soil for good tasting onions?

gwynaMarch 6, 2009

I grew yellow sweet and red onions last year (sorry, no clue the variety, got sets at the local wally-world). I put them in raised beds amended with potting soil, peat moss, soil condtioner and conpost. My native soil in the back yard is a taupe/grey slimy clay. The onions grew happily, and I harvested in the same vein, but the eating was not fun!! They were both so strong, we ended up using very few, with my husband begging me to serve "store onions". I am willing to build raised beds on the top of my soil from scratch from anything I can find or buy (within economical reason), but can't find a good guide. What would y'all recommend?

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jennoz(Rochester NY)

I would recommend giving up on poorly labelled sets alltogether, since you never really know, perhaps those varieties were intented to be spicy storage onions, how would you ever know? Check out Dixondale farms, their onion plants are really reasonably priced and you know exactly what your getting, and for about 12 dollars you can get about 60 onion plants, which is plenty for most people I think. You can try from seeds if you know what your doing, that gives you the most control over your varieties but I so far have failed miserably last year and this year isnt looking too promising either so Im not sure I can recommend that route.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 10:13AM
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justine_butterbean

Have you checked to see if you were giving them enough water? Last year I grew onions from sets and they were gorgeous...until I tried to cook with them! They were so strong I could only make one cut in them before the sulfuric acid ran me out of the kitchen! Ample watering is supposed to help dilute the acids responsible for overly strong taste and smell.

I know this year I am going to faithfully water my onions. What good is a beautiful onion you can't eat? ;)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 12:09PM
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someguyinmaine

Good tasting onions are in the eye (or taste buds) of the beholder. I personally think that the stronger the onion, the better. If I start tearing up after the first cut into the onion, then I know it's a good one ;)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 4:05AM
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justine_butterbean

Someguy,

I'm all for flavorful onions, but when you can't finish cutting the onion because you can't see and your nose is running profusely...its a bit discouraging. I tried chilling the onions before hand, chewing gum, wearing glasses, etc. I think these onions just did not want to be eaten :)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:13AM
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hiites

Its the sulphur content in the soil that makes an onion strong. People in the know found that the naturally low sulphur content in soil in the vidalia region in Georgia is what makes their onions sweeter. My understanding is the more sulphur in the soil means more sulphur in the onion. The sulphur in the juice reacts with your tears to make sulphuric acid which burns your eyes. Im sure there are more knowledgable people here that can clarify this. That being said, I have found no way yet to reduce the sulphur content in my soil...yet

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 4:37PM
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yopper(3-4)

It could be the typ onion you are planting.A sweet onion such as candy will not make your eyes water. Storage onions are stronger and will bring tears to your eyes.Sets are usually storage onions and are strong. Try sweet onion plants. yopper

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:54AM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

someguy...oh yea...those are the best to fry with some peppers from your garden & some cajun spices, then throw on a bratwurst...mmmmmmmmmmm...

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 6:13PM
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amigatec(7a Oklahoma)

It's the Sulphur in the soil, by using raised beds you can control the sulphur content. It would be best to get a soil test done.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 10:12AM
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