onions

kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)April 2, 2005

I'm wondering if anyone sells some of the fancy heirloom onions. We sell a ton of garlic, so I'm thinking of being the official Allium vendor at market and going whole-hog on funky onions (Bakers had some fantastic varieties, wow), maybe even dreaming up a way to braid them (we sell garlic braids for good prices). How much do you charge?

Then some questions on growing onions: I've only grown them from plants (not sets, but the actual plant shipped by Territorial, pricey) so this year I'm growing from seed. I'm a bit late getting started, of course, and plan to seed them this week (some already were seeded a week ago).

Questions:

-How long from seed sown to planting in the field?

-In the catalogues when it says "Days" for onions is that DAYS FROM TRANSPLANT like tomatoes (I'm pretty sure this is the case) or days from seed?

- Has anyone had luck direct-seeding onions?

Thanks,

Kristen

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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

We direct seed all of our sweet onions and they do well. Far better than sets and we thin them when they just start to bulb and sell the thinnings as green onions leaving behind onions with a lot of room to grow big.

the red and yellow onions (storage/cooking) we direct seed in flats and grow them about 4 to 8 weeks inside than transplant 4" to 6" apart in rows 8" apart.

We usually grow about 6 kinds each year and the sell well especially sweet red and sweet white onions

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 2:59PM
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imtoobusy(z6b)

I am trying growing from seed for the first time this year and am trying the method used by Eliot Coleman in the New Organic Grower. He sows 5 seeds per transplant block for large onions. Bunching onions and mini onions are sowed with 10-12 seeds per block and will come out of the ground already bunched.

I hope it works as well for me as for him!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 10:33AM
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Lee True Hulcher

I am trying Ukranian red flat onions from seed this year. I have never grown onions from seeds before either. I am starting them in flats inside - last week.
I got them over the internet on Ebay for .99c so what the heck. They are really pretty onions from the photos on the package, and hopefully tasty too. If they work out and I like them, I will save seed and expand my growing quanity. Tey might be for sale in a year or two.
LeeC

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 10:52AM
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barrie2m_

Direct seeding may be ok for some but I've heard of a method of planting in plastic that I am going to try for the larger sweet onions. I've started in the 288 cell trays and after a few trimmings they are easier to handle at transplant time. Most water wheel transplanters plant too far apart but one grower discribed a modification he made to a set of old, hand cultivator wheels by drilling holes around the perimeter and inserting bolts. He then mounted the wheels in his water wheel planter and made two passes on a row of plastic, offset by 8" so he got 4 rows of onions, 8"apart on a row of plastic. Even if you need to have extra people walking along side the planter, popping plugs and filling empty holes you can stich a lot of onions in the ground in a hurry. Then sock the water and nitrogen to them and watch'em grow. For bunching onions I found that the plastic and drip lines wern't all that benificial, but Devrinol between the rows sure makes pulling onions w/o weeds easier.

I've heard of prices of $1.50 each for a 4" sweet onion at some markets but I can't see putting he same time into an onion planting as with tomatoes, peppers or eggplant. Maybe direct seeding is more cost efficient in the long run.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 5:06PM
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