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When to start onion seed

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When to start onion seed

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/19/2013, 12:03 pm

I JUST got a hot tip, onion seed should be started when tulips and daffodils first show themselves.

There is no reason for me to feel so insecure about starting my own onion plants. I start all my other plants from seed, even artichokes, but I always buy onion plants. We cannot afford to buy the kind we want this year, so I am trying this! I have a packet or so from last year, my onions from Uprising Seeds will not be shipped until February.
Debs.....who will be starting a tray or two inside before moving them out to the new green house once they sprout

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  Lemonie on 1/19/2013, 2:23 pm

Thanks Deb! Hmmm....thinking I now have an excuse to get some daffodils. Laughing Curious though, as I'm still trying to understand onion growing, what's the difference in seed vs. set starting and maturity? If you start seeds indoors now, will you still be able to harvest good size onions mid-summer? I would love to try seeds for the cost-effectiveness of it, but it would be all new to me!
So far, I have some sort of success with both planting sets in early spring and harvest late fall into next spring and also started some in fall and harvested mid-summer. But have never attempted seeds....yet! study

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  quiltbea on 1/19/2013, 2:41 pm

The growing of onions baffles me as well. I buy onion sets in spring to plant and harvest in late fall. I'd love to start them from seed but how does that work? I'm in zone 5a so we have a long, cold winter.

Should I start seed in winter indoors under lights and then transplant the little onions in the garden in spring to grow to size in fall? Like I said, I'm baffled.
I couldn't even grow what is called 'green onions' from seed.
Help! I'm open to advice for the northeast.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  Lemonie on 1/19/2013, 2:49 pm

Ok, I guess I should add a bit of correction, my garden has started some onions seeds for me. I had a huge onion stalk that didn't produce much of a bulb before it went to seed, so I left it. Now I see little onions sprouting up in that square. So....what about the "winter sowing" of onion seeds? I'm all about starting any seeds outside to save me the hassle of indoor pampering as long as it's a good option. :scratch: Me thinks I have another experiment for this year....winter sowing onion seeds now vs. indoor starting now. Hmmmm.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/19/2013, 5:05 pm

I'm with you bea, this is the single vegetable that I have left to the "professionals." I've noticed that some of the onion plants I put in are mere threads. My plan is to sow fairly heavly in 4-inch pots with rich soil. I've been told to let them get leggy before snipping them back to the first joint to encourage thicker sprouts (this is all academic, I'm sure there will be a video to document the process). In mid to late spring they get planted (root trim)

I thought about winter sowing them Lemonie, but I want them to start earlier so I can fuss with them BUT I am VERY interested to find out how that works for you. I do my parsley, herbs and flowers this way, artichokes too. So I know it is a good way to grow veggies.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/19/2013, 5:16 pm

Are we talking about the round onions, like the yellow or red ones that you get in the grocery store? If so, I think Plantoid told me last summer to plant the seeds in sand in a protected spot, then maybe he said to bring in the little onions for the winter (unless I dreamed all this Embarassed ). If I planted them at the time I've totally forgotten about it, but I sure know where I thought to plant them. I'll check there tomorrow.

Quiltbea, I think I read the other day the the northeast's growing season is too short for planting onions outside from seeds and we could try starting them indoors 8-12 weeks before last frost, and put them in the garden 4 weeks before last frost. Worth a try.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  camprn on 1/19/2013, 5:20 pm

Deb, when do your daffodils poke up? That is a nice local garden tip! I wish it were so easy here. Where I live they pop up about the end of March. For our growing region with a last frost date of May 20, it is advised to sow onion seed the second week of February. I'm going to try onion seed AGAIN, just for grins. What a Face


Last edited by camprn on 1/19/2013, 5:51 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected poor spelling)

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/19/2013, 5:28 pm

They are up right now camp.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  camprn on 1/19/2013, 5:50 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote:They are up right now camp.
Nice! okay

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  littlejo on 1/19/2013, 5:52 pm

My daffadils are up and blooming!

I was told to start seed in the spring. In the fall, they would have that little bulb. Dry that bulb and plant it back in the spring, or just leave and grow over the winter. The seed take a long time to make a large bulb.
Jo

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/29/2013, 2:29 am

Great tip Debs!!

we planted walla walla seeds out side last fall to have starts for this spring....so far they did well and over winter....we did the same thing for leeks.....and some store bought green onions that we snip off the tops and planted the bottoms....so far doing well.....i will keep ya posted thru the gardening of 2013 on how well all of them do...

we are also starting some green onions, walla walla's and leeks indoors from seed in the next couple of days.....

we wanted to compare this time....i too would rather start them in the fall and have them over winter....

we decided we really love the green onions and leeks....they fed us thru the winter.....the bulb onions didnt over winter well so this year we are only going to plant walla walla's that we can eat by first frost....

we are just now pulling up the last green onions that were started in our smaller green house some time early summer of 2012 and transplanted out in to the ground in that july....they over wintered very well!!.....we want to do this again this year to have a large supply of green onions to over winter....

flower happy gardening
rose

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  plantoid on 1/29/2013, 6:56 am

Onions are a hot dry climate crop but can be encouraged to get confused and grow well in cooler damper climes .

Why not try growing your own sets?

Just before the heat of summer ( back end of May here in the UK ) on a north side of a wall /hedge a few feet from the base so it gets a couple of hours of sunshine each day in a well dug weed free bed area of about 2 sq ft sprinkle sow half a packet of your onion / shallot seeds willy nilly on a light sandy bed that has some very old used MM in it . Sprinkle 1/4 of peat or fine vermiculite over it water it and label it . Keep an eye on the moisture level but don't go giving it a daily bath just a light fine sprinkle for a few seconds every time it gets to be dry .

Dont use real good MM or fresh MM it will be too nutrient rich & cause the plants to bolt , within reason the poorer it is the better it will be . We want some solid slow growth not green greyhounds fed on a racing diet .

When the onions become 3/4 dia bulbs , gently ease them out the ground with out damaging bulbs or greenery , slip them on a wire or netting frame in the open sun to dry and die off .... do try to keep the rain off them .. my drying frame is under an overhang that lets sun in .

Once all the greenery has died and shrivelled gently twist it off and store you sets in a somewhat cool DRY airy place that gets plenty of reflected light .
I am guilty of using a leg of a pair of Alisons tights for this and hanging the sets in the back bed room by a big mirror Laughing Just don't fill the tights/netting so it looks like she's had a severe odema . Spreading them on newspaper on a tray is best of all .


Then come the early to mid autumn , you can put out your own grown onion sets for over wintering about three weeks before first frost . Some will bolt and you just pull those and use them asap. The rest should make it through winter & develop into bigger onions unless your'e in the freezer for 6 months of the year Laughing .
If you do have long intense winters hang back on your setting out till the ground has been frost free to a depth of about nine inches for at least a week . Usually around this time you will notice that the sets have started to produce 1/4 inch or so long green sprouts

The planting of sets from over wintering should crop about five weeks before direct sown seeds sown in the same . The later set plantings should give about three weeks cropping lead over seeds sown that year..... if your lucky ! Laughing
If you grow seeds indoors say start off in firtst week of in Feb and plant out the fingerling starts when they are about five inches tall once the ground is frost free ( after hardening off the plants outside ) They may reach a decent onion stage by end of season if it is not too wet or too hot do make sure you are extra gentle when planting out the fingerlings down a hole and do water them in well & not press any earth in the hole for the watering in will take enough soil down to anchor them and provide roots with oxygen exceedingly well.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  CindiLou on 1/29/2013, 10:57 am

I started doing potato onions!

After 3 yrs I don't have to buy any from the store! This is the second batch and I have 27 sqs that of course are a mix of onions and the sets for the next planting. So if all goes as planned I will have my full amount of onions I want to work with NEXT year! Can't wait to be able to eat my own lol..

I am aiming at a full 4x6 of onions/sets each year. This of course will mess up my currant rotation rofl Might need more beds Shocked

I start my other onions from sets. If I plant, usually I don't. We use a lot of dehydrated but not much fresh. I just don't have the patience to work with seed unless it is just for green onions. But I am the only one that eats those so not much use in wasting space on them.

I got a new dehydrator last weekend! I think I will dedicate my old one to the garlic and onion drying lol..I have been told it stinks and the smell lingers on the dehydrator. Better safe than sorry when I found a new one on clearance for $60.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/31/2013, 7:30 pm

Aww kewl CindiLou! I gotta get me some.
We have ignition.

Debs…..still waiting for this year’s seed to come but having fun with the old stuff.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/31/2013, 7:34 pm

Debs are those seedlings in your green house or inside?

Happy gardening
rose who hasnt sown any seeds yet Shocked

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/31/2013, 7:47 pm

Since it is January and the green house is unheated, I started those in the kitchen on a seedling heat mat. If the weather stays like it is (not likely the first two weeks of February) then I will take the flat out to the house for a while.

I am just guessing about what I should do, for some reason I've never grown an onion from seed.

Debs.... feeling all jiggly about 9 and a half hours of daylight in Everett.

Does this look a bit more like a kitchen window sprout?

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/31/2013, 8:16 pm

yep those look like window seedlings Razz

happy gardening
Rose who is jealous of Debs large windows :drunken:

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  NHGardener on 1/31/2013, 10:26 pm

So for onion seeds, you just use a tray of dirt instead of individual cups? How easy is it to transplant when they're all in one tray?

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/31/2013, 11:20 pm

NHGardner are you asking me? My seed is in 4" pots. I am looking to get as much growth as possible before putting the plants in the garden. I pulled a clip from a video I did last spring to give an idea of what I am trying for.

The plants will be pulled from the soil, given a root trim and a final "hair cut" before being planted in their final spot. These are leeks in the video clip but you can see that they are all different sizes, including a couple of thread like plants. They all did fine. I must emphasize, I've not grown onion plants before. I have been advised to let the plants get leggy and clip them down a couple of times before they are set free of the soil mix and set in the garden. This practice is supposed to thicken them up.


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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  camprn on 2/1/2013, 6:21 am

@NHGardener wrote:So for onion seeds, you just use a tray of dirt instead of individual cups? How easy is it to transplant when they're all in one tray?
I sow my onions and leeks in small plastic containers that mushrooms or tofu comes in. Seed starting mix not dirt... What a Face

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  NHGardener on 2/1/2013, 7:33 am

Debs, I have to admit, I had an optical illusion when I saw your photo, I thought those were large trays. Now that you mention they're 4", I don't know how I saw that.

So when you transplant onions, you don't just transplant dirt and all, you first pull the small onion plant out and replant it? (It looked in the clip like the leeks were pulled out individually.) I don't want to disturb the roots.

I see it's good for the seedlings to be trimmed back to 3", and you can do this repeatedly.

Every vegetable is so unique, there's a lot to learn! Some you plant in spring, some summer, some fall, some outdoors, some in, some need to be trimmed, others don't, different seeding times, different planting times, different bugs... aye yi yi. I should've taken this in college instead of the degree I never used. Laughing

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  JackieB999 on 2/1/2013, 11:52 am

Hi... should I top off my little onion seedlings then? I was actually just looking for that answer and found this thread. I grew them from seed in their main planter, but the stems are rather long and awkward. Would they benefit from a little hair cut?

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  NHGardener on 2/1/2013, 11:56 am

Jackie, from what I read, cut them back to 3", and you can do it more than once.

It fattens up the leaves, which is a very unscientific way of saying that, but that's my gist.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  camprn on 2/1/2013, 12:08 pm

@NHGardener wrote:Jackie, from what I read, cut them back to 3", and you can do it more than once.

It fattens up the leaves, which is a very unscientific way of saying that, but that's my gist.
So when you give the onion foliage a trim at the growing ends, it is like pruning back any other plant. If you prune, cut, pinch the terminal growing tip, this causes the plant to put out alternative growth. In the case of onions, it is leaves. In the case of basil, it puts our side shoots.
In the video below, the gardener is pinching back fuchsia.

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Re: When to start onion seed

Post  NHGardener on 2/1/2013, 1:07 pm

Are there other seedlings that need to be pinched besides onions?

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Re: When to start onion seed

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