Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

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Bower
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Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#1

Post: # 9554Unread post Bower
Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:54 am

I was looking at some videos last night after reading through Mike's thread about starting onions from seed.
Deeper pots were mentioned as the key to big starts, even for mass plantings.
Another point was to give them liquid ferts once a week.
Then on youtube I caught sight of the bundles of starts that someone bought from Dixondale. Those are a really nice size! Like pencil thick or better afaict. They come with the roots trimmed and iirc the tops are trimmed too, but they are so luscious and big I bet they get new roots in no time.
So my question is, how deep of a pot do you need to grow starts of that size?
If the pot is really deep, is it okay/good/beneficial to trim the roots at planting?
What would be the optimal density for a mass planting, if you hope to grow honkin big starts?
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#2

Post: # 9561Unread post Rajun Gardener
Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:36 am

Check out their youtube channel, they grow them in the field densely seeded and fertilized.

These guys are rolling along harvesting starts. https://www.youtube.com/user/DixondaleFarms/videos
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#3

Post: # 9578Unread post Bower
Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:04 pm

I guess the big question for me is, how can I do that indoors under lights. They are definitely densely planted but in the field there's no restriction of the depth. They didn't trim the roots though. Unless that is when they pull them out of the ground.
In containers you end up with a mess of long roots and if the container is shallow they even grow along the bottom.
I did some onions in 9 cells (72 per 1020) and they definitely were bigger and produced a better onion than mass planted at the same depth.
But I may be able to do better in a deeper container - if I can find something.
I have lots of standard 4 inch pots I could use, but I wonder if the extra inch is enough depth.
Also the trouble with them, they don't fit neatly in a 1020 tray and so you end up with wasted space.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#4

Post: # 9597Unread post worth1
Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:09 pm

I did but outside.
Here is a sample.
I waited to post here till today my pulling and planting day.
The best were about the size of a pencil.
You dont want them any bigger than that and always plant some smaller.
Reason is they dont trigger to seed until they get around six or seven leaves.
If they have less they wont trigger due to weather or at least that is how I have understood it from them.
I planted these and hammered the soil with 13-13-13.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#5

Post: # 9611Unread post Bower
Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:16 pm

Those look awesome Worth!
Dang I can't do mine outside, it's a snowbank. :x :lol:
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#6

Post: # 9615Unread post ddsack
Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:54 pm

Bower, I now start my onion seeds in the round shallow bulb pots, I'm guessing they are 5-6 inches deep and 8-10" across, don't have any in the house right now to check. Also use cut down plastic gallon milk jugs, about the same depth. They easily will fill up the containers with roots, no matter the depth. I suppose that since the seedlings are grown in such tight quarters, they send out deeper roots instead of the shorter side roots that bump into their neighbor. I am lazy about starting onions early, but this year I will try to do it sooner than the end of March.
Once they germinate, as long as the day temps are above freezing, they go outside during the day next to our wood siding which reflects some heat, but always back in at night.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#7

Post: # 9626Unread post MissS
Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:10 pm

I usually sow them in a coffee can. That gives them enough space until they are planted out. The roots fill it pretty well too.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#8

Post: # 9637Unread post worth1
Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:54 am

One of those rectangular aluminum roasting pans would be perfect.
Mine were grown in my no drain sight tube tubs.
I can assure you I could have grown them bigger but they were pretty much neglected.
The things were inundated with weeds.
Sticky grass to be exact.
There was one huge crab grass plant in it that was so tender and succulent that you could have eaten it.
This due to the fertilizer.
The tub you see the starts in are where the seedlings were grown.
A little crowded but I'll thin for green onions.
The store bought green onions I planted are over the top good and tender
And huge too.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#9

Post: # 9872Unread post MsCowpea
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:50 pm



This goes from seeding to harvest. I Just used his planting out recommendations for some short day onions transplants I found at a big box store while on a trip. My local store only had long day onions and we need short day onions. I planted them in a cluster.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#10

Post: # 9984Unread post Bower
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:52 am

My browser won't play that video for some reason. :(
What I would like to know, if you fill a coffee can or 6-8 inch or deeper with roots, do you trim the roots when you plant them?
@worth1 your beautiful onions have little short roots like the ones at Dixondale. Trimmed? or grew that way in the 'secret ingredient' ie Texas soil! ;)
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#11

Post: # 9999Unread post worth1
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:19 am

No I just yanked them out of the soil and the roots broke off.
The container was full of roots.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#12

Post: # 10005Unread post worth1
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:39 am

The onions don't really need the long roots so they trim everything up for shipping.
The roots will grow back fast.
I have taken onions I pulled and let sit in the yard all summer long and re planted them in the fall for green onions.
Onions are hard to kill.
My store bought onions in the garage are sprouting and growing roots this time of year.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#13

Post: # 10025Unread post MsCowpea
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:23 pm

Bower, if you google Charles Dowding and ‘you tube’ can you play the videos that come up?? He has the most informative videos. And many he edits to include the whole growing process from start to finish. In ‘How to Grow Spring Onions and Onions’ he plants seeds, shows how to plant the transplants, then harvests them.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#14

Post: # 10084Unread post Bower
Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:27 pm

@MsCowpea I just tried and got the same - my browser doesn't recognize the available format, something about HTML5. :roll: Sooner or later my browser will catch up, or Charles will realize he lost a few peeps by being up to date. :twisted: ;)
@worth1 that's what I needed to know, thanks!
As long as a deeper container and way long roots doesn't mean I need even deeper soil to plant them out into, it'll be okay.
I will see what I've got and maybe experiment with different depths? Always looking for the minimum soil demand in mid winter. And must fit under lights.
I measured, and the cell packs are a measly two inches. 4 inch nursery squares are 3 1/2 inch deep. catbox 5 inches.... don't worry, no cat! :lol:
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#15

Post: # 10105Unread post worth1
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:07 pm

Sometimes I lay in bed at night thinking about onions and garlic.
No kidding. :roll:
I still dream about growing the worlds largest onion under lights. :lol:
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#16

Post: # 10286Unread post patihum
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:20 pm

When starting from seed the most important factor for me in getting healthy, husky seedlings is keeping the tops trimmed to 2 inches or so while they're growing especially under lights.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#17

Post: # 10395Unread post worth1
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:39 am

patihum wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:20 pm
When starting from seed the most important factor for me in getting healthy, husky seedlings is keeping the tops trimmed to 2 inches or so while they're growing especially under lights.
I can agree with that even though I have never grown an onion under lights.
The things get way tall if you dont.
I trimmed mine at plant out so they wouldn't fall over and break their necks.
If the necks get broke ant any time before harvest it is game over.
I collected some scrap grid wire from work to make hoop supports for many of mine.
One year it came a massive down pour right when they were starting to bulb up.
Al the necks got broken and that was it.
Ticked me off big time. :x
I had onions with 13, 14 and 15 leaves maybe more they would have been huge. :cry:
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#18

Post: # 12476Unread post Paquebot
Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:17 pm

Dixondale plants are not always long. I have seen many cases at Jung's and there have been some which are barely 3" but over 100 in a bundle. Regardless of their length, first tool needed is a scissors. No matter how big the plants are, roots are trimmed to no more than ½". Those early roots are expendable and new ones will quickly form. Also, if too big many of those varieties may bolt rather than bulb.

By the way, Dixondale once quoted me in their catalog back in the 1980s.

Martin
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#19

Post: # 23311Unread post ponyexpress
Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:45 am

This topic is of interest to me. I grew my onions starts in clamshell containers starting Feb 1st. Here is what they look like.
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I transplanted them to the garden around the second week of April. They were the size of a thick toothpick. I watered the soil in the container so I didn't have any trouble separating the roots. I used natural sunlight only so I would put them outside whenever it was sunny and above freezing. I also trimmed the leaves to 2-3" long.

When I transplanted them, they took off unlike the Dixondale transplants which were dormant and needed 2 weeks to get going.

Next year, I plan to start my seeds January 1st. I'll put more soil in the container so it's deeper. I will also fertilize them with a weak solution. Lastly, I plan to supplement the natural light with my grow lights. Aim for 13 hours of daylight total.

My goal is to get pencil sized seedlings for transplants.
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Re: Can you grow onion starts as big as Dixondale's?

#20

Post: # 23362Unread post Bower
Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:02 pm

Interesting note about the transplants taking 2 weeks to get going. I am a bit concerned about my shallot starts which I trimmed both root and tops... they seem really slow to regrow roots and seemed to have a hard time of it so far..
The best onions I've yet grown from seed were transplanted into nine cell when they were little, then the whole cell just popped into the ground without disturbing the roots... they came on way faster than seedlings separated at planting time.
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