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onion question

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onion question

Post  has55 on 4/22/2014, 1:46 pm

I planted slip onion this fall hope for bulbs this spring. I see some of my onion have develop a nodule on a top stem. Can someone tell me what's going on? I learning how to grow them. Is there something else I should have done to get bulbs?


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Re: onion question

Post  southern gardener on 4/22/2014, 1:51 pm

hass, they look like seed "pods" I think they're called. Your onions are making seeds. Do you know if you planted long/short day onions, and what "zone" you're in? I just found out I planted the WRONG onions back in November!! They were labeled incorrectly!! We are in a "short day" area, and the onions were long day, so we aren't getting bulbs Sad

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Re: onion question

Post  jmsieglaff on 4/22/2014, 2:07 pm

Those are seed stalks.  Cut those seed stalks off as far down on the stem as you can.  In my experience any onion that goes to seed will not keep very well--so be sure to use those first.  Are your onions bulbing?  I have occasional plants that go to seed, but for me, by then they are usually bulbed a decent amount.  If not, someone else might be able to comment on if they will bulb up or not.

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onion question

Post  GloriaG on 4/22/2014, 3:16 pm

Hi Austin,

My onions are also going to seed.  I planted mostly my own sets from last years seed.  They are definitely a short-day variety suitable for our area.  

I know that onions are a two-year crop.  They need the cold-hot-cold-hot changes to bulb up.   And I've begun to wonder if it's our crazy weather this winter.   We had shorts weather for several weeks in February.... then we went back down below freezing and had a record-breaking freeze on April 14.  Now we're in the 80's again.
Maybe the onions were confused by the drastic temperature shifts. 

I've cut all the seed stalks off but, I'm also not sure the onions that have gone to seed will save.  I'm going to dry them very well and try.

Gloria

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Re: onion question

Post  has55 on 4/22/2014, 5:53 pm

hi gloria, thank you for the reply. Yes the weather has been a roller coaster ride. I have not cut the seed tops off yet as you can see from the picture, but was thinking about it. So are you saying they may continued to try enlarging into a large bulb if I just cut the seed stalk off or I need to pull those plants out?
Austin

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onion question

Post  GloriaG on 4/22/2014, 11:52 pm

Austin,

I would start by cutting the seed head off. 
If you need onions at home, use those first, but otherwise just let them fill out.

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Re: onion question

Post  has55 on 4/23/2014, 12:32 am

thank you

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Re: onion question

Post  FamilyGardening on 4/23/2014, 1:20 am

please keep us posted on how your onions turn out after you cut off the seed part....as we too get this problem, and didn't know that cutting off the seed part would help them to bulb up  Very Happy by sharing this is how we all learn  study  so thank you so much for the question and picture!

happy gardening
rose

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Re: onion question

Post  camprn on 4/23/2014, 6:41 am

FYI, Onions, like many alliums, are  biennial so when choosing onion starts (mini bulbs) choose the small ones to plant. These will be less likely to go to bloom. Harvest the ones that have put up the flower spike as from here on out the will get soft. They are not good candidates for storage.

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Re: onion question

Post  has55 on 4/23/2014, 9:48 am

camprn. do I need to harvest all of them at once or as we need them? 
how long do does it take for them to get soft?
 Do I leave the seed head on and allow it to bloom? 
Or will it cause the others to start blooming?
Last question-could you clarify the word  "biennial" as it pertains to the onion family.

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Re: onion question

Post  camprn on 4/23/2014, 10:04 am

@has55 wrote:camprn. do I need to harvest all of them at once or as we need them? 
how long do does it take for them to get soft?
 Do I leave the seed head on and allow it to bloom? 
Or will it cause the others to start blooming?
Last question-could you clarify the word  "biennial" as it pertains to the onion family.
I would clip all the buds and leave the stalks so you can tell which ones need to come out first. Just because one in the bed is budding doesn't mean they all will. Budding is not the result of a contagion.
Biennial <~~~ click for more info.

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Re: onion question

Post  yolos on 4/23/2014, 12:20 pm

Taken from the University of Clemson fact sheet on growing onion, leek, shallot & garlic. = "Bolting: Onions will bolt (produce a flower stalk) if exposed to a prolonged cold period following a favorable growing period. This results in small bulbs with large necks which are hard to cure and generally unusable.  The larger the plants are at the time of exposure to the cold period the higher the rate of bolting."

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Re: onion question

Post  yolos on 4/23/2014, 10:31 pm

Here is another excellent site.  Dixondale Farms.  A great explanation of long and short day onions and why they work in different geographic areas.  On the home page there is a video describing the difference.  Other videos about fertilizing, growing degree days, what makes a bulb bigger.

http://www.dixondalefarms.com/

The plants may bolt if you have warm growing weather and then extended cold period.  The onion thinks it is cooling off and seasons are changing.

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Re: onion question

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/24/2014, 2:05 am

I like that site, and should visit it more often to keep its recommendations in mind.

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Re: onion question

Post  jmsieglaff on 4/24/2014, 10:54 am

@yolos wrote:
The plants may bolt if you have warm growing weather and then extended cold period.  The onion thinks it is cooling off and seasons are changing.
This has me thinking.  In the past I've purchased onion plants from a local garden center--which were purchased in bulk from Dixondale.  Sometimes, some of the onions go to seed.  Since these onions were grown in Texas (warm), then by me planting them fairly early in Wisconsin, they were exposed to cold days and nights in April, then things warmed up (warm again) and then eventually some went to seed. 

This year I started my own onions from seed, it will be interesting to see if any of them go to seed or not.

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onion question

Post  GloriaG on 4/24/2014, 11:23 am

yolos, that undoubtedly explains our problem.

Here in Texas, we plant onions October through January to take advantage of the cold weather.  By February when we had unseasonably warm weather (near 80), the bulbs were already fairly large. Then we had a stretch of weather that yoyo'd between 14 degrees and the high 60's.

Thanks for the information.
Gloria

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Re: onion question

Post  manda99 on 4/24/2014, 1:31 pm

I had this problem last year when we had a cold snap in late spring. I cut the stalks off all of them as soon as I saw them, but left the onions growing in the ground. The onions were fine as long as used quickly after harvest - they didn't keep well. The stalk left a very thick green neck/core to the onion that basically rotted instead of drying out.

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Re: onion question

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/24/2014, 3:06 pm

@manda99 wrote:I had this problem last year when we had a cold snap in late spring. I cut the stalks off all of them as soon as I saw them, but left the onions growing in the ground. The onions were fine as long as used quickly after harvest - they didn't keep well. The stalk left a very thick green neck/core to the onion that basically rotted instead of drying out.

Uh oh. That looks what we're having now. (supposed to be 35 degrees tonight) You folks are making me nervous! I've got two long beds full of onions.

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Re: onion question

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/24/2014, 3:31 pm

I will be vigilant to watch over my purple onions.  I just checked and no blossom stems, but my green onions (started from the roots of store bought spring onions) all had them.  

Perhaps that's why they've turned out more like leeks in the past?  Maybe they are in the leek family?  Does anyone know?  I use them in salsa a lot, they seem to work well for that with their mild onion flavor.

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Re: onion question

Post  yolos on 4/24/2014, 6:15 pm

Onions, leeks and garlic are all in the same family,

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Re: onion question

Post  camprn on 4/24/2014, 6:35 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I will be vigilant to watch over my purple onions.  I just checked and no blossom stems, but my green onions (started from the roots of store bought spring onions) all had them.  

Perhaps that's why they've turned out more like leeks in the past?  Maybe they are in the leek family?  Does anyone know?  I use them in salsa a lot, they seem to work well for that with their mild onion flavor.
Leeks and onions are alliums. The lack of bulbing in your purple onions could be for other reasons such as low N or daylight length. Purple onions are not leeks.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/onions/oniongro.html

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Re: onion question

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/24/2014, 6:45 pm

@camprn wrote:
@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I will be vigilant to watch over my purple onions.  I just checked and no blossom stems, but my green onions (started from the roots of store bought spring onions) all had them.  

Perhaps that's why they've turned out more like leeks in the past?  Maybe they are in the leek family?  Does anyone know?  I use them in salsa a lot, they seem to work well for that with their mild onion flavor.
Leeks and onions are alliums. The lack of bulbing in your purple onions could be for other reasons such as low N or daylight length. Purple onions are not leeks.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/onions/oniongro.html
I guess I didn't make it clear  Smile   I was talking about the green onions (bought at a supermarket, tops used and the base replanted) that didn't bulb.  They ended up like monster green onions - about 1 1/2" to 2" diameter.  That's why I thought perhaps they might be more like leeks.  I haven't researched on them, just musing.  

My purple onions are only a couple months old and I don't expect bulbing just yet.  They're actually doing really well - I was just mentioning that I will watch for flowering and remove them when they do.

P.S. Thanks for the article, it's very informative!

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Re: onion question

Post  camprn on 4/24/2014, 7:58 pm

I love leeks! They are so much mellower than onions and have a different quality of umami. It's hard to explain. I wait ALL YEAR for fresh, luscious leeks to be pulled from the garden.  drooling 

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Re: onion question

Post  jimmy cee on 4/24/2014, 10:08 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:
@manda99 wrote:I had this problem last year when we had a cold snap in late spring. I cut the stalks off all of them as soon as I saw them, but left the onions growing in the ground. The onions were fine as long as used quickly after harvest - they didn't keep well. The stalk left a very thick green neck/core to the onion that basically rotted instead of drying out.

Uh oh.  That looks what we're having now.  (supposed to be 35 degrees tonight)  You folks are making me nervous!  I've got two long beds full of onions.
I planted 4 different types of onions before our last cold snap, and cold it was, no not cold, freezing, not a frost but freezing.
My thermometer (mercury) read 22 degrees, all onions came through fine.
They perked up and are doing very nicely now...no I did not cover them either..

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Re: onion question

Post  jmsieglaff on 4/25/2014, 11:04 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:I planted 4 different types of onions before our last cold snap, and cold it was, no not cold, freezing, not a frost but freezing.
My thermometer (mercury) read 22 degrees, all onions came through fine.
They perked up and are doing very nicely now...no I did not cover them either..
Jimmy, good news on your onions.  They are resilent creatures aren't they?   I had 19F last week followed by 24F the next night.  They had row covers on, had some damage to the leaves, but all survived and have since all sprouted new leaves.

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