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Help Choosing Onions?

Posted by frentjay 5a (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 3, 07 at 17:32

Hello, I have been reading these forums for a while now but just joined. I am starting a garden this year and picking out some vegetables to grow. I was able to find a great deal out about what people thought were great tomatoes and had no problem picking out a few to grow. Now I am trying to do the same with onions and that seems to be quite a different story. I would like to try at least one white, yellow and red onion this year and would love some suggestions as to what your favorites are. I am looking for Open Pollinated, preferably heirloom but not necessary, onions that will store well and taste great. I have searched the forums for the names of many onions and had it return no results so any info is appreciated.

I live in NY so I would need long day onions. Here are some I am leaning towards after finding a little about them on the web so any comments on these would be nice as well as any new suggestion.

Florence Red
Rossa Di Milano

Not really any that store well just Southport White Globe which they say stores okay.

Australian Brown
Borettana Cippolini
Clear Dawn
Giallo Di Milano
Yellow Of Parma
Dorata Di Parma (anyone know anything about this one?)

Thank you.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help Choosing Onions?

Cippolini is a sweet onion, and not a good keeper. I don't know where you saw otherwise. It's flavor makes it well worth growing, though. Just figure on using them up within 3-4 months.

I have no personal experience with any of the others on your list.

RE: Help Choosing Onions?

Hi Frentjay,

You might want to check out the Dixondale website ( - they have quite a few varieties and they'll send you a free catalogue if you like.

I am not familiar with the varieties you listed. Unless you plan to save seed it shouldn't matter if the onions are open pollinated, heirloom, or hybrid, so long as they meet your taste and storage needs. This year I will plant (NJ) Walla Walla (long day, OP, large, sweet, vigorous, short storage) - this was my best last year. I'll also plant Big Daddy (long day, hybrid, sweet, large, long storage) and Yellow Spanish (long day, OP, large, sweet, medium storage).

Dixondale also offers a white very long storer called Copra, and a large red long storer called Red Bull, as well as many more.

Hope this helps!


RE: Help Choosing Onions?

A few things to offer. For starters, cippolini is not considered a sweet onion (which just means they have a higher water content) and keeps excellent. I have grown hundreds of pounds of them and found them to keep as long or longer than Copra (well into march).

Secondly, frentjay you didn't say if you plan on growing onions from seed or if you plan on purchasing plants. I would encourage you to seed your own as you have a much better selection of varieties and you don't have to eat all the chemicals Dixondale sprays on their starts. (but you better get on it quick for seeding!)

Regardless, you seem to be choosing a huge selection of onions to plant. Why so many?
The more varieties, the more maturity dates and while some onions will want to dry down, others will still be needing water. This makes watering very difficult so I'd suggest growing fewer varieties and make your first time a little easier.

As for the varieties you listed:
i've never found a good open pollenated red keeper. I grow redwing or ruby ring, both f1 hybrids.

I haven't grown that Cippolini, but 'gold coin' produces excellent for me and keeps well if cured properly (as I said above).
I haven't grown most of the yellows listed, other than Newburg, which does fine but only keeps fairly well.
Clear Dawn I used to grow a lot of. It's an excellent OP selection from 'Copra", one of the best keeping, medium sized onions.

You might try "NY early" which is a non-hybrid, long keeping yellow, bred for your area.

Hope this helps a bit.

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