Tips for growing onions from seed?

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ponyexpress
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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#61

Post: # 43530Unread post ponyexpress
Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:53 am

Paquebot wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 9:10 pm
Pony, your seedlings look great with 3 leaves already. The best place for them now is in the ground. I've transplanted with less and will be doing so this year.
I'm trying to confirm that I can grow big onions like Dixondale from seed. I was able to grow big onions last year using Dixondale's transplants. Now, can I do the same with my own from seeds?

Dixondale suggests that their transplants have 4-5 leaves so I'm going to keep them going in my "greenhouse" before transplant. I have them under my grow lights starting at 7am. Around 9am, I put them outside in my greenhouse to get the better sunlight and potentially warmer conditions. I try to keep the green house at 80-95deg since onions grow faster when it's warmer. The sun starts to go down around 6pm so I bring them back in under the grow lights until 7pm.

I do have some seeds that I did winter sowing. The seedlings are so far behind so I don't see how that can be a viable option for growing onions in the northeast unless you don't mind golf ball sized onions.

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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#62

Post: # 43572Unread post Paquebot
Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:42 pm

Now circle around to another fact. No matter if there are 2 or 5 leaves on a seedling, what happens? The leaves invariable all die while the plant repairs a new root system. Three leaves have ample reserve energy to support the new root growth before they die.

Martin

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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#63

Post: # 43654Unread post ponyexpress
Fri Mar 26, 2021 1:03 pm

Paquebot wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:42 pm
Now circle around to another fact. No matter if there are 2 or 5 leaves on a seedling, what happens? The leaves invariable all die while the plant repairs a new root system. Three leaves have ample reserve energy to support the new root growth before they die.
I agree with you if all you want is a good, decent sized onion. With my dixondale plants last year, I definitely noticed a difference in size between the smaller & bigger onion plants. The bigger the plant, the bigger the onion. In the Dixondale bunch, you get a few really big plants, a bunch of mediums, and the rest are small or tiny.

I'm hoping that the ones I'm growing from seeds won't die because I will disturb the roots as little as possible. I'll report back with my findings as the season progresses.

I'm thinking that I may plant some of my bottle onions on Sunday. Will plant some at the community garden where it will get full sun and the rest at my house where I can keep a close eye on them.

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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#64

Post: # 43671Unread post Paquebot
Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:39 pm

The only time I ever saw all onion seedling leaves remain alive was almost 40 years ago before we had many sources. A guy was selling Walla Walla seedlings from back of his pickup. They were in 144-cell plug trays. If one wanted 3 dozen, that many were lifted from the tray. Virtually zero root disturbance and they never lost any leaves.

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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#65

Post: # 44070Unread post Paquebot
Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:23 am

Jung's just got their Dixondale plants. My nose told me that it was raining when most were pulled. All varieties had very fresh and green tops. But size of most were too big. Searched through Patterson to find smallest plants and still only 39 in the bundle. Lots of ½" plants which will probably bolt. Redwing was close to ideal with 59 in the bundle which I selected. I didn't check every variety but all appeared to have about the same size tops.

Martin

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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#66

Post: # 44172Unread post ponyexpress
Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:04 am

I got my Dixondale crate delivered a couple of days ago. Some of the bundles were quite big. Will post pictures later.
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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#67

Post: # 44255Unread post Paquebot
Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:17 pm

Pony, now that you have the case, you know that every plant has been trimmed to a certain length. Some p;ants may have had 5 leaves. Every single one of them are essentially dead. They will dry up and the plant will have to draw on its little bit of stored energy to start over with new growth.

Ironically, next door neighbor is now in his second year of learning how to garden. He started a lot of things early and one was Candy onions. This afternoon he asked what happened to his onions as he was certain that it did not get cold enough to hurt them. They were green when he planted them but today they have all flopped and white. No problem as they are working on recovering a damaged root system and then get back to making new leaves.

Martin

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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#68

Post: # 44360Unread post bjbebs
Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:46 pm

10 week old seedlings hit the ground running. Very warm, 75 plus with wind. Will set out 75 plants or so every couple days until the end of April. These plants went in on Monday and will be big as any store bought plant in a week. Might not see another 80 degree day until May.
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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#69

Post: # 44486Unread post Bower
Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:19 am

I started some French Shallot seeds rather late on March 6 and just potted them up yesterday into the 9 cell pack - only about 30 plants. We've had a thaw and I was almost tempted to put them straight out, but thought better of it. they will certainly root up faster indoors or the greenhouse, and we are likely to have snow again and/or freezing nights for sure.
The cell packs are not really deep enough for a good onion seedling growth, from what I've been told, but it was a big benefit to transplants the year that I tried this before. The plants in cells produced much bigger onions than those that were trimmed and planted from a mass planting. Probably for the reasons Martin stated. Since the roots are not disturbed at transplant, there's no need to draw the energy back from the leaves. It would be a big expense of time and space for a large number of onions, but for my 30 shallots it's an easy cheat.
These shallots are only expected to make a small bulb in the first year from seed, anyway, and those bulbs are kept to plant the following year when they will grow larger and divide.
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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#70

Post: # 44503Unread post Paquebot
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:47 am

Bower wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:19 am
These shallots are only expected to make a small bulb in the first year from seed, anyway, and those bulbs are kept to plant the following year when they will grow larger and divide.
Not to change the subject but what shallot variety is available from seed which produces only a small bulb? True French shallots are only propagated from bulbs and very rarely produce flowers. Dutch hybrids grow from seed but make a large bulb. (They are really onions with similar characteristics to shallots.)

Martin
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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#71

Post: # 44505Unread post Bower
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:49 pm

@Paquebot I got these from Annapolis Seeds, where they are just dubbed "French Shallot". Someone elsewhere told me they are the same as Cuisse de Poulet or Zebrune, which I believe do also produce seeds from time to time. So they are not the Grey Shallot which many say is the true shallot. I don't care about the identity or whether they flower sometimes, would just like a multiplier that actually produces bulbs! ;)
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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#72

Post: # 44526Unread post Paquebot
Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:57 pm

Zebrune is virtually an onion that looks-like a shallot. In the allium family, they are somewhere in between. I have grown them. They do not take two years to produce a full-sized bulb, they do it in one season. When planted as seed, you get a single bulb back. If bulbs is planted back, they will bolt to seed, not make bigger bulbs.

Martin

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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#73

Post: # 44529Unread post Bower
Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:04 pm

Hmmm I may be in for another surprise then. Here is what the supplier says:
"Allium cepa var. aggregatum - An excellent keeper with red skins. French Shallots are the onion of choice at Yonder Hill Farm. Hardy and drought resistant, they always out-yield regular onions on their homestead. They grow into small-medium sized bulbs the first year from seed. In subsequent years, the bulbs can be planted like garlic in the fall, they'll grow into full clusters the following summer. From seed, grow them just like onions. "
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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#74

Post: # 44545Unread post Paquebot
Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:46 pm

The main thing about that description is that it does not apply to Zebrune or that matter, not to any French shallot. The French are very particular about their shallots and in fact refused to recognize the Dutch hybrids as shallots. Those are started from seed and grow as a single bulb, never a cluster.

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Re: Tips for growing onions from seed?

#75

Post: # 44724Unread post Paquebot
Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:45 pm

I had time to go through about 12 crates of Dixondale plants. Overall the bundles were about same size as 30+ years ago. Sizes varied from some being too large with 4 or 5 leaves and over ¼" thick. One Patterson bundle had only 20 plants and I took that one just to give them a home. The bulk of the bundles throughout are well over the advertised 50 plants and those seedlings have/had only 3 leaves when they left Texas.

I will add that the Dixondale shipment is probably the best condition in at least 10 years, For all to come together, soil and weather conditions must be right. Then shipping connections must go well. I saw many thousands of seedlings today and would expect every one of them to produce a lovely onion.

Martin

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