cover it in a " ladies pop sock " or a small thin brown paper bag for four weeks after the fertilization you can cut the head off and hang it in the sock /bag somewhere dry to dry the seeds for anothr couple of weeks then store them in an air tight container and see if they grow into onions next year . The seeds wil be black by this stage.

Here in the UK we would use such seeds at the end of May and sow them thinly on a mix of 50 /50 % compost and sand in a seed tray about 3 inches deep , then sprinkle 1/4 inch of sand over them , water them and place the tray at a north facing wall or thick hedge so it is shaded , don't let it dry out but don't keep it sopping wet .

The seeds will form small bulbs and when they get to about 1/2 inch across take them out the sand . Now lay them on some wire screen etc in full sun for about a week to dry the bulbs for storage.

srtore in a cool dry frost free place till you start your onion set plantings.

It may be helpful to stratify the sets by placing then in a fridge at 3 to 5 oC for a week to a fortnight before planting them out.( this is just a theory I have ,after discovering a few days ago that garlic works well after being in the fridge for the same time period at the same temperature )



If you don't want to play at the seed collecting etc ..just pull the onion up after giving it a good water and use it for cooking as it will not store .
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Re: Onion Question

Post  WolfHeart on 4/26/2012, 6:53 pm

@plantoid wrote: ..just pull the onion up after giving it a good water and use it for cooking as it will not store .

Plantoid, are you saying that the onion is done?!? they have only been in the ground since March 2. It seems odd that it is setting seed so early....we certainly haven't had super warm weather to account for it to be this far along.

Time to research more about onions.
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Re: Onion Question

Post  plantoid on 4/26/2012, 7:05 pm

@WolfHeart wrote:
@plantoid wrote: ..just pull the onion up after giving it a good water and use it for cooking as it will not store .

Plantoid, are you saying that the onion is done?!? they have only been in the ground since March 2. It seems odd that it is setting seed so early....we certainly haven't had super warm weather to account for it to be this far along.

Time to research more about onions.

it is referred to as bolting . often caused by a shock to the plant once it has got growing but some onions are prone to bolting regardless.

Most onion sets are " heat treated " to kill off / delay the development of the growth kernel in the set inthe hope that the set will develop into a decent sized bulb before it flowers .

Over wintering oinions ( Japanese onions ) are always heat treated nowadays to prevent the flowering as most would break into flowers a few weeks after the weather warmed up to about 10 oC 50 oF once the winter had passed .
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Re: Onion Question

Post  WolfHeart on 4/26/2012, 7:40 pm

Thanks for the info Plantoid.....I will have to feel around and see if there was any bulb development.....so would cutting the flower before it sets force the bulb to develop more?
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Re: Onion Question

Post  plantoid on 4/26/2012, 8:03 pm

They tend to grow long and soft rather than forming a decent bulb if you cut the flower stem off .

For the plant has already entered the cycle of death .

ie

As such the bulb of the onion is the energy store that feeds the leaves and the flower / seed production.

Once the flower has been fertilized it has used up a lot of energy doing just that , it will have also undergone all sorts of irreversible biological changes during the production of the flower that stop it developing into a big solid onion bulb as there is no longer a need to do it.
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