How big will these onions get?

jimster(z7a MA)June 24, 2005

This is my first time growing onions from seed. Due to some glitches last winter when I was starting the seeds in pots, I had to start over. So the plants were not set out very early and were small.

At the point they are growing OK, but have developed a maximum of four or five leaves and are still pretty small. I understand that onions should develop 13 leaves to attain large size. Also, days will now be getting shorter, which I guess will cause bulbing before they get large.

My question is, do I stand a chance of getting large onions this year?

Jim

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Not sure if it will help, but I am currently using foliar sprays on my onions, garlic, shallots, and chives. I planted some purplette onion seeds back the middle of May, and these are still very small with single green shoots. The nearby potato onions were planted as small onions and are doubling and tripling in the soil, with many leaves now. The purplettes were supposed to be 60-80 day onions, but because they are still very small, I doubt if they will reach any decent size this year. As to shallots, I planted both seeds in one area and small bulbs in another. The seeds bearly sprouted and nothing has come of them since the weeds took over. The bulb shallots are doubling and tripling though. So the point is, seeds don't usually grow as wel (or as fast)l bulbs as far as my experiences. My garlic is all 'de-scaped' and is getting nice big leaves, and any onions I have are doing well if they were planted as bulbs as opposed to seeds.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 2:43AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I really want to learn to grow onions from seed, varieties such as Wethersfield Red, Southport White Globe and White Portugal. My second try this year worked well, except for being too late I think. We'll see how large they get (probably not large) and have another go at it next year.

Jim

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 2:56PM
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mindsmile(z5 ma.)

Jim

I had froms sets or small bulbs that never came up last year or died back (and some were stuck in last fall) quite a few Ebenezer onions overwinter.Maybe you can start some to get small bulb starts soon for next spring.Only problem as you know is that if done this way they will set scapes/flower pods as soon as they are almost full size.
Bill

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 3:30PM
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mindsmile(z5 ma.)

Jim,my post didn't seem to come out right.LOL
But I hope you get the idea.Maybe try both,seed and bulb starts and compare.
Bill

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 3:33PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Bill,

I have planted onion sets in the past and they produced good quality, but small, onions. From what I understand, the way to grow large onions is from seed (or transplants, which is the same thing). I want to grow my own transplants from seed and I think it will not be difficult to do so once I get it together. As we say in gardening, "just wait 'til next year!".

I was wondering if the plants I grew from seed this year will make up decent sized bulbs. The key to this is at what date will onions in my latitude stop adding leaves and start making bulbs. Can anyone tell me?

Jim

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 5:00PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

For the most part, if you haven't got decent bulbs forming now, you're not going to get anything super large. I have the advantage of being able to observe over 60 gardens in one huge community complex. I'm seeing everything from two-leaf seedlings to tiny plants with flower stalks to some tennis ball size bulbs. Due to lateness of getting the sites laid out, there was no planting until mid-May. Regardless, those who planted plants will be getting decent bulbs. They seem to be close to what I had set out a month before at home. Thus it's not just the time of planting involved but size and age of the seedling as well.

Martin

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 10:16PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"... there was no planting until mid-May. Regardless, those who planted plants will be getting decent bulbs."

I didn't get my plants in until the first week of June, which might not be so bad except that the plants were kind of puny. I was somewhat encouraged today, when the tops seemed to be still putting on growth. Bulbs are forming, but I was hoping that would not happen so soon. I might end up with pearl onions. I thought it would be better to get large tops before the bulbs start forming.

I'm still trying to get a handle on the day length thing. That is something we don't have to be concerned about with other vegetables.

Jim

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 9:10PM
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mindsmile(z5 ma.)

Note what Martin points out above-
Jim
*Due to lateness of getting the sites laid out, there was no planting until mid-May. ***Regardless, those who planted plants will be getting decent bulbs.*
***********************************************
As to getting to the point of your question.It matters but you need to get them in earlier than you did and number of leaf on a plant is also said -more leafs larger onion mostly.
I think the day lenght for long day nions is said to be that they will start putting on size/girth at around 13 hours give or take.Do a search(google)some sites tell us about the day lenght.
Possibly you can go with the day neutral types or just go with the larger guys like Ailas Craig or the heirloom its derived from.
good huge onions to you next year.
Bill

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 4:24PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Our day length here is still more than 15 hours. That's encouraging. Maybe I can get a few more layers on these onions before they're done.

Thanks for the good wishes, Bill.

Jim

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 9:43PM
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TJG911(z5b CT)

why not just put them out earlier? june is way too late! plants are available in greenhouses way before that. better yet start them from seeds around 2/22 or 3/1. i put mine out around 4/15 to 4/24. you need to get a lot of plant growth before mid june which is when the bulb formation is triggered.

tom

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 12:29PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

That's exactly what I will do next year. Thanks, Tom.

Jim

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 12:39PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

This is just an update to let you know that I am feeling encouraged. My onions have grown well, starting from those runty little plants and late planting. They have nearly caught up with my neighbor's started from sets. Mine are just starting to show signs of bulbing, which is good because they have had a chance to make decent sized tops. I'm not hoping for large onions but maybe half will be nice medium sized ones.

Jim

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 10:05AM
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mindsmile(z5 ma.)

medium would be nice for you this year Jim.Lets hope next year you have a bumper crop of the large 1s.
BTW what variety is in there now?Long keepers or a short shelf life variety?
Bill

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 2:45PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I'm growing Southport White Globe and Wetherfield Red. Both are old commercial varieties from Connecticutt. They are supposed to be pretty good keepers. I like growing heirlooms from this region when I can, both for their historical interest and for their suitabilitly to the conditions.

Jim

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 10:13PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

I'm also growing Wetherfields that I got late from an SSE outlet. (Felt sorry for the poor little root-bound things!) Treated them well but looks like I'll be trying to save them as sets for next year. Only a half dozen or so went beyond two leaves before flopping. They were healthy otherwise so I'm hoping that I can enjoy them next year.

Martin

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 12:30AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

After a lot of fussing and fretting, I now have the answer to "how big will these onions get.?"

The answer is about 3 ounces. A few of the Wethersfield Reds were slightly larger, the Southport White Globes were just a tad smaller. Usable, but I should be able to do much better. Just wait 'til next year! At any rate, it was a good first learning experience in growing onions from seed.

Jim

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 8:12PM
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