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replanting onions

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replanting onions

Post  dstack on 8/18/2014, 3:10 pm

I'm a newbie at growing onions so I could use some guidance. I planted my Australian Brown onions from seeds last fall (Yes, it they took a very long time to grow as did most of my seedlings planted in my very first season of SFG... I'm making adjustments to the soil.)  

I'm assuming it's the end of the onion season around here (or growing cycle) as the tops of most of my onions have dried out. I'm not satisfied with the size of most of my onion bulbs as some didn't bulb up at all. Is this to be expected? 

Also, as I'm transitioning my three SFG boxes for the fall, and doing some crop rotation, can't I just replant those as if they're sets? If so, do I need to let them dry out before replanting?  We've had so much rain in the last month that I'm wondering if that triggered the loss of greens. A couple of the onions simply rotted.  I've seen the discussions on breaking or cutting the tops off for a larger bulb, but that's something I'll have to try in the next round. 
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Re: replanting onions

Post  yolos on 8/18/2014, 3:18 pm

Were these short day onions, long day onions or intermediate day onions?
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Re: replanting onions

Post  dstack on 8/18/2014, 3:54 pm

yolos wrote:Were these short day onions, long day onions or intermediate day onions?
According to Baker Creek, my favorite seed company, they're short day, and perfect for the South.
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Re: replanting onions

Post  plantoid on 8/18/2014, 6:28 pm

Onions grow well in warm dry conditions with plenty of sun to ripen them , lots of rain or cool weather usually give lots of greenery and no sensible bulbing up before they run to seed.
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Re: replanting onions

Post  sanderson on 8/18/2014, 8:02 pm

He lives!  Plantoid - missed you-   Very Happy
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Re: replanting onions

Post  dstack on 8/18/2014, 8:09 pm

sanderson wrote:He lives!  Plantoid - missed you-   Very Happy
+1 


This is the friendliest and smartest garden forum.  Very Happy
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replanting onions

Post  GloriaG on 8/18/2014, 11:30 pm

Hi dstack,

Maybe you already know but onions are a two-year crop.  

In the first year you plant seeds and they produce "sets".  You harvest the sets when you harvest regular onions in the summer.  The smallest sets are the best.  The next year you plant the sets and they produce nice large onions.

Like you, we plant short-day onions.
Hope this helps.
Gloria

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Re: replanting onions

Post  dstack on 8/19/2014, 5:34 am

GloriaG wrote:Hi dstack,

Maybe you already know but onions are a two-year crop.  

In the first year you plant seeds and they produce "sets".  You harvest the sets when you harvest regular onions in the summer.  The smallest sets are the best.  The next year you plant the sets and they produce nice large onions.

Like you, we plant short-day onions.
Hope this helps.
Gloria
Gloria, no this is the first I've heard that. So you let the sets dry out before replanting, right? Or can they just be replanted while there's still some green?
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Re: replanting onions

Post  yolos on 8/19/2014, 6:53 am

dstack wrote:
GloriaG wrote:Hi dstack,

Maybe you already know but onions are a two-year crop.  

In the first year you plant seeds and they produce "sets".  You harvest the sets when you harvest regular onions in the summer.  The smallest sets are the best.  The next year you plant the sets and they produce nice large onions.

Like you, we plant short-day onions.
Hope this helps.
Gloria
Gloria, no this is the first I've heard that. So you let the sets dry out before replanting, right? Or can they just be replanted while there's still some green?

This is the best source for information on onions that I have found. 
http://www.dixondalefarms.com/
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Re: replanting onions

Post  dstack on 8/19/2014, 9:12 am

yolos wrote:
This is the best source for information on onions that I have found. 
http://www.dixondalefarms.com/
Great site Yolos! When they say "lift" are they referring to harvest? Like I said, growing onions is a new thing for me. Smile
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Re: replanting onions

Post  yolos on 8/19/2014, 9:46 am

Sorry dstack, I know almost nothing about growing onions.  I have researched it and will try to get a decent crop this year.  From all my research, growing onions in my location will involve
1.  Planting seeds in Sept in flats
2.  Transplanting seeds to raised bed in December
3.  Fertilizing twice during growing.

That's the extent of my knowledge.  I have been researching variety and best method of growing (ie sets or transplants).  From everything I have read, transplants are the way to go for me (either grown from seeds by me or purchased transplants).  Also, varieties I will try this year are Texas 1015y and Granex 33.

Last year I got the largest onion ever - the size of a golf ball.  So hopefully, having researched I will get a bigger onion and decent crop of onions this coming year.

Maybe someone with some actual good growing experience will step in and help you.
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Keeping onion tops exposed

Post  Windmere on 8/19/2014, 11:09 am

A few houses down the street from me lives a master gardener who has been giving me great tips since I began gardening.  I want to begin growing onions, so I'm glad folks are talking about them here.  One tip that my neighbor gave me for large onions is to keep onion bulb tops exposed after after they begin to swell in spring.  He told me that after he began doing that, his onions dramatically increased in size.

Doubting Thomas that I am, I just checked some websites to see if I could find information to support this tip. 

I found this same advice listed in the following website (second to the last paragraph, third sentence):

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/onion/onion-info-tips-for-growing-big-onions.htm

Maybe that tip is common knowledge, but I thought I'd just mention it.
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Re: replanting onions

Post  camprn on 8/19/2014, 11:37 am

Dstack have you read the previous posts on the SFG Forum about onions?

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Re: replanting onions

Post  dstack on 8/19/2014, 11:49 am

Windmere wrote:A few houses down the street from me lives a master gardener who has been giving me great tips since I began gardening.  I want to begin growing onions, so I'm glad folks are talking about them here.  One tip that my neighbor gave me for large onions is to keep onion bulb tops exposed after after they begin to swell in spring.  He told me that after he began doing that, his onions dramatically increased in size.

Doubting Thomas that I am, I just checked some websites to see if I could find information to support this tip. 

I found this same advice listed in the following website (second to the last paragraph, third sentence):

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/onion/onion-info-tips-for-growing-big-onions.htm

Maybe that tip is common knowledge, but I thought I'd just mention it.
I have to try that! Thanks Windmere!
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Re: replanting onions

Post  dstack on 8/19/2014, 12:12 pm

camprn wrote:Dstack have you read the previous posts on the SFG Forum about onions?
Camprn, I recall reading a lot of discussion about breaking or cutting the tops, and I tried the cutting method, which some swear by. But I think my timing was off. Soon after, we had daily torrential rains and the greens rotted, but not sure if it was the cutting that was an issue because even most of the greens that I did not cut also died, or just died back.

So not sure if that was the same onion thread, and perhaps I didn't read far enough into it to have my questions answered. At this point, my question would be:  Should I pull all the onions and replant them as sets in the winter?
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Re: replanting onions

Post  yolos on 8/19/2014, 12:53 pm

Windmere - I heard that theory also about pulling the dirt back from the onion.  But this FAQ from Dixondale Farms disagrees.

Should I pull the dirt back from the onion when it starts to bulb?
The bulbing process is gradual, and there's no reason to pull dirt away as long as you keep the soil loose. In fact, pulling the dirt away can cause sunscalding (sunburn) of the onion skin. Remember that the bulbing process requires more moisture in any case; if you increase watering, the soil should remain loose.


Dstack - Sorry, but I guess no one has the answer to your question.  Does any one have the answer.
Should I pull all the onions and replant them as sets in the winter?
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replanting onions

Post  GloriaG on 8/19/2014, 1:44 pm

Hi destack,

No they don't have to completely dry out like you would do with a flower bulb.  If you think about the sets available from the garden stores they usually have a little bit of  green on top. 

But you do want to use the smallest ones.  I'm not sure why, but all of the advise I can find says the smaller bulbs make the biggest onions.  Which is also what we experience. 

I generally start them inside and let them dry just a little before I use them outside.  I spread them thickly in a shallow tray of MM.  You have to be careful however because onions are very light and temperature sensitive. You need to replicate outside conditions. I usually put my tray outside every chance I get.  When I do start them in the garden, I plant each square thickly because I'm not looking for size.  The bulbs shouldn't be more than 1/2" in diameter. Larger than that will encourage flowering not size.

I haven't found it necessary to remove MM from around the onions.  The MM is so soft the onions will push it out of the way all by themselves.  Although, I don't add MM to cover them, I do mulch, because a cold snap in spring will also cause them to flower. 

I water well until they're about ready to be pulled, then slow down on watering.  It helps them form that nice paper shell outside.  Once they're pulled, I let them completely dry in the shade outside before I store them. 

We like Grano 1015Y (1015 indicates the planting date of October 15) best.  They are large and sweet.  Granex is our second choice. 

Hope this helps,
Gloria


Last edited by GloriaG on 8/19/2014, 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: replanting onions

Post  Windmere on 8/19/2014, 1:46 pm

yolos wrote:Windmere - I heard that theory also about pulling the dirt back from the onion.  But this FAQ from Dixondale Farms disagrees.

Should I pull the dirt back from the onion when it starts to bulb?
The bulbing process is gradual, and there's no reason to pull dirt away as long as you keep the soil loose. In fact, pulling the dirt away can cause sunscalding (sunburn) of the onion skin. Remember that the bulbing process requires more moisture in any case; if you increase watering, the soil should remain loose.


Dstack - Sorry, but I guess no one has the answer to your question.  Does any one have the answer.
Should I pull all the onions and replant them as sets in the winter?
Yipes!  I am sorry all for the bogus info!
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