Onion questions

bakerhardwoods(5b)June 7, 2012

I've gardened for many years, but never have had onions started from seed with such thick necks and large plants as this year. Some are from generic sets but others I started from seed (varieties Milestone and Norstar, mainly Milestone). I haven't started onions from seed for a number of years, so I don't remember the varieties I used to plant that had small necks. I usually buy seed from Stokes. Perhaps the situation is due to the very early start to the season (I transplanted onions into the garden about March 10). Any thoughts?

Secondly, I started some Evergreen White Nebuka onions thinking they were the overwintering type, but I think they are just bunching onions. Can anyone point me in the direction of the overwintering onions?

Cheers, Tim

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Evergreen is a perennial onion (a multiplier type) so should suit your purposes. There are a dozen or so varieties of Allium fistulosum available.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 7:58AM
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Are Egyptian Walking Onions a variety of Allium fistulosum? I ordered some on ebay.

I guess I'm not clear with what objective I have for these in my garden. Onion prices got high last year and I do not currently have great storage, so perhaps I was hoping for something to harvest other than on the usual onion cycle in my zone.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 9:30AM
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No , Walking onions are Allium x proliferum. If you want regular onions (Allium cepa) these are not suitable. In either case they are best used as green onions, altho the bulblets from a topsetting onion will keep for a good period of time. Not any bigger than pearl onions tho.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Last year I direct-seeded a new-to-me onion from the Territorial winter catalog called Longkeeper, rated at 240 days. The seedlings were quite hardy, though I'd keep them under a tunnel next time to reduce soil heaving. Anyway, they bulbed up three weeks ago and we've been eating them fresh since they're the best onion we have right now. Our other onions have at least a month to go. We're at a transitional latitude (37dg), so I don't know how they might do elsewhere.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 8:47AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Generally the neck size is a good indicator of the size the onion will get once it bulbs. So I'd think you should have some nice sized onions.
As far as overwintering onions go there are many varieties available, mostly Japanese varieties. The ones that i'm about to harvest this week are Topkeeper, Desert sunrise (red), Highkeeper, T-420 and Bridger. You can find seeds from Osborne seeds, Johnnys, Territorial and some much larger companies like Logan Zenner and Bejo.
Keep in mind that overwintering onions won't grow without protection in areas that freeze hard on a regular basis. Here winter temps rarely drop below 15F.
good luck!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 1:07AM
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Thanks for the list, mad. The one I grew was Topkeeper, not Longkeeper. I wanted to try some similar varieties this fall and didn't know which varieties to look for.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 7:51AM
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I'm not too sure if an onion like Topkeeper would succeed in zone 5. It will be fun if the onion bulbs turn out in proportion to to the size of the plants this year.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 11:17AM
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How do you start your onions from seed? I have tried the last two years and have had colossal failures both years and ended up ordering plants.

Normally we start tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and others and end up with some nice plants to set out, but the onions died out after sprouting both years. Something is obviously wrong. I'd like to correct so that we can grow onion varieties we want rather than just what is available as plants.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Wolverine, Onions aren't all that much different than the other things you start successfully. Keep experimenting, you will find what works for you. They grow slowly so it is a good idea to start them at least a month ahead of other things. I suspect that they need less bottom heat to germinate, but that doesn't sound like the problem you had. I don't transplant them after germination except into the garden. If they come up too thick, they still seem okay. They need trimmed back about once a week if they are growing right. When I transplant them into the garden, they always seem so small and fragile that I wonder if they will make it, but they always do. Every single year when transplanting I am thinking "start them earlier next year." I saw some pictures of onions growing from seed in a thread on one of the other forums on this site.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 6:57AM
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riceloft(5b / NE Ohio)

This is the thread I kept referring to when starting my onions this year. They're doing wonderfully!

Here is a link that might be useful: Onions from seed

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 7:58AM
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