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Help! Should I let my onions bloom?

Posted by rainypnw 7b (My Page) on
Sat, May 22, 10 at 21:21

Hi all - I'm new to onions, so bear with me. I planted
corms (bulbs?) last October - generic white and yellow from
Lowe's in very large well-drained tubs. They sprouted in
January, and are 18" tall now.

But they've just started budding up like they're going to
bloom. Is that a GOOD thing or a BAD thing? I thought that
if they bloom, they won't bulb out... should I cut the
blooms off?

I also planted Walla Walla Sweets in the ground a while back,
but they were from little bundled sets that looked like
green onions. They show now signs of blooming, but aren't
anywhere near as big.

I don't know how to post pictures here, but if you click
on my garden blog link below you'll be able to see exactly
what I'm talking about. It's posted near the top of the
blog so shouldn't be hard to find.

Help - need to know soon or these guys are going to REALLY
bloom, not just be bulbs!

Thank you so much - I learn a LOT here!!


Here is a link that might be useful: My garden blog - ONION PICTURES NEAR THE TOP

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help! Should I let my onions bloom?

Farmer dave, I've got bad news for you.
When onions go for seed, they will not bulb properly.
You can do a couple of things:One; pull them and use them as green onion/scallion.
Number two: pinch off those buda as soon as you see them.
Even then, according to master FARMERDILLA, their onions will be small and not a keeper.
Last year some of mine bolted. I had no clue then as what to do.
most of those onions roted. When you cut them length wise you will see a brown layer in the middle.
That is where they start roting.
If you choose to let them grow bulbs, use those first within 2 to 3 months first.

RE: Help! Should I let my onions bloom?

Dave - same thing is happening to me. This is about the fifth year we have grown onions and the first time we have had some of them start to go to flower. We snipped off the flowers/stem on some of them, "stepped" on some (recommendation from an old timer) and left some alone. It's an experiment to see which works better.

But I'm curious to know why this is occurring since it never had before. I wonder if it is because we had a short stretch of very warm weather(in the 80's) in April.

RE: Help! Should I let my onions bloom?

Hi Karen - I'm sort of doing the same. We pulled up the ones with the bigger buds - they were beautiful, about 1.5" in diameter and quite yummy. (Photos at my blog post below). Others I snipped the blossom buds, just to see what they'll do. Time will tell I guess...

Here is a link that might be useful: My 2010 Garden Blog

RE: Help! Should I let my onions bloom?

Onions are triggered to flower by cold when they are of sufficient size, ~3/8" and 5 leaves. Because of this you do not want to plant your onions too early. At the same time you want your onions to be as large as possible, so we tend to push the plant's growth near the danger zone. Set growers in particular raise them as large as they think they can get away with without bolting. If they bolted this year, you should try planting out the sets a few weeks later next year, or better yet use seed or transplants. A row cover early in the season can also keep them warmer, while also speeding growth.

This year I have about 400 onions of half a dozen varieties that I planted as seed in mid Oct (outdoors), and about 20 grown from sets planted in April. About half the set plants are bolting, but not a single seed produced plant has bolted. The plants from seed are larger as well. Based on that performance, I can't really see any redeeming virtue in onion sets.

RE: Help! Should I let my onions bloom?

Can you grow onions from the blooms?

RE: Help! Should I let my onions bloom?

Promethean is on track. Sets just wanna bolt.

Susun, the blooms are edible and in fact contain high levels of the neutraceuticals unique to onions. If you want to wait for the black seeds to mature, you can gather them and use them as sprouting seeds. The best shot at vegetative propagation would be to cut off all but one-half inch of onion attached to the roots, and replant the roots with nub. (Bolted onions will often pull apart into two plants - the flower-stalk part and a good green onion. The replantable side is the non-flowering one.)

Many alliums will regrow this way. I have leeks that I've regenerated at least five times by replanting the throwaway roots with nub. Technically, they're going on three years old.

Here is a link that might be useful: sets vs seeds

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