Return to the Allium Forum | Post a Follow-Up

1st Time Onion Grower

Posted by Sbarter Zone 7KY (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 24, 05 at 12:09

I planted onion sets in March. I harvested them this past weekend and its clear something is very wrong! I ended up with small, soft and very smelly onions - they didn't appear to have any signficant root system and they couldn't be harvested via the stalk - it was too soggy.

What happened?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: 1st Time Onion Grower

Hi. Sounds like they rotted maybe to wet i don't know what your wheater is like there but if your soil does not drain well they rot every time.
They love fertile soil.
Go organic well drained soil(plant them on a hill if ya have one or a raised bed) and feed them they love to eat.
Dig up your old crop and put in a cover crop then you'll be ready for next time .
good luck.

RE: 1st Time Onion Grower

For one, they really aren't supposed to have a stalk. If there is one, that would mean that they probably went to seed. When that happens, no bulbs. And what little you do get doesn't keep. If you let them bloom, that would explain your problem.


RE: 1st Time Onion Grower


I grew onions from sets last year and got mostly small onions and a few mediums. Then I found that, to get large onions, you must grow them from plants or seeds (same as plants but you grow your own plants). The seeds should be started early (February) and the plants set out early (April or early May).

Sets work OK for green onions.


RE: 1st Time Onion Grower

Sbarter: It's likely that those few monsoons we had last week and the week before did you in, in the second place. Onions in Kentucky fully bulb out in early- to mid-July. So you may have had bulbs that rotted because of those storms.

In the first place, however, sets were a poor choice. We are in a neutral or short day length area (depends on which authority you choose). Commercial sets are almost all long day length varieties. Which means that even when they do grow, bulbs will be small.

In addition, as Martin points out, you may have had plants that bolted. This is very common with sets, because onions are biennials, and sets are actually second-year plants. So the onions "think" it's time to set seed, rather than grow bulbs.

Just as an aside, underground onions and garlic should be lifted by digging (a fork usually works best rather than a shovel). Most times, if you try pulling them up by the foliage, the bulbs will break off in the ground, particularly if you have clay soil, as is found in most of Kentucky.

RE: 1st Time Onion Grower

  • Posted by coho z8/9 N. Calif (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 26, 05 at 23:44

Looking at the map, seems day neutral would be safest, but you never know, until you try, just what you can grow in your own garden. Even then, one year is often different than another.

RE: 1st Time Onion Grower

I always use onion seed plants. I only have a few sets after they were forced on me!
My new variety darlings are "Varsity" (large white) and Greek Salad (large red) Try them next spring :-)
Good luck
Maryanne in WMass

RE: 1st Time Onion Grower

Maryanne, I assume from your location that Varsity and Greek Salad are long day-length varieties. As such, they won't do all that well for Sbarter down here in Kentucky.

 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