Onions wilting after planting

AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)March 13, 2013

Hello everyone.
The extension center in my area suggests planting out onion transplants as early as Mar 15, given that our weather is in the 60's I decided to plant 1/3 of my redwing hybrid 8 week old onion seedlings out into one of my beds. The bed was prepared with 2 inches of mixed in compost and granular fertilizer. I planted at the correct spacing then watered in. All of my little guys wilted and fell over. It was partially cloudy today and they were hardened off for two weeks before planting out. Will they perk up?
Please share your experiences.

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planatus(6)

They will probably perk up in a few days, but it might be good to cover them with a row cover tunnel to filter sun and block wind for a couple of weeks. Fair weather is not here to stay yet.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:07AM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

I keep looking for signs they are going to make it...a few are trying to perk up, for the most part they look very sad.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:31AM
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planatus(6)

If memory serves me correctly, this is how I learned an important lesson in patience. Nothing like losing plants to make you slow down. Until this week, there has not been enough light to support strong growth of skinny little onion seedlings around here.

My onion and shallot seedlings started in January are just starting to bulk up by growing stiffer, darker leaves. I like them to be really well rooted and growing vigorously before I set them out in early April.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:50AM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

Agreed. I still have other seedlings in pots that I will wait to get stronger before planting out.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:53AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I agree they should probably perk up, but i'm wondering why they wilted so much. I would guess you had trouble separating the plants, and tore some roots when transplanting?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:16AM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

Mark,
I think it was that and the fact that the day after I planted them our temps shot up 20 degrees, they hadn't been exposed to such intense heat from the sun. Now I'm scared to plant the others. LOL

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:18AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I wouldn't worry too much. I never even hesitate to transplant onions in hot weather as they seem to be about the most tolerant transplants I know of.

That little bulb at the base continues to feed the top, so even if they get mowed down or wilt, they usually grow out of it.

When you transplant next time, use water to rinse the soil from the roots and they'll separate easier. Then you can keep the plants in a cup of water (add some fish emulsion if you want) while you transplant. Irrigate deeply after, and you should have no problem next time.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:34AM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

Thanks for the tips!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:51AM
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AiliDeSpain(6a - Utah)

My onions are goners. There are only two out of 18 plants still alive. We had snow and a hard freeze over the weekend and the ones that were just barely hanging on bit the dust. Good think I have back ups! I learned a valuable lesson in patience :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:57AM
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