Do I Dare to Plant an Onion?!

sancho_panza_ok(7)February 17, 2013

So, here I am in Stillwater, staring longingly at my newly-arrived shipment of Dixondale onions. The raised bed is ready for planting, but I'm still dubious, especially when the weather forecast is still calling for night-time low temperatures in the mid-20s this week? Anyone with experience want to help me out here? I've never grown onions in Oklahoma before. Thank you in advance!

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Not advise or consent; I am a 160 some miles south of you, but we have had onions that have stayed green, I wonâÂÂt say growing all winter long. They have started growing the past couple of weeks though and are now good as green onions.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:46PM
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Hello Sancho.

Since you have gotten just one response so far, I will give you my two cents worth.

If you have intermediate day onions I would wait a week or so and look at the ten day forecast, and then go from there. I believe that with intermediates you have a bit more time to get them out there.

If you have short day onions I would be tempted to plant them this Saturday. When I looked at your ten day forecast just a while ago it appears that the lows get out of the twenties and into the low thirties starting Saturday.

I live in southern Oklahoma. I planted my short day onions about a week ago. I planted some intermediates yesterday, and will finish today. My ten day forecast is warmer than yours and I have a lot of other work to get done, so into the ground they go. I suspect you have intermediate day onions since you live in Stillwater. I would chill out for a week (pun intended) and re-evaluate then.

As with any advice you get off the internet, even though it is free, Caveat Emptor. There's always risk when planting a garden. That's part of the fun, and sometimes the heartache. Alternatively to the advice above, you might want to plant some onions this Saturday, then some more a week later, and then the rest the following week. See how they all do and if there is any difference. Experimentation is one of the ways you become more knowledgeable about what works in your individual garden. What works for you might or might not work in my garden. There are so many variables. Good luck, what ever you do.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:12PM
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I like what Scott said ^
You could plant some now and then a week later.

My situation is the same as Ponderpaul. I have some onions the size of transplants that I planted too late from seed last year. They stayed green all winter just like the garlic and have picked back up the past few weeks. I'm in Norman.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:43PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I'm in southern OK too but am waiting for this week's rain to fall first and then I'll decide whether to plant or not.

One thing to think about with your onions is their previous temperature exposure. Since Dixondale onions come to us from south Texas, they have not been exposed to a lot of cold, wet weather. I prefer to plant mine in warmer, drier weather when I can. Had your plants come from an area with cooler winter temps and more moisture, they'd already be acclimated to the cooler temps and I wouldn't be as worried about them getting set back by really cold overnight temperatures.

Soil moisture plays a role in it too. When the nighttime lows are still in the 20s, it doesn't worry me much if the onions are in soil that is just a little moist. It worries me more if the soil is very wet.

I have planted onions as early as the first week in January in extreme southcentral OK (I am surrounded on three sides by Texas) and had them survive and produce just fine. I have planted them as late as the first week in March and had very cold temperatures, rain and wind and sleet and snow freeze or rot them. All you can do is try to plant them in the best possible conditions and hope the weather doesn't throw you a major curveball.

If your soil drains well and if you only expect to receive a half-inch or inch of rain this week and your air temps are forecast to stay in the upper 20s or lower 30s, I think your plants would be fine. If you have clay that holds on to moisture a bit longer than you'd like, you might want to wait for this week's rain and cold to pass and see what your long-term forecast looks like beginning about Friday or so.

Sometimes, too, you just have to take a leap of faith and plant something. Most of the time it works out fine and all the issues you worry about don't even come to pass.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:11PM
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