oldokieDecember 20, 2012

I have planted texas 1015 for years plus a few sets(bulbs) for early green onions. what do you plant

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Like you, I always plant Texas 1015Y and have planted it every year since they released it in the 1980s. It is such a reliable producer and so tasty! I also have planted Candy a lot in recent years, and tried Red Candy Apple, but won't grow it again unless they really improve it a lot because it doesn't size up well for me. I prefer growing Red Southern Belle or Creole instead. When they released Red Candy Apple, I was hoping it was the red version of Candy, but it does not produce extra-large onions like Candy does.

Two other varieties that have been favorites for several years are Superstar (sometimes also sold under the name 'Sierra Blanca') and Contessa, which has been described (whether accurately or not) as the white version of Texas 1015Y.

This year I'm growing two from Dixondale that are new to me: Texas Legend and Early Texas White, along with 1015Y, Red Southern Belle and Candy.

For as long as I can remember, my dad and other gardening family members have grown one form or another of Granex and Early Texas Grano 502, which is involved in the parentage of Texas 1015Y and I am looking forward to trying Texas Legend because Texas 1015Y is one of its parents.

I usually plant between 3 and 6 bundles of onions a year depending on how many frozen onions I still have in the freezer from the previous year's crop.

If I could plant only one variety it would be Texas 1015Y and my second choice would be Candy, which produces huge onions with incredible flavor. Candy could easily be #1 for me instead of #2, except that I have a deep attachment to 1015Y partly because I've grown it for so long and partly because I'm a native Texan.

In terms of bunching onions, I usually plant one of the white bunching types and am not necessarily picky about which named variety I use for green onions. The last couple of years I've grown a red bunching onion as well, and last fall I planted "Gumbo", which is an heirloom bunching onion popular in portions of Texas.

I usually get my onions from Dixondale and I get them earlier than is recommended for this part of the state because I like to get them off to an early start.

Descriptions and photos of all the onions I mentioned, except for the bunching ones and "Gumbo" can be found at the linked website of Dixondale Farms.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dixondale Farms

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Hi all:

I have a question about growing onions from seed v. plants. I have seed for 'Candy' (day neutral from Shumway, 85 days) and 'Bianca de Maggio Cipollini' (Pinetree, no info re: day length)

Farmerdill wrote to one poster: "Mid September is the time to start onion seed ... in late November-early December, it's time to plant the onion seedlings in the ground."

The VA Tech site says: "Seeds may be started indoors eight weeks before setting out." (most sites suggest starting seeds 8-10 weeks before last frost).

It's Dec 22 - we had one very light frost a week ago. I don't expect a real frost until early January. During last 10+ years, last frost is usually mid to late March, one year was Feb 28. If I need to plant seed 8-10 weeks before last frost, that's now (late Dec - mid-Jan). I think.

I usually plant garlic in November.

Is it too late to start onion seed or too early? Shoot, maybe I should do what many folks here do - order plants from Dixondale. One less thing to worry about. But I have that seed ...
Take care,

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I hope Jay will see this and respond if he is home for Christmas and on his computer. He starts onions from seed and I think he starts them in December or January, but he is in southwestern Kansas, which I suppose must be zone 5b or 6a so his onion planting date would be later than yours.

I generally only grow green onions from seed and the timing on those plantings doesn't matter that much since I'm going to harvest them for use as scallions while they are young and small.

If I was going to grow onions from seed, I'd start the seeds 8-10 weeks before my transplanting date, which is February 15th.

Is Farmerdill's zone the same as yours or slightly warmer in winter? I am thinking that maybe his winters don't get cold enough for overwintered onion plants to bolt so that he can plant them in fall like they do in south Texas.

There is a clue for all of us in the name of one of our favorite onions in this region---Texas 1015Y. The 10-15 is the planting date for it in south Texas, which is where it was bred. There were other 10-xxYs in that breeding program, like 1020 and 1025 that are similar to 1015Y but with some differences other than the coded planting dates, but it is 1015Y that became incredibly popular both with commercial growers and home gardeners.

The reason I don't attempt to overwinter onions here is that our weather is too erratic. Last week, for example, we had a daytime high of 66 and then that night the temperature dropped all the way down to 15. When your weather is see-sawing wildly like that, onions are more likely to bolt once they are about the same diameter as a pencil. I think we have enough warm or even hot (we've been in the 80s this month, not necessarily typical for December) days that fall-planted onions would make good growth and get 'too big' considering that it is winter, and then we'd have a cold spell where they stayed below 45 degrees (the temperature that induces bolting) just long enough that they'd bolt. It would drive me nuts.

You know, you could take the approach that your garden is a living science laboratory and plant some from seed 8-10 weeks prior to your onion transplanting date and also plant from transplants and see which method gives you the best results.

I don't understand your planting dates in relation to your last frost, but for most of us here in Oklahoma, the appropriate time to transplant onion plants into the ground is from February 15-March 10 depending on our location in the state, and our last frost dates run roughly from late March through mid-April most years, so we are putting onion plants into the ground around 4-6 weeks before our average last frost. Realistically speaking, I've had frosts as late as the first week in May during 4 of the last 5 years, so in that case, my onion transplants were in the ground a good 10-12 weeks before my last frost occurred, although there was a lot of non-frosty weather during that time. Well-mulched onions in well-drained soil don't freeze too often in my garden. If they are in immensely wet soil they can freeze more easily. With those late May frosts, I threw row covers over the onion plants in all but 1 of those years (it was the first year and the forecast was for 50 degrees so I wasn't expecting 32) and the late frost did not affect them one bit.

I like the concept of growing bulbing onions from seed, but I feel like my chances of success with it here in southern OK would be low because we swing from too hot to too cold and back to too hot again constantly. I always have grown them from transplants purchased in local stores and had fine results most years. (In the years when I didn't have good results, it was due to flooding rains or incredibly erratic weather that induced bolting.) About 8 years ago I started purchasing Dixondale transplants by mail and that's my preferred method of obtaining transplants now. When you order from them, they pull their plants and ship them to you on a scheduled date so they are fresh and still green when you receive them, as opposed to a gardener walking into a garden center and purchasing bundled onions that may have been sitting there in crates in the garden center for 1, 2, 3 or more weeks and that are often very dried out and may gave been exposed to many nights of freezing temperatures if in an outdoor garden center. I get such good results from Dixondale onion plants that to me it is worth the price they charge. I won't say they never bolt, but when they do, it isn't Dixondale's fault....the onions are in great shape when they arrive here and we cannot hold Dixondale accountable if our wildly fluctuating weather induces bolting. If I could find Dixondale plants in a local store, I'd buy them there the first week they arrived, but almost all the stores around me carrying Bonnie Plants varieties, not Dixondale, which is a sad commentary on how a large plant wholesaler can almost completely dominate the distribution/retail sector. I'd like to see more competition between the plant wholesalers. In fact, even though I have nothing personal against BP, I make a point of buying plants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area from some of the local or regional garden centers that raise their own plants or purchase from local wholesale operations because I want to encourage competition. Of course, since I grow most of my own from seed, I don't buy a lot of transplants of any kind, but when I do, I try to give the local growers my business.

Some hot, dry winters I plant onion plants as early as the first week in January and get a good crop, but that was more common for me back in the earliest 2000s when the weather was a little more predictable and less wildly fluctuating than it has been the last few years. Now I aim for sometime between mid- and late-January, which still is at least 2 weeks before my OSU-recommended planting date. That extra time helps them get off to a good start which is especially important with short-day types since they reach the right daylength for bulbing so early. I grow both short-day and intermediate types here. If I were to try to raise my own seedlings from seed sown in early fall and transplanted into the ground in late fall like they do further south, I bet they'd bolt 10 years out of 10!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 8:42AM
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I haven't been on the forum much lately due to several reasons. Work uncertainty, computer upgrades and time issues. Work uncertainty is the main reason I haven't started my onion seeds yet. Not sure if, where and how much gardening I will do this year. I try to start my seeds by Jan 1st but last year I started some around the first of Feb and they did fine. I meant to start some mid Dec this year but never got around to it. Hopefully over the next week I will get most of them started. Here I can grow onions for early harvest usually in June of very early July and also what they call fall onions which will be harvested in Sept/early Oct. The fall onions can be started later. They are what many of the field growers plant seeds for in Feb/ early March and which germinate in March or early April. Daylight length triggers bulbing along with a few other things. What I didn't realize and learned this last year when I grew the fall onions is daylight length will trigger bulbing when it is increasing or decreasing. So if I plant the same seed I use for fall onions early enough and start the seeds early enough then they will mature earlier usually in June. I'm generally listed as 6a although a few say 6b. The best advice I would have would be to try a few and if you want insurance also buy a few bunches. Best of luck with your growing.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 9:09AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

There is a man on PBS (Dr. Furman) saying onions are really good for you. He is pushing mushrooms, onions, greens, beans, berries and seeds for health. I don't know if he is selling something but it makes sense.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 7:21PM
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