Return to the Allium Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Onions from seed....my progress

Posted by mom2ems PA 5a (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 4, 09 at 10:06

Hello everyone!!

I thought I would share with all of you some progress pictures of my onions. I can't find too many pictures of baby onions, so I thought I would share some of my pictures. This is my first year growing onions of any kind. This will be my second year having a vegetable garden. So please keep this in mind. I'm a newbie and I'm just learning. Because I had no experience with growing onions, I wanted to start out with the cheapest method possible...seeds.

I planted Copra onion seeds starting on January 15th (kind of early, I know). I was REAL anal when seeding them. I planted them in 3 rows, 1" apart; 2 seeds per 1/4th inch, using tweezers. I thinned them out as they came up. I seeded the onion seeds over 5 days. Here is a picture of them at about 5 to 10 days old:

I planted them in Miracle-Gro potting mix. Looking back on it now, I should have used a seed starting mix.something much less dense. Over the next weeks, as they grew tall, I would trim them to 3". They also would really lean toward the window/light. I would turn them, but still they would really lean. So, I put some reflective bubble wrap I had left over from an attic project around the onions. This helped the leaning issue tremendously! At about 4 weeks old, I noticed they were looking really sad soon after I had really watered them. A day or so passed and they were still looking bad, so I decided to sprinkle some bone meal on them, and water them AGAIN real good. That was a mistake (I hadnt realized the original problem was from over watering). Those onions started smelling really bad and they looked all deflated and yellow. I thought for sure they were goners! Heres the picture

After several days of drying out, they started to come backwhew! They did lose their second leaf, but at least they werent dead.

Here is a picture of my onions today at about 7 weeks old.

Ill try to keep this post updated with my progress or failure of my onions. Im hopeful :o)

Garden on everyone!
Catherine


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I was just wondering if you provided bottom heat( heating pad) or just germinated in window light.What temp was the room etc.I tried two packs of burpee seeds and have about 20% germination.Thanks for pictures.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I didn't use any bottom heat. The room temperature was/is about 72 degrees on cloudy days and probably closer to 75 degrees on sunny days (this window is my bedroom, so I keep this room comfortable). I'm not sure what conditions were present when the seeds were coming up (less sunny I'm sure...it was in the middle of January in PA...lol). I did use a clear plastic dome to retain good humidity. I used pre-dampened soil and I'm pretty sure I didn't water the seeds after planting. I thought there was enough moisture from the damp soil to activate the seeds.

I purchased my seeds from Johnnyseeds.com. I bought the pack with over 1000 seeds and planted them all. I think the germination rate on the pack said 75%. I got at least that much if not closer to 90%.

I'm sorry your germination rate was so low. That would truly be disappointing.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Thank you for posting the pictures. I am also growing onions from seed for the first time and I am also a newbie. Now I know what mine will look like as they grow. Right now they are just starting to sprout.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 9, 09 at 13:03

Yes...thanks for sharing your onion experience. It's very beneficial to see your process and progress. I am new to both seed starting indoors and vegetable gardening this year.
From what I can see my onions must be having a poor germination rate. I'm hoping that maybe some are just 'over active' while the rest are taking a little longer to sprout!!
**fingers crossed
And how will you progress with your seedlings? Will you transplant them into an outdoor garden space? When?
BTW your seedlings look really strong and healthy in that last shot! I'm so glad they survived for you. I know how disappointing it can be.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

mom2ems,

yes be careful about watering! i let them totally dry out before watering. a mild fertilizer 1 time a month will help. if you have 1000 plants you are going to need a lot of garden. i assume you know to plant 4" minimum apart, 6 " is better. copra keep forever in storage. mid jan is a bit early to start but it is best to have the largest plants by early june so i start them 2/15 and put them out ~ 3rd week in april.

i also plant in rows and use a tweezers, i use the same containers as you. i space the rows about 1/2" apart and put the seeds about 1/4" apart in the rows. i have 9 or 10 rows with 7-9 seeds per row. i found that scattering seeds does not seem to work as well as rows but i only did that one year. onions grow just fine if planted densely if you ever see the containers at a greenhouse they are so tightly packed you can't find the soil!

you have an awful lot of seedling to plant. be sure your soil is loose and has lots of organic matter NOT fresh manure and rocks need to be at a minimum.

i grow mine under shop lights and they do much better than in a window. you can build a stand from pvc pipe and get lights for not too much and you can grow all kinds of seedlings under them as the onions go outside.

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Kankuk:

I was I planning on getting these onions planted outside around April 15th (my last frost free date is May 24th). So, thats 5 weeks before my last frost-free date. Maybe Ill wait until the 3rd week in April?? Ive flipped and flopped when to put them in the garden. I know it still can snow around here in April and I dont want to put them out too early. I do plan on having them under a row cover to avoid any bug problems. That should protect them a bit in cold weather.

My goal is to have about 250 full-grown onions at harvest time. I plan on putting maybe 400 onions out in the garden. Some will be planted 2" apart and then Ill thin them out to 4" apart (eat every other as a green onion over the spring and early summer). If we dont eat them fast enough, Ill make sure they are 4" apart when the bulbs need the space.

Tom:

I did plant 1000 seeds, but I thinned them out to a little over 500. I have one "block" of 2 by 14 feet reserved for onions. I dont plan on having rows of onions. I want a solid onion patch with a plant every 4" in every direction. If they need more room, Im sure Ill find them some space if needed. I REALLY want a lot of onions this year. I want enough to last me 10 months or so. That is why I picked Copra onions because they are great storage onions!

Speaking of adding lots of organic material.last night I was looking through a gardening book and it said not to mix lime and manure in the same year because it can create ammonia. Ive never read that before. I probably would have mixed the two and not thought a thing about it (my soil is pretty acidic and Ill probably have to add lime again this year. Ill check first, of course). I plan on mixing in a bunch of old grass clippings compost (I have a hug pile of it from years ago) into my onion patch along with some bone meal. Ill have to look up how much bone meal exactly. I hope thats good enough. I spread about 4" leaf mulch from last fall all over my garden. Ill mix that in as well.

PVC pipe stand huh? Ill think about it. I really want to stay on the cheap with growing these plants. They seem to be doing great next to the window, but of course I have nothing to compare them to. Ill look into the stand with the shop lights by searching on here and on Google for ideas. I do plan on starting a lot of seeds this spring. I would hate it if all my effort were wasted because I didnt invest in lights.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 9, 09 at 20:32

Catherine
Wow!! That's amazing ... my eyes are watering just thinking about all those onions!!
I'm including this link. I just got my artificial lighting system set up after reading so much knowledge at GW. It is here that I saw a nice PVC shelving unit ...
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/pepper/msg030931572059.html
and lots of good info.
Seems the pepper forums have extensive involvement with artificial lighting.
If you're interested search 'light' or 'lighting' and you'll have days of reading!!
KanuK


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 9, 09 at 21:09

Me again!! How deep are you planting your seeds? I ask because I planted mine all at the same depth of 1/4" in seeding mix and my germination is evidently not uniform. It's a new seed pack bought this year but I'm wondering if I planted too deep or if the seeds aren't all good.
Did yours germinate evenly or were some slower than others to pop up!?


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

KanuK,

Thanks for posting that link. LOTS of great ideas there on light set-ups. I do have a shelf unit I could borrow from the basement that would work. I plan on going to town later this week....I'll probably pick up some light then.

I think I planted mine a tad deeper then a 1/4th of an inch. I put some masking tape on the tweezers I used to mark the depth so all my seeds were at the same depth. Most germinated at about day 5. Some came up a bit later, but not more then a day or so later.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 10, 09 at 7:59

Catherine
Your welcome. Yes...tons of great ideas and certainly a wealth of info on lighting. My advice would be to use 4' shelves if you have them. I started out looking for 24" fixtures to hang over my 24" shelves. It was hard to find 24" fixtures that held 2 bulbs and the price was always better on the 48"-2 bulb fixtures.
So I ended up using 2-24" shelves(rescued from the shed) butted together with a 48" fixture. Love it! I would NOT have had enough room with a 24" now that I have this set up.
Word of advice. It's totally addictive!!
I'll be planting another round of onion seeds today. I'm pushing it already time wise but if I want these onions I gotta give it a try. My first batch didn't germinate well.
Keep us updated on your progress!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 11, 09 at 13:21

Well I've followed your lead and just finished using tweezers to sow my seeds in similar fashion to both yourself & tjg911.
I almost went cross-eyed!! lol
Word of advice ... 'Don't drink too much coffee before you sow seeds using tweezers'!!
I hope to have a better germination rate this time around.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Yes, using tweezers is hard on the eyes and takes lots of patience. That's why I took 5 days to sow all my seeds. Maybe next time I'll make seed tapes.

Here's hoping you see mucho sprouts in about a week!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

In the past few days, Ive noticed my onions were getting a bit pale. Some of the leaves were really pale and dying off. They were a bit dry, so I watered them. This didnt improve the color at all. I waited until they needed watering again but this time I added Miracle-Gro to the water. I hope this improves the color of the leaves and stops the die off of the leaves. Most of the plants have 2-3 leaves. I think they should have more by now (they are 1.5 months old). They would have more if the leaves would stop dying off (my fault, I realize). I have been holding off on adding any fertilizer because I used Miracle-Gro potting soil with fertilizer in it. It says on the bag it should feed the plants for up to 3 months. Well, apparently not so with my onions. I did test the Miracle-Gro soil and the ph was a bit high at 8 (optimum for onions is 6 - 6.5). But the potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus were in the medium level range (comparing with the color charts provided with the soil kit). They have grown quite a bit taller in the past week. Maybe thicker, but they are still thin (still normal and okay I think). Looking back I should have added some fertilizer in their water 2 weeks ago at least.

In the next few days its supposed to be real sunny, so that should help them out also. I plan on getting a fluorescent light today. This Sunday I start sewing lots of different plants. The light will be nice to haveand I wont have to be too worried about them not getting enough light.

The one thing I've really noticed about growing from seed, is how emotionally involved I am with these plants. I get a bit sad when they look sick and excited when they do well. How pathetic is that! I don't remember feeling this way when I would buy plants from the gardening center.

Thats it for now!
Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Catherine

I plant a block that's 4' X 12', I used to plant a 4' X 16' block but I had too many onions for 1 person. I would recommend a minimum 4" spacing, i've gone to 6". 2" is too tight and the effort to plant all those extra seedlings that you'll pull as greens to me is not worth it but you decide. Remember you have to weed these and 4" on center is hard to weed once the plants are 12" and taller.

Copra is the right choice for storage. Red wing store almost as long and are a red onion. This year i have 1/3 red wing and 2/3 copra.

Lime is slow to breakdown, people lime lawns in the fall for the following spring so adding it now is not going to help unless it is pelletized, that breaks down fast. Wood ash is similar but be careful as it is extremely alkaline and raises ph fast. Bone meal is excellent as it is phosphorus and that's good for root crops. I use 1 pound per 10 square feet.

Here's the grow light stand I made and I start all my garden plants under it except the last stuff like cukes and squashes that can be outside as they sprout.

use 4' shop lights as the shorter tubes are more expensive and harder to find. Also the light energy drops off at the ends a bit. Use the cheapest 99 cent tubes don't waste money on special tubes. Onions might do ok in a window never did it but they do fine under lights. Other vegetables do not do well in a window as there are too many cloudy days and you get leggy plants.

tom

Here is a link that might be useful: plans for grow light stand


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 16, 09 at 19:41

Catherine
I'm so sorry to hear your onions are causing you grief. Don't give up on 'em.
As I told you I've planted my second batch and I'm still waiting on signs of germination.
To my surprise I've seen a few 'late bloomers' germinate in my first batch of poor germinators. Kinda making popcorn. I thought the kernels had all popped and just as you take the lid off.... POP....POP ....
Worst part is the space they now take up under the lights. With very few germinated seeds in the containers I'm taking up valuable space.
I wonder if I'd be able to transplant these little guys into one container to free up space?!
Not sure if that's do-able.

I think you'll see benefits getting those babies under lights. Are you still trimming to 3"?


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Midnightgardener: Thanks for the picture!

Tom: Hummmmmaybe I wont plant every 2". You made a good point. Every 2" for 14 feet is A LOT of onions. Ill offer my extras to family.

I do have palletized lime. Im hoping I wont need it. Ill have to get some soil samples and check it out. Maybe Ill get some after super. Thanks for the tip and the amount of the Bone meal. I definitely plan on using it.

I did go out and get 2, 4 shop lights. I emptied a shelving unit I had in the basement and put it by the window with the lights. I turn the lights on in the evening when its starts to get dark and on cloudy days.

Here is a picture of my onions. They are now 8 weeks old.

They dont look too bad. I did cut away any dying leaves. They are maybe the thickness of toothpicks. In this picture the leaves are about 6" tall. I do cut them back to 3-4", which I did right after this photo was taken.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 18, 09 at 7:33

Lookin' real good Catherine! Last year I started all my seeds via 'winter sowing'. It taught me enough to want to try my hand at starting seeds indoors this year. Using lights has made the indoor experience far easier & certainly allowed me a jump start on the growing season. It's also very satisfying and addictive!!
I'm sure you'll be content with the results.
Your onions are really coming along nicely.
Congrats!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I am also an onion seedling newbie this year. :) I am growing some variety of small white onions (forget the type right now, not at home). I probably should have studied a bit more before picking a seed/onion type as i'm not sure they are proper for my zone (day length issue). I do know that they are ok for containers (large, deep ones...lol). My seedlings were started about a week ago and look like the 5-10 day pic above. I started them in a Jiffy peat pellet tray 3 per pellet & have an average right now of about 2 per pellet germination (with probably a few more to come, as they just started peeking through a few days ago). I'm happy with what will probably be a 70-80% germination rate. I can only fit about 6-8 plants in the pot i'm using for them anyways (have 15 possible at 3 seeds per pellet in 5 pellets). One question I have is when to transplant? The 1-2 month onion pics above are still in quite small containers and are still in the seedling stage, I guess. I'll try to post a picture in the next day or two. - Steve


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Thank you for posting your progress and pictures! I am starting my onions from seed for the first time and I am having some of the same problems so I won't give up on mine yet as yours seems to have bounced back. Mine are yellowing and some leaves are dying off but some seem okay. I will let them dry out and see if they get any better like yours did.
Hanna


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

my onions have thick stalks, thicker than in past years. i attribute that to starting them earlier (2/15 vs 3/1) and i have fertilized 2 times already whereas in the past i would have only once at this stage. i'm about ready to give them another fertilizing again in a week. i have just 3 at the most 4 weeks and they have to go out.

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by pam225 6 - Eastern PA (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 26, 09 at 9:01

I started scallions inside. I have already put outside (I am 8 miless West of Philadelphia, PA) and they seem to be...okay. They were not doing well at all in the container, and now I think it's because they were too wet.

I also put seeds in my beds already for scallions. It hasn't been too wet here....this is a new bed with fresh compost from the Recycle Center in Philadelphia, so it's not soggy. Actually had to water it yesterday since the compost was dry (the color changed on the top from the new stuff I hauled in yesterday...hope this makes sense.) I know it's cold out, but I am assuming that they will sprout when they are ready.

This is my 2nd year with raised beds, and this is my first year with scallions. I also just shoved an head of garlic in the garden (broke the head about into cloves)...organic from Whole Foods...not sure if this will work or not, but figured it may be worth a try.

Thoughts from the experts?

Pam


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

My onions are now 10 weeks old...WHA-WHO!! I have been trimming them to 3" at least twice a week now. I think I'll start keeping them at 5".....3" seems too short now. The base where the leaves comes out of the plant is higher then it used to be. They grow about a 1/2 inch a day! Go onions go! I water them with Miracle-Gro once a week. Here are some pictures:

Some onions have 4 green leaves and some have 2. Here is one with 3. I think they've had about 5 to 6 leaves total, but they die off over time. I think it might be normal. I hope it is, anyway.

I hope everyone else's onions are doing well!
Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

mom2ems: Looking very healthy! :)


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 27, 09 at 20:18

Excellent news Catherine & those onions look so perky!
Mine are coming along as well. Some getting their 3rd leaves now.
I started giving them a weak fish emulsion fertilizer and they seem very happy.
Not too long now & we'll be hearing about you planting out your hundreds of onions.
Thx for the update.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

those are nice looking onions. mine are about as thick as that, i started them on 2/15 and i have fertilized for the 3rd time yesterday. i have a small bulb, more of a bulge than a bulb. they are looking fine and hope to plant out by 4/17 weather permitting. i want to rototill and this is a rainy time. it's been dry for 2 weeks yet when i checked to soil on tuesday it seemed too damp to till. now for the next week rain and showers. i need some dry sunny days that's why i say i hope for 4/17.

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I finally planted my onions today! Im glad I dont need to "baby-sit" them anymore. Here is a picture of some of them before I planted them out. They are over 3 months old now.

Here is a picture of them all planted. There are about 350-370 onions. I forgot to count them after I covered them with the row cover. I was just tired and glad to be done. It looks like I murdered all the onions!! I sure hope they spunk back up.

I think next year Ill try using those 280 plug trays. That might help with the transplant shock. Separating the onion roots was surprisingly easy, but I did notice lots of extra roots left in the dirt in the pots. I was trying to be careful.

I hope everyone elses onions are doing well.
Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

your post is dated sunday and here sunday it was like mid july without high humidity! it was brutally hot pushing 90, i think it broke a record at 92 at winsor locks. even now it is like mid summer.

did you water them when done planting? did you plant them on a very hot and sunny day? did you leave chunks of plants exposed to hot air and sun as you planted others? mine never looked like that. maybe it is that they are so large? again mine are smaller in diameter and height than the picture. they looked great in the photo and my guess is if you water and wait they'll perk up. onions seem to be fairly tough plants from my experience.

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

It was really warm here when I planted my onions. It was also very windy. The temp. was in the 80's, I think. Cool and calm would have been perfect. If these onions don't recover, I'll know it's worth waiting for a perfect day to plant.

I did water them as I was planting. I was really careful with that, because I have lost plants (once) for not being careful about keeping the roots wet at all times. I was being careful, but it was really windy and they could have gotten some damage (let's hope not!). It's always windy here, so I couldn't just wait for the wind to die down. I've given up on trying to grow anything on a trellis. They ALWAYS blow off or get damaged.

I have been keeping an eye on my onions and so far they look okay. I watered them today also. They haven't really spunked up yet, but the new leaves on the onions are pointed up. The older leaves are still down, but not limp. I know my onions were used to growing next to each other and they didn't need to support themselves. I'm hoping that they are just adjusting to their new environment. The next nice day, I'll see if I can't straighten them up by watering them and pushing around the dirt a bit. We're in for some rain so it might be a few days.

I'll take some pictures too.
Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

i think you'll be ok. the heat since friday has been the same as july, brutally hot so i am not surprised your plants are stressed. just don't over water them but in this heat i have watered mine each morning. temps are going back to normal starting tomorrow.

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Those look really nice! Catherine, may I ask where you bought your seed? Mine didn't germinate nearly as well as yours.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I bought my seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

I finally got around to taking my camera out to the garden. My onions have recovered nicely. It did take a week though. I lost 5 plants...maybe they were buried too deep or some fertilizer burn. I shouldn't have sprinkled that little bit of fertilizer on the dirt before planting. I ran out of bone meal, so I thought, why not? I will not do that again! However, the plants are 3 weeks now in the ground and most have doubled in size.

Here is an average sized onion plant.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Sun, May 17, 09 at 18:02

Someone's been busy!! Wow. I'm so glad I came back to revisit your thread.
Your onions look really good and seem to have survived the transplant.
I transplanted my onions into the garden last week and relieved as well.

Thanks for continuing to share your adventure.
kanuk


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

why is your bed SO WEED FREE? i'm having wicked weed problems this year.

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

The row cover helps tremendously with keeping the weeds away, though I do have some weeds. Since I dont have much in my garden right now, I weed this bed almost every evening. Im sure it will get weedier as the garden gets filled in.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I thought I would post an update picture on all my onions. About the beginging of June, I removed the row cover from my onions because the leaves were really getting bent and I didn't figure that was a good thing. Most of the leaves are still bent, but are still green, so I assume all is well.

Have a happy summer everyone!
Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Your onion pics are great. You inspired me to do seeds next year and not sets. Thank you for the all the step by steps and accomp. pics. Very good !!

Nichol


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Your onions look great and your log has been insightful. Have or are you have any yellowing of your leaves? My first year planting onions to any serious extent. I have some really great looking green leaves (many between 12-15 green leaves) and my onions appear to be at a similar stage as to yours though not as big. The lower leaves on some of my onions are yellowing and some have just dried up and falling off. Is this normal for this stage? My onions are basically at day 71 with tentative pull date around day 105-119. They are bulbing. Any knowledge would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Todd


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I'm not an experienced onion grower, but from growing onions now, I think a yellowing/dying leaf here and there is completely normal. My onions have been loosing a leaf every now and again since the begining. I don't think it's nomral to have lots of onions with lots of dying leaves though. If it's just one per onion, I think that's normal.

I went out and took a picture of the bottom of my onions. I usually pull off the dead leaves to keep things looking neat, but I did find some I haven't pulled off yet.

HTH
Good luck!
Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Thanks for the info and the pics. That is exactly what my onion leaves look like. Nothing major on any one plant but a leaf every so often browns and dries on each onion just like the ones in your pic. Again thanks for the info and will be looking forward to future updates.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I also started onion from seed for the first time this year and it has been trial and error. Your onions look wonderful and how neat and tidy your garden is. . . Your onions are much bigger then mine, but I planted from seed later and then stuck them in a cold frame early, plenty of light but it might have been to cool. I will try starting from seed earlier next year. Happy gardening!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I guess I haven't mentioned that I do add fertilizer. I have been adding ammonium sulfate every 18 days since the begining. The first time I added it was 2 weeks after planting them in the ground. I really think that is why they are doing so well. We've also had a lot of rain, but not too much (yet...). I don't know if planting my seed so early was the best thing to do. I was kind of thinking I might start next year around Feb. 15th (not Jan. 15th like this year). I don't know....maybe Jan 15 was fine. I guess I'll wait and see how this crop turns out before I make any decisions for next year. I will plant them further apart next year. Every 4" isn't enough room. Every 6" would have been better. All of the onions on the edges are growing at an angle.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

"I have been adding ammonium sulfate every 18 days since the begining."

from what i have read onions require very little fertilization. as new seedlings i give them some dilute neptune's harvest a few times. once out in the garden i fertilize them just 3 times which is a month apart. i've done fine doing this so i'm not sure but you may be over fertilizing (imo you are but...). while the onions may grow fine perhaps it would reduce their storage capacity? just a thought. btw, where did you find a recommendation to fertilize them every 18 days?


"I don't know if planting my seed so early was the best thing to do. I was kind of thinking I might start next year around Feb. 15th (not Jan. 15th like this year). "

i don't know where you are but 1/15 is a bit too early for me in nw ct. i used to start them on 2/22 but this year i moved it back to 2/15. at the earliest i'd go to 2/1 but since i don't plant out until 4/15 even 2/1 seems a bit early.

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Well, from what I've read, onions are heavy feeders and do benefit from heavy fertilization. The bigger the leaves = the bigger the bulb. Im following the advice giving on the Dixondale FAQ page regarding when/how to fertilize. They are experts at growing onions, so I figured I couldnt go wrong with following their advice.

The article mentions to fertilize "every 2 to 3 weeks".18 days is just a number I decided on that was between 2 to 3 weeks.

The only thing that I have read about reducing storage capacity in onions is pulling the onions before all the tops are all yellow/dead. Even a little green left in the leaves reduces their storage capacity. Im going to try to harvest them when everything is good and yellow/brown. Onions having big, green leaves hasnt come up in my reading as a problem when it comes to storage capacity. Time will tell, I guess. Though I really dont think its a problem. Im going to keep on my fertilization schedule as planned and see how things work out.

Im in NW PA (near lake Erie). I do think Jan 15th was too early. Maybe not though. One thing is for sure, Im soon to find out. Ill keep this post going, even if things dont turn out well and I made mistakes. Maybe Ill save some hassle for someone else.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

wow every 14 days for an organic spray! i'm organic and as stated spray neptune's harvest at 3 weeks after transplanting out but then only every 30 days and just 3 times. my onions, copra and red wing, have green growth that looks as vigorous and lush as yours. this has been my method for several years and it works for me. i guess this works too but it seems excessive based upon my experience.

now as far as "reducing storage capacity in onions is pulling the onions before all the tops are all yellow/dead. Even a little green left in the leaves reduces their storage capacity. Im going to try to harvest them when everything is good and yellow/brown." allow me to comment. from what i have read and do, this is the method for harvesting and curing onions.

when about 20% of the tops are starting to fall over, gently push all the greens down at the base of the neck using a bow rake. this puts more energy into the bulb. i leave them in the garden for another week unless a big rain is coming - you really want the onions to not get water at this stage if possible. after about 7-10 days i pull them and let them sit in the garden covering the bulbs with the leaves for about 5-7 days. then i put them on drying racks in my shed (by now it is late august) until mid october. by then all the tops have dried or should have. i cut a few tops just above the bulb and if no liquid can be squeezed out of the dried tops then process all the onions. i cut off the dried tops and trim the roots to 1/4". i store them in the basement in mesh bags cuz i usually have the fridge full of cabbage and potatoes. i don't have potatoes this year so i'll put the onions in the fridge around mid october. 37 degrees is the correct temperature for storage. my onions from last summer are still in good shape, i don't have many left. one year i had them in storage for 14 months.

i think the key thing is to push the greens over at the right time and then to dry them thoroughly for several weeks. storage is important to me as i grow about 100 pounds of onions and that's why i chose these 2 varieties as they store very long.

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Tom, why would you only spray such a weak fertilizer (2-3-1, instead of recommended 21-0-0) only once a month????? You would think, with all the millions you've made in the insurance racket business, that you could afford weekly or every 10 days, no?


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Its been a little over a month since my last onion update. Here is a picture of what they look like now.

It has been a very wet and cool/cold summer here in PA. A couple weeks ago I noticed some of the onion leaves were getting a gray fuzzy mold growing on them. To try to control the spread of the mold, I removed all the leaves with any mold on them. During that first week, the mold seemed to stay on just those first few rows of onions. Here is a picture of the mold.

For the past 5 days weve had nothing but rain and more cool temperatures. There was finally a break in the rain yesterday and I noticed the gray mold on my onion leaves was much worse. I sprayed them with some fungicide (neem oil), but today they look no better. Maybe theyll look better with some time, but Im doubtful. The mold has spread to about half of my onion plants and much more of the leaves are infected. The leaves are soft and falling on top of each other, which makes the situation worse. Here is a picture of the infected leaves circled in red.

I am unsure on how to proceed. I cant just remove all the leaves that are affectedits way too extensive. I hate to pull all infected plants, because that would be half of my entire crop. I dont want this mold to affect the bulb. It would be okay if my bulbs stop getting bigger. They look pretty good right now for the most part (except the onions in the center are smaller due to being planted too close together.Ill change that for next year for sure). I did pull one infected plant to see if the bulb was okay. The bulb was fine (whew!).

If anyone has any experience with molding onions leaves, please share. If I get no advice, Ill probably just wait and see and hope for some sun.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

i've never seen mold on onions but this year is like being in rain forest. i suspect the mold will not harm the bulbs but i really don't know. if you want to try using milk i'll supply the recipe. milk has anti fungal properties. if you are really concerned then start the harvest - push the greens down with a rake at the base ie treat the plants as if 25% are starting to fall over.

o 1 cup milk (any kind but i use whole milk as it has more fat)
o if you use whole milk use 1 teaspoon dish detergent to help the milk stick to the leaves (don't use anti bacterial or you will kill off beneficial bacteria in the garden)
o 1 quart of water
o appropriate amount of liquid fish concentrate fertilizer for 1 quart of water (i use this if i want to fertilize otherwise skip it)

spray this milk solution on the onions early in the day so the sun is on the plants all day. the sun seems to help. this works for powdery mildew on squashes and cukes.

your onions are nice size, what was the variety?

tom


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I did some more reading after I posted. What I have on the leaves is powdery mildew (did I say that before?). I read that this type of fungus will not usually kill the plant, but will create a poor quality bulb, which will get spongy in storage. So SAD! Everywhere I read, it said the infected plants should be culled. Once the plants are infected its very difficult to get rid of it and it will just spread to other plants. So, unfortunately, that's what I did. I pulled any onion that had any fuzz on it. I would say half had the mold. I spent all day chopping them up and putting them in my freezer. I'm hoping to finish that job tomorrow.

I hated pulling all those onions but I didnt want them to just rot away in the garden or in storage. The bulbs I did cut up where in great shape. Ive used lots of frozen onions in the past and I think they are fine. I would just have wished I could have stored them the normal way!

The bulbs were in such great shapeit seemed such a shame to just chop them up. It was a hard decision! I did know I had to pull the plants. The fungus was moving and infected other plants.

I dont have a picture of the remaining onions in the garden. They are falling over because they used each other to support themselves. They arent BENT over just leaning quite a bit. If they start getting yellow, Ill knock them over. I sprayed the remaining onions with neem oil.

I know it's been really wet and cold but I do blame myself for this problem. I planted these plants WAY too close. They are planted where I did have some powdery mildew problems last year (I didn't realize it could infect plants the following year). AND I should have pulled the onions as soon as I saw any fuzz. I would have lost a lot less. A LOT less.... Hindsight is 20/20 :o(

Thanks for the milk recipe.

My onions are copra.

Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Catherine, those onions looked mighty nice! That's a shame you had to pull them. I haven't had any powdery mildew on mine here in Buffalo, but I spray regularly & preventatively with Daconil/Ortho Garden Disease Control or mancozeb. They prevent or control most diseases, mildews, blights & rots on most vegetables (tomatoes, onions, garlic, corn, squash, pumpkins, cukes, etc.) I don't know how effective neem is on onions, I know it's NOT effective on tomatoes for blights. If you are trying to be organic, maybe you can try copper, baking soda or potassium bicarbonate. I've never had much luck with the organic type remedies and just stick to what works for me.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Catherine,

copra store a good year. the onions look nice but the green are so green i'm sure they could have gone another week or more. the fish milk recipe will cure powdery mildew on squash plants so you should have tried it on the onions. you had nothing to lose and maybe could have left them growing. my copra started to fall over a week ago and i bent them over. i pulled them all this week. i bent over the red wing yesterday.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Just wanted to say, thanks for sharing. Great thread!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I know this original post is old. But I was wondering why you would cover onions? I am new to this and was just curious. Thanks


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I am new too at starting onions, you mention using bubble wrap,is that to cut the amout of light? Also can anyone else comment on using flour. lites to start onion seeds? Thanks for the good pics!!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Fluorecent lights are WONDERFUL for starting onions seeds. Mine surely would have died without them. There is a forum called 'growing under lights' check out the FAQ. And, just so you know, you don't have to buy the expensive "grow lights". A simple shoplight strip for 15 bucks will do. Just remember to keep them really close to the bulbs. One to two inches max.

What kind of onions are you growing?

Kim


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Hi Kim; Thanks for the info, have Candy onions +a few white Lisbon, last yr I planted a few Lisbon directly in garden & left them grow, got as big as softballs & they are still keeping well!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Pwdsht-
How far apart did you grow the big onions? I planted too close together last year and ended up overcrowding and they were stunted. How long did they take to mature?

Kim


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Kim; I planted 6" apart & 99% were very large, It was 15th of Sept. when tops were fully dried


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Awesome! I'm putting mine out tomorrow, and will try that spacing instead.

Kim


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I just wanted to say that I loved this thread. The average second year gardener is growing onion sets. Mom2ems is growing, err going places. You grow girl!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Okay...I started this thread over a year ago and this is my last update (probably!) on my onions. (I was happy to see this post revived!)

I let those onions sit in my garage for about 6 weeks. It was real obvious when they were dry enough...no more green was visible. I braided them into ropes and stored them in my unheated, yet insulated garage all winter. It gets really cold in there but it doesn't freeze. This was not optimal, but it's what I have. This worked REALLY well. I lost maybe 10 to rot out of all those onions. By mid March it was getting too warm in the garage and I put the rest of my onions in the fridge. I think I waited a week or so longer than I should have (note to self). Some of the onions were starting to sprout...not too many though. I still have plenty to last through till August (though I doubt they will survive that long...they were not stored perfectly).

So, there it is :o)

Catherine

and just saying....I did start up my onions this year in a 1/2 inch plug tray for ease of transplanting...BIG MISTAKE. Those things dried out so fast and it was so easy to over water. UGH! I killed half of them. I transplanted the survivors to my "old" planting containers and they are doing much better. I wanted 200 onion plants...I might get 150 if I'm lucky. Oh well...live and learn!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I am taking a minute to comment on this thread. I hardly ever post on gardenweb. I use this site mostly for research and find that I learn more from this site than the library of books I have.

Catherine, I am very impressed with your commitment to this thread. I actually read the entire thread which I rarely do. Your garden is beautiful! An inspiration to myself and I am sure, many others. I have been growing a veggie garden for over 35 years and this thread on onions was very knowledgeable for me as onions have been one of the hardest plants I have ever tried growing. I have always started them from seed and they never get larger than a golf ball. Anyway, loved the photos and loved your enthusiasm! Good luck to you and thank you for sharing! Renee


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I was glad this thread was revived too. I've enjoyed reading it since the beginning. You did a great job for a new to onions gardener or an experienced one. You should be proud.

Nancy


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Hi, Catherine! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. We were thinking about growing onions from seed too. This is a wealth of information. Appreciate it so much! Excellent job!!! :-)


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Thanks Catherine. I'm growing from seed for the first time this year. I did mine by WS. They only have two leaves, but they should probably go out in the garden soon.

Caryl


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

This thread was so helpful, especially the pictures! Thanks a lot Catherine :)


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I just stuck my green onion seedlings out in the garden today. So proud of them! Is there anything I can do to ensure they stay srong? I can deal with frost by covering them till they're established, but I'm worried about wind damage and the like. Probably being overprotective...

Oh yeah, and I bought some Georgia Sweet stick outs, pretty big, a while back. They seem to be doing absolutely nothing. Not dying, but not exactly taking off either. There is some new growth, but I'm not sure what to expect. Last year, my onion sets grew like crazy. What gives?

Kim


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I was transplanting my onion seedlings tonday and a neighbor who also gardens stopped by and said that I should be trimming the roots from the onion seedlings so they are short. Well I have actually seen onion seedlings sold in the stores and the roots are short so I trimmed off a good part of the roots and planted them. Now I'm concerned that I may have made a mistake in doing this and killed 100 onion plants. anyone have any thoughts?


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

When transplanting my onion seedlings a week or two ago I accidentally ripped many of their roots off. However within about a few days they started to stand up straight and seemed to recover well. Only a few died. But as a policy I wouldn't recommend deliberately cutting the roots. I think all this cutting back mentality is taken too far by most people. The plant grows by expanding root and leaf area, destroying these just reduces the plants capacity to grow and shocks it needlessly. It you want a plant to grow...let it grow.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Great thread!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Just my 2 cents!!!! And what works for me. I only plant sets for green onions.I like big & sweet onions.I used to grow my own plants yrs. ago but now I buy plants from dixondale.I get bigger onions from there plants than I did from what I grew and a lot easer to plant.I plant as early as I can a light frost or snow will not hurt them.I had 2 inches on them 2 days ago and it was 23 degreeze last night and they are looking good today! I plant a wide row of 4 on 10 inch centers.Onions do not like to be crowded.I fertelize with 10-10-10 about 3 times through the growing season once their growing good.When 3/4 of the tops have fallen over[DO NOT BEND THE TOPS OVER] I pull them.I leave in the garden a couple days depending on the weather to dry the dirt on them so it will rub off with a gloved hand. I then trim the tops to 1 inch and cut off the roots. Then I put them inside out of the weather but where the air can move through them for a month then into storage. This is what works for me.Any questions please ask. YOPPER


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

That was the coolest crop of onions I have ever saw. Sorry you lost some but still, that reall was cool.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

WOW!! Excellent thread! I'm thinking of growing my onions from seeds so this thread totally inspired me. Thanks!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Good threads never die!
I loved seeing the progression and like others said, it was totally inspirational. I haven't nearly enough room to grow 1000 onions but I will try growing about 50. Thanks for all the great info, the helpful personal tips and the photos!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I have actually read this thread twice - in Jan 2011 and again today to remind myself of all the things I read here as this is my first time growing the onion family.

I was ready to plant out May 2 but we have threat of very heavy rain for tonight so will plant out tomorrow.

The plants are all a good size with nice bulbing (bulging). I haven't trimmed the tops of the onions (or shallots & leeks) since I put them in our mini cold greenhouse to harden off. The tops are about 10-12 inches. Is this OK?


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

This is probably one of the best threads I've read.
It has given me the inspiration to grow my own onions from seed. My seedlings are are about 3" tall and I have the bed ready for transplant when they get bigger.

Just wanted to 'bump' this thread back up for others to read.

Larry


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Great thread, Catherine and everyone!!! I've been gardening about 2 years and still I'm still learning a lot. My onions never got bigger than a tennis ball. In 2012, I think I'll plant them farther apart (maybe 8") and add nitrogen more often.

Does the sulfur in "ammonium sulfate" make the onions taste stronger? I like the mild candy onions and hesitate to add sulfur to the garden.

Also (if you're still there Catherine) how did the green beans work out planted next to the onions? I did that and it seemed ok, but I've read that they shouldn't be planted next to each other. Anyone know if this is a nitrogen issue?

Fantastic pictures!


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I saw this post about a year ago, but now the pictures seem to be gone. If Mom2ems is still around, would you be able to repost the pictures? This was a great resource.

Many thanks


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I'e grown onions before, but not in awhile. I have tried seeds, and I have tried plants from dixondale.

My ambition this year has been to grow cippolini from seed, and it has not been easy. This thread is encouraging me.

I live in an intermediate zone, and would love to try growing a short day cippolini over the winter, sine it is very hot and dry here in the summer, especially where I grow them. I bought two varieties from seeds from Italy, put them in self watering seed trays in Nov to plant out in Feb, which is what was suggested in Golden Gate Gardening. They looked great for about 6 weeks, then I bottom fed them with diluted fish emulsion. It started going downhill from there, and I was only able to salvage a few. Not sure if it was starting to go downhill before I fed them, and that is why I fed them. I know I was worried they were planted t thickly, but didn't seem ready to move to bigger pots. I did move some, and those are among the survivors. Those are now planted in clumps in my earthbox outside. I didn't t feel I could successfully separate them when I planted them out. I also direct seeded some in the same box, and in a tray inside, but its been two weeks and neither are up.

Sigh.

The ones bellow are from 04.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I can't believe this post is still going!! I haven't checked in on it for a long time. That's awesome. I'm sorry the pictures are no longer visible. I no longer use the web hosting company that the pictures were uploaded to. I can't edit my posts to change the links to the pictures either.....that's unfortunate.

I'll copy/paste all my posts/replies into one new follow-up post with pictures that load for anyone who wants the information. It will be on my to-do list in the next few days.

~Catherine


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

**This post is a follow-up to my original post back from 2009 with the images back inside the dialog. My intent is to put all my original responses in this one reply so you can see how my growing season went from start to finish in this one reply. I won't paste EVERY reply I made, but I'll put in what gives the most complete picture on how I grew my onions. It may seem a bit choppy at times, but in some of my responses I was replying to others comments. You'll get the gist of what I did, mistakes and all.

~Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Wed, Mar 4, 09

Hello everyone!!

I thought I would share with all of you some progress pictures of my onions. I can't find too many pictures of baby onions, so I thought I would share some of my pictures. This is my first year growing onions of any kind. This will be my second year having a vegetable garden. So please keep this in mind. I'm a newbie and I'm just learning. Because I had no experience with growing onions, I wanted to start out with the cheapest method possible...seeds.

I planted Copra onion seeds starting on January 15th (kind of early, I know). I was REAL anal when seeding them. I planted them in 3 rows, 1" apart; 2 seeds per 1/4th inch, using tweezers. I thinned them out as they came up. I seeded the onion seeds over 5 days. Here is a picture of them at about 5 to 10 days old:


I planted them in Miracle-Gro potting mix. Looking back on it now, I should have used a seed starting mix or something much less dense. Over the next weeks, as they grew tall, I would trim them to 3". They also would really lean toward the window/light. I would turn them, but still they would really lean. So, I put some reflective bubble wrap I had left over from an attic project around the onions. This helped the leaning issue tremendously! At about 4 weeks old, I noticed they were looking really sad soon after I had really watered them. A day or so passed and they were still looking bad, so I decided to sprinkle some bone meal on them, and water them AGAIN real good. That was a mistake (I hadn’t realized the original problem was from over watering). Those onions started smelling really bad and they looked all deflated and yellow. I thought for sure they were goners! Here’s the picture:


After several days of drying out, they started to come back. Whew! They did lose their second leaf, but at least they weren’t dead.


Here is a picture of my onions today at about 7 weeks old.


I'll try to keep this post updated with my progress or failure of my onions. I'm hopeful :o)

Garden on everyone!
Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Mar 4, 09 at 23:01

I didn't use any bottom heat. The room temperature was/is about 72 degrees on cloudy days and probably closer to 75 degrees on sunny days (this window is my bedroom, so I keep this room comfortable). I'm not sure what conditions were present when the seeds were coming up (less sunny I'm sure...it was in the middle of January in PA...lol). I did use a clear plastic dome to retain good humidity. I used pre-dampened soil and I'm pretty sure I didn't water the seeds after planting. I thought there was enough moisture from the damp soil to activate the seeds.

I purchased my seeds from Johnnyseeds.com. I bought the pack with over 1000 seeds and planted them all. I think the germination rate on the pack said 75%. I got at least that much if not closer to 90%.

I'm sorry your germination rate was so low. That would truly be disappointing.

Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Mon, Mar 9, 09

......

I think I planted mine a tad deeper than a 1/4th of an inch. I put some masking tape on the tweezers I used to mark the depth so all my seeds were at the same depth. Most germinated at about day 5. Some came up a bit later, but not more then a day or so later.

Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Fri, Mar 13, 09

In the past few days, I’ve noticed my onions were getting a bit pale. Some of the leaves were really pale and dying off. They were a bit dry, so I watered them. This didn’t improve the color at all. I waited until they needed watering again but this time I added Miracle-Gro to the water. I hope this improves the color of the leaves and stops the die off of the leaves. Most of the plants have 2-3 leaves. I think they should have more by now (they are 1.5 months old). They would have more if the leaves would stop dying off (my fault, I realize). I have been holding off on adding any fertilizer because I used Miracle-Gro potting soil with fertilizer in it. It says on the bag it should feed the plants for up to 3 months. Well, apparently not so with my onions. I did test the Miracle-Gro soil and the ph was a bit high at 8 (optimum for onions is 6 - 6.5). But the potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus were in the medium level range (comparing with the color charts provided with the soil kit). They have grown quite a bit taller in the past week. Maybe thicker, but they are still thin (still normal and okay I think). Looking back I should have added some fertilizer in their water 2 weeks ago at least.

In the next few days it’s supposed to be real sunny, so that should help them out also. I plan on getting a fluorescent light today. This Sunday I start sewing lots of different plants. The light will be nice to have and I won’t have to be too worried about them not getting enough light.

The one thing I've really noticed about growing from seed, is how emotionally involved I am with these plants. I get a bit sad when they look sick and excited when they do well. How pathetic is that! I don't remember feeling this way when I would buy plants from the gardening center.

That’s it for now!
Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Tue, Mar 17, 09

I did go out and get 2, 4’ shop lights. I emptied a shelving unit I had in the basement and put it by the window with the lights. I turn the lights on in the evening when it’s starts to get dark and on cloudy days.
Here is a picture of my onions. They are now 8 weeks old.


They don’t look too bad. I did cut away any dying leaves. They are maybe the thickness of toothpicks. In this picture the leaves are about 6" tall. I do cut them back to 3-4", which I did right after this photo was taken.

Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Fri, Mar 27, 09

My onions are now 10 weeks old...WHA-WHO!! I have been trimming them to 3" at least twice a week now. I think I'll start keeping them at 5".....3" seems too short now. The base where the leaves come out of the plant is higher than it used to be. They grow about a 1/2 inch a day! Go onions go! I water them with Miracle-Gro once a week. Here are some pictures:


Some onions have 4 green leaves and some have 2. Here is one with 3. I think they've had about 5 to 6 leaves total, but they die off over time. I think it might be normal. I hope it is, anyway.


I hope everyone else's onions are doing well!
Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Sun, Apr 26, 09

I finally planted my onions today! I’m glad I don’t need to "baby-sit" them anymore. Here is a picture of some of them before I planted them out. They are over 3 months old now.


Here is a picture of them all planted. There are about 350-370 onions. I forgot to count them after I covered them with the row cover. I was just tired and glad to be done. It looks like I murdered all the onions!! I sure hope they spunk back up.


I think next year I’ll try using those 280 plug trays. That might help with the transplant shock. Separating the onion roots was surprisingly easy, but I did notice lots of extra roots left in the dirt in the pots. I was trying to be careful.

Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Mon, Apr 27, 09

It was really warm here when I planted my onions. It was also very windy. The temp. was in the 80's, I think. Cool and calm would have been perfect. If these onions don't recover, I'll know it's worth waiting for a perfect day to plant.

I did water them as I was planting. I was really careful with that, because I have lost plants (once) for not being careful about keeping the roots wet at all times. I was being careful, but it was really windy and they could have gotten some damage (let's hope not!). It's always windy here, so I couldn't just wait for the wind to die down. I've given up on trying to grow anything on a trellis. They ALWAYS blow off or get damaged.

I have been keeping an eye on my onions and so far they look okay. I watered them today also. They haven't really spunked up yet, but the new leaves on the onions are pointed up. The older leaves are still down, but not limp. I know my onions were used to growing next to each other and they didn't need to support themselves. I'm hoping that they are just adjusting to their new environment. The next nice day, I'll see if I can't straighten them up by watering them and pushing around the dirt a bit. We're in for some rain so it might be a few days.

I'll take some pictures too.
Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Sat, May 16, 09

I bought my seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

I finally got around to taking my camera out to the garden. My onions have recovered nicely. It did take a week though. I lost 5 plants...maybe they were buried too deep or some fertilizer burn. I shouldn't have sprinkled that little bit of fertilizer on the dirt before planting. I ran out of bone meal, so I thought, why not? I will not do that again! However, the plants are 3 weeks now in the ground and most have doubled in size.


Here is an average sized onion plant.


_________________________________________________________

Sat, May 16, 09

I thought I would post an update picture on all my onions. About the beginging of June, I removed the row cover from my onions because the leaves were really getting bent and I didn't figure that was a good thing. Most of the leaves are still bent, but are still green, so I assume all is well.



Have a happy summer everyone!
Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Fri, Jun 26, 09

I'm not an experienced onion grower, but from growing onions now, I think a yellowing/dying leaf here and there is completely normal. My onions have been losing a leaf every now and again since the beginning. I don't think it's normal to have lots of onions with lots of dying leaves though. If it's just one per onion, I think that's normal.
I went out and took a picture of the bottom of my onions. I usually pull off the dead leaves to keep things looking neat, but I did find some I haven't pulled off yet.


Hope that helped Good luck!
Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Jul 1, 09 at 11:35

I guess I haven't mentioned that I do add fertilizer. I have been adding ammonium sulfate every 18 days since the beginning. The first time I added it was 2 weeks after planting them in the ground. I really think that is why they are doing so well. We've also had a lot of rain, but not too much (yet...). I don't know if planting my seed so early was the best thing to do. I was kind of thinking I might start next year around Feb. 15th (not Jan. 15th like this year). I don't know....maybe Jan 15 was fine. I guess I'll wait and see how this crop turns out before I make any decisions for next year. I will plant them further apart next year. Every 4" isn't enough room. Every 6" would have been better. All of the onions on the edges are growing at an angle.

Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Jul 1, 09 at 13:42

Well, from what I've read, onions are heavy feeders and do benefit from heavy fertilization. The bigger the leaves = the bigger the bulb. I’m following the advice giving on the Dixondale FAQ page regarding when/how to fertilize. They are experts at growing onions, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with following their advice.

The article mentions to fertilize "every 2 to 3 weeks".18 days is just a number I decided on that was between 2 to 3 weeks.

…..

Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Sun, Jul 26, 09

It’s been a little over a month since my last onion update. Here is a picture of what they look like now.



It has been a very wet and cool/cold summer here in PA. A couple weeks ago I noticed some of the onion leaves were getting a gray fuzzy mold growing on them. To try to control the spread of the mold, I removed all the leaves with any mold on them. During that first week, the mold seemed to stay on just those first few rows of onions. Here is a picture of the mold.


For the past 5 days we’ve had nothing but rain and more cool temperatures. There was finally a break in the rain yesterday and I noticed the gray mold on my onion leaves was much worse. I sprayed them with some fungicide (neem oil), but today they look no better. Maybe they’ll look better with some time, but I’m doubtful. The mold has spread to about half of my onion plants and much more of the leaves are infected. The leaves are soft and falling on top of each other, which makes the situation worse. Here is a picture of the infected leaves circled in red.


I am unsure on how to proceed. I can’t just remove all the leaves that are affected, it’s way too extensive. I hate to pull all infected plants, because that would be half of my entire crop. I don’t want this mold to affect the bulb. It would be okay if my bulbs stop getting bigger. They look pretty good right now for the most part (except the onions in the center are smaller due to being planted too close together). I’ll change that for next year for sure). I did pull one infected plant to see if the bulb was okay. The bulb was fine (whew!).

If anyone has any experience with molding onions leaves, please share. If I get no advice, I’ll probably just wait and see and hope for some sun.

Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Mon, Jul 27, 09

I did some more reading after I posted. What I have on the leaves is powdery mildew (did I say that before?). I read that this type of fungus will not usually kill the plant, but will create a poor quality bulb, which will get spongy in storage. So SAD! Everywhere I read, it said the infected plants should be culled. Once the plants are infected it’s very difficult to get rid of it and it will just spread to other plants. So, unfortunately, that's what I did. I pulled any onion that had any fuzz on it. I would say half had the mold. I spent all day chopping them up and putting them in my freezer. I'm hoping to finish that job tomorrow.



I hated pulling all those onions but I didn’t want them to just rot away in the garden or in storage. The bulbs I did cut up where in great shape. I’ve used lots of frozen onions in the past and I think they are fine. I would just have wished I could have stored them the normal way!

The bulbs were in such great shape…it seemed such a shame to just chop them up. It was a hard decision! I did know I had to pull the plants. The fungus was moving and infected other plants.

I don’t have a picture of the remaining onions in the garden. They are falling over because they used each other to support themselves. They aren’t BENT over just leaning quite a bit. If they start getting yellow, I’ll knock them over. I sprayed the remaining onions with neem oil.

I know it's been really wet and cold but I do blame myself for this problem. I planted these plants WAY too close. They are planted where I did have some powdery mildew problems last year (I didn't realize it could infect plants the following year). AND I should have pulled the onions as soon as I saw any fuzz. I would have lost a lot less. A LOT less.... Hindsight is 20/20 :o(

My onions are copra.

Catherine
_________________________________________________________

Thu, Mar 25, 10

Okay...I started this thread over a year ago and this is my last update (probably!) on my onions. (I was happy to see this post revived!)

I let those onions sit in my garage for about 6 weeks. It was real obvious when they were dry enough...no more green was visible. I braided them into ropes and stored them in my unheated, yet insulated garage all winter. It gets really cold in there but it doesn't freeze. This was not optimal, but it's what I have. This worked REALLY well. I lost maybe 10 to rot out of all those onions. By mid-March it was getting too warm in the garage and I put the rest of my onions in the fridge. I think I waited a week or so longer than I should have (note to self). Some of the onions were starting to sprout...not too many though. I still have plenty to last through till August (though I doubt they will survive that long...they were not stored perfectly).

So, there it is :o)

Catherine

and just saying....I did start up my onions this year in a 1/2 inch plug tray for ease of transplanting...BIG MISTAKE. Those things dried out so fast and it was so easy to over water. UGH! I killed half of them. I transplanted the survivors to my "old" planting containers and they are doing much better. I wanted 200 onion plants...I might get 150 if I'm lucky. Oh well...live and learn!

THE END


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Hello, I was just reading your thread and was wondering about the wilting you experienced after you planted out your seedlings. I just planted 1/3 of mine today and they wilted and have not stood back up yet. Of course I am worried they are not going to make it. How long did it take for yours to perk up after transplanting?


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Hi Catherine

I still cannot see the pictures, not sure if its just me or what.

Regards


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I'm interested in seeing the pictures but could not view it either.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I also enjoy this thread, and also see none of Catherine's photos. For years, I failed at growing onions. Last year I had much better success (first-prize ribbon at the garden club). I grew Ailsa Craig, Sierra Blanca, and a few yellow types (Patterson, Bridger, Early Yellow). This year, I sowed about 1,200 seeds (the same 2 whites, assorted yellows, Yellow di Parma, and Red Burgundy).

I use Gaia Green Living Soil (very much like ProMix MINUS the chemicals PLUS earthworm castings). Most of my seeds germinate within a few days of sowing. Miracle Gro uses chemicals in their mixes and that is not something I want for seedlings. Potting Mix is for house plants. I think seeds really need the best mix you can give them... definitely not black soil at $1./bag, etc.

So most of the onions sprouted. I know farmers who start their huge Spanish onions in January. Their onions are huge. Here, 3rd week of April, I am planting them out into the beds (an assortment of all the types).

By the time you eat them (green, small, etc.), I do not think that 1,000 onions is a lot. Onions are in just about every sauce, soup, meal, recipe, and the yellows are for winter use.

In the image (cell phone through a screen), you can see that I sowed into 3" and 4" pots (like we buy them at the nursery, packed edge to edge). The empty pot on the left is Red Bull seed from Johnny's... a couple of years old (they say that onion seed does not keep... seems to be true since not one sprouted). The yellow thing is just sticky for bugs.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Updating my post from Feb 2013 with some pictures of some recently harvested shallots and cipollini onions.


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

Darn. The pics.?


 o
RE: Onions from seed....my progress

I noticed OP saying some thing like Holding transplanting till AFTER LAST FROST DATE. I must remind you that ONIONS ARE FROST HARDY. A light late frost is never going to harm them. I understand the need to germinate inside, because you want to get a head start, but once they germinated and have 4"+ leaves, then one should not worry about frost.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Allium Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here