onion spacing

yopper(3-4)December 30, 2006

I've been reading on this site about spacing onions 2&3 inches on center. So if you get an onion that gets be 6 inches and it was planted on 3 inch center what happens to the onion on either side of it ?????? And say the ones on either side get to be 4 or 5 inches????? Even on 4 inch center if you have 4 inch onions they will be touching each other& I think that is what is called to close.I plant mine in wide rows of 4 on 10 inch center. Most any thing will grow bigger if it has more room to grow and be smaller if it is crowded. I like big onions!!! How do you space your onions????? YOPPER P.S. not trying to be a smart a$$

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snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)

I usually try to space mine 4" apart. If space allows I plant them farther apart. Your right, the more space between onions the better but I go with 4 inches minimum.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 12:58PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

When it comes to spacing, onions are a bit different than most plants, because the bulbs sit on top of the ground, while the roots are in the soil.

What happens is that the bulbs actually push each other out of the way, if necessary. So, for most varieties, spacing them on 10" centers does not produce bulbs that are appreciably larger than if they were on 4" centers.

According to Dixondale, "The size of the mature onion bulb depends on the number and size of the tops. For each leaf, there will be a "ring" of onion. The larger the leaf, the larger the ring becomes."

If I were growing ACE or other giants for competition I might give them extra space to assure conformation. But for standard onions destined for the table, 4" is all they need.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 9:26PM
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Gardenlad What is a standard onion????? I plant ace,candy and wala wala. YOPPER

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 11:06AM
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Check out this link

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 11:05PM
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TJG911(z5b CT)

yopper, your address does not work. i added a p to the htt but no good.

i dropped the htt and www, i did get to a site but where's the onions?

i used to plant 3" on center (copra, mars, red wing, all but large onions like ace) but onions were too small. i now use 4" on center for copra and red wing. for ace i always used 6" on center.

i'm growing candy this year based upon your results and comments. i will use 6" spacing.

i'm dropping ace this year for candy. too many ace have double onions and these do not last long. it is a rush to use them before problems develop. no idea why this happens. also some ace don't last, they develop a brown layer inside. i remove it and use the onion but i don't like this. i think it may be too much water in the final days but i can't stop the rain, i sure don't water at the end.

i am curious about spacing. gardenlad seems to indicate onions will grow to their correct size. i think crowding can yield smaller bulbs based upon my experience. 4" on center is giving larger copra bulbs than 3" did. but would 6" spacing give bigger copra? i doubt it because copra is not a 6" diameter onion. while crowding may reduce their potential i don't think giving them a lot extra will allow them to get a lot bigger. but when it comes to larger onions like ace and candy would 8 or 10" spacing yield much larger bulbs? i think they may get a bit larger but again they have a final normal size and i don't think they'll grow to say 9 or 10" if given 10 or 12" spacing.

anyone ever test this with 2 plots of the same onion same soil same light?


    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 7:41AM
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Hi Tom sorry about that link not coming up!!! I could not get it to come up ether and now I can't find it.It was link from the U.K.and I think they were growing onions to exibit or show. It recomended planting onions no less than 18 inches apart in all directions. I think the record for ace in the U.K. is like 15 lbs. [Some thing to shoot for!!!!] I did plant a single row with 6 inch spaceing next to a wide row of 4 on 10 inch centers and the wide row out produced the single row by a big margin in size.Didn't I email you a picture of my onions a year or so ago?? I don't know how you grow any thing in them ROCKS in C.T.!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 12:52PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

>It was link from the U.K.and I think they were growing onions to exibit or showGardeners who grow for exhibition, or to enter contests, are not typical. They do all sorts of things that the average home gardener need not bother with.

Note how I specifically said, above, that if I was growing for show I would open the spacing. But I don't exhibit onions; I eat them.

Crowding can affect bulb size, but that's because onions are heavy feeders, and if you plant them too close together the roots are competing with each other. In short, individual plants do not get enough nutrients to produce the kind of tops Dixondale talks about. In my experience, 4" spacing is enough to assure that each plant gets the nutrients it needs.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 8:23AM
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Hi gardenlad I'am glad to see you finaly agree that crowding reduces bulb size. As I said in my orignal post [I like big onions]. you can have a bushel of 100 onions or bushel of 50 I'll take the 50 bushel. You live in KY. dixondale is in Texas and I live in the UP.of Mi. You can't get much farther apart than that. So our growing conditions would be a lot differnt...climate...soil...day lite hrs. What I'am trying get at for people new to growig onions their is no set spacing for onions just an average to start with. Find what works for you!!!! As for Dixondale they are great they ship me onion plants every year but I'll bet they never grew an onion in the UP. of Mi.My garden is one big expirment I try differnt things every year some work and some don't thats what makes gardening fun and what works for me may not work for you.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 10:44AM
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TJG911(z5b CT)

yopper, no problem on the link. 15 pound onions! those are bowling balls! i don't doubt it tho because on another gardening website there was an onion thread and a guy from the uk discussed 12 pound onions! that's too big for me.

yes you did send me a photo of your onions, candy, and that is why i am trying them this year. i remember the beautiful vista beyond your garden, all those spruces, it was truly beautiful country. the onions in the picture were HUGE!

as for the rocks in ct, you must have been here! it is BAD! if you are in a river valley your soil and be 2'+ deep with virtually no rocks but for the rest of us we have rocks. my garden has almost none but that's because i toss everyone i find from 1/2" up to the 2'ers! i dug one out a few summers ago and it was almost 2' long and about 12-14" thick. it took a good 2 hours in july at about 95 degrees, oh it was humid too! the hole it left was a crater! pulling it out was brutal. i am alone so there is no help. i had to dig a ramp and work it up using rocks to hold it in place then i used a rope around my waist to drag it out. once on the surface, it took another 5-8 minutes to carefully roll it down the aisles, a stone that heavy is hard to roll and control. it'd have wiped out a lot of crops if i lost control. without a doubt this is the biggest rock i ever removed.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 2:03PM
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Tom I had an uncle that lived on the edge of Torington ct. He lived on the upper edge of a revine and it was all brush in the revine and he rolled his rocks out of the garden in to the revine.In some places in CT.there were fields that looked like the rocks were growing strait up out of the ground!!!!!Hope your candys do good for you!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 4:25PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

>I'am glad to see you finaly agree that crowding reduces bulb size.I never disagreed, Yopper. The question has been, how close is crowding? You believe 4" is too close. I don't. That's the whole disagreement.

We also have different outlooks on size. My concern is with flavor and texture. Size is a secondary consideration. You seem to be oriented to growing large onions as the primary goal. So be it. That's neither a right nor wrong thing; just a difference in philosophy.

I will say, though, that if size were the criterum for most people nobody would ever grow Rakkyo, or pearl onions, or cipolini. Or most mulitpliers. And shallots, of course, would be out.

Another possible concern with large onions is that most of them are sweet. Which means they are poor keepers, and have to be eaten right away. For some people that could be a problem.

As to rocks, the one thing I miss about northern Illinois (where I spent the longest ten years of my life) was the 12 feet of black dirt we had. That soil was so rich it was said if you planted a nail at night, by morning it had grown into a spike.

Those people actually pay good money to import rocks, and use them decoratively. Heck, they can come down here with a trailer and have mine for free.

Down here we're sort of like New England, and grow rocks as a cash crop. :>)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 9:16AM
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