Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

General information and discussion about cultivating onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old November 6, 2018   #1
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 12,430
Default Onions for 2019

For years now, I have written a thread about growing onions. In this part and most of Texas, growing short day onions is the way to go, but I also realize that Texas is just one state. Many of you grow intermediate day and it seems like a lot more of you grow long day onions.

I was reading a site https://www.star-telegram.com/living...e57053723.html and found it interesting. By reading what I read at that site - it explains why it's so easy to grow onions here.

Normally I start onion seeds on October the 15th. There is a well known onion variety called Texas 1015Y. The name is pretty simple. You plant seeds on 10-15 (October 15th) and Y is yellow. It is easier planting out transplants here sold in bunches for less than $2 for 50 or so onion plants. For the most part, that's what I'm going to do.

However, I need to start some seeds for one variety that is an intermediate type. I'm well aware that daylight time is important - some shading may be necessary? But I think they may need more cold? I have grown intermediate day onions for many years with okay results - I personally like smaller onions because they fit recipes better.

Then I have some long day exhibition onions sent to me from the UK, I have never tried long day onions, and I let the person sending them to me know that. I have read some info that says we can grow them in Texas, but that might have meant 500 miles to our northwest? They say that Texas is big, but you can seriously drive for 12 hours at 70-85mph and stay in Texas. So looking up what to grow in Texas isn't that easy.

I'm going to start the intermediate day and long day onions this week. I'm going to treat them both differently than the short day onions that I'm used to growing. I have let the people who sent me seeds know that they may not do well here, but I'm determined to make them produce.

I have some ideas on how to grow the intermediate onions since I have grown a different variety for years, but I would really like to know your experiences. Outside weather conditions, indoor lighting and temperatures would be very helpful.

The same goes even more so for Long day onions. I really want to make it happen here in Texas - not just for me, but for my Tomatoville friend in the UK. Any and all information will be helpful.

For me, you all have made me wonder what it is like growing things where you all live. One friend makes me wonder what it is like growing tomatoes in Romania. I know that's not onions, but I need to understand the regions to make it happen here in Texas.
__________________
Salt, AlittleSalt, Robert
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 6, 2018   #2
Gin3ll
Tomatovillian™
 
Gin3ll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Romania
Posts: 73
Default

" One friend makes me wonder what it is like growing tomatoes in Romania."

Commonly, there are no problems with tomato cultivation in Romania. I start around 1st May to plant the seedlings, around 1-7 July i have tomatoes ripen. July and August is very hot here (Tomatoes Are Not Setting Fruit), but it is not a rule (this year, for example, rained almost all of July). The end of the season is usually on September 15-20.

...about growing onions, the best way is to plant onion sets in September-October in this way at the end of June you will have nice onion bulbs.
If you miss autumn planting, you need to be faster in the Spring, end of March - April is a good period, after that...nope, you will not have onion (in July and August there is no Green Onion (Scallions) from Romanian production (from what I know).
I have no experience with onions seed, I buy and plant onion sets.
Gin3ll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 6, 2018   #3
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 12,430
Default

Gin3ll, thank you for your reply. Romania is the farthest away I have sent tomato seeds. That's around 5,900 miles - 9,500km.

Buying onion sets here in Texas is what most people do, and it has been that way for as long as I can remember. I grow them from seeds for the fun of doing it, and you get to choose which varieties you want to grow. Often times when buying onion sets here - they are simply labeled Yellow, Red, or White - who knows what variety they are?
__________________
Salt, AlittleSalt, Robert
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 24, 2018   #4
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 12,430
Default

Well, sometimes you don't get off to a good start. After a month of trying to start Candy onion and Exhibition onion seeds - they're not looking good. I did everything the same way as I have before. Pro mix, not too wet or too dry, very lightly covered seeds, the right amount of light to darkness, etc. But who knows, maybe I needed to do something different or there could be so many other possibilities. Stuff happens, and yet as a gardener, we want every seed to germinate and grow and produce well.

Store-bought transplants will be ready in January which 4 years ago was the only way I planted onions. That's how my father planted onions - and my grandfather. If you read countless online sites, transplants and bulbs is the easiest way.

"Onions for 2019" is the name of the thread, and this is still late November 2018.
__________________
Salt, AlittleSalt, Robert
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 24, 2018   #5
greenthumbomaha
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Omaha Zone 5
Posts: 2,080
Default

Well Salt, I am taking a break form onion and leek seed shopping online with the Black Friday sales and saw your title come up in the new posts.
I too have had low to no germination one year, with no change in technique or materials.

I think it is the seed, or the way that the seed was handled in delivery. Nothing that you did, it just might have been old or stored improperly before or during transit.

I have a nearby nursery that sells about 8 ish varieties of Dixondale onion plants, so I can buy without a shipping fee. The buyer selects a few of the wrong variety for our long day area, so this year I want to start one or two (or 3 or 4...) new ones along with a bunch that I will buy from their selection. The other places to buy onion plants here are quite generic ,i.e. labeled only by color for "normal" people that are just satisfied that it is an onion. I don't grow sets for onions, just for scallions. Boring!

While people are reading this thread, I was also wondering what the best mix is for growing onion seeds ... something rich like fox farms or normal Jiffy. They like a rich soil to grow in the ground so perhaps the rich mix would give them a better start in a pot.

- Lisa

Last edited by greenthumbomaha; November 24, 2018 at 02:22 AM.
greenthumbomaha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 24, 2018   #6
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 12,430
Default

Lisa, that's how onion sets are sold around here too. One place that sells Dixondale always has the wrong day (intermediate day) Red Candy onions. Short day onions are what we need to grow here.

About your question, I have been thinking about that too. I'm thinking the pro mix I used may not be rich enough?
One year, I started a tray of onion seeds in leftover potting mix from tomato plants that I didn't plant out - it worked fine.
__________________
Salt, AlittleSalt, Robert
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 24, 2018   #7
Worth1
Tomatovillian™
 
Worth1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: earth
Posts: 36,003
Default

I think a rich mix one way or another is best for all seeds, give them every chance they can get.
I abhor starting in a mix that has no nutrients I dont care what the so called experts say.
__________________
Happy Fermenting.
I Texas.
Worth
Worth1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 25, 2018   #8
greenthumbomaha
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Omaha Zone 5
Posts: 2,080
Default

True, a rich mix is best. My memory is getting bad. West Coast Seeds and many other sites have instructions mentioning rich soil. They even suggested transplanting to a mix with added garden soil. You don't hear that very often!


- Lisa
greenthumbomaha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 25, 2018   #9
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 12,430
Default

I mixed together what I feed/water our tomato plants with for the onion seedlings. It may kill them, or work, or make no difference. What I mixed:

2 cups room temperature water
1/8 teaspoon Epsom Salt
1/4 teaspoon 15.5-0-0 Calcium Nitrate
1/8 teaspoon 4-18-38 MasterBlend Tomato & Vegetable formula

I figure, "Why not try" because water and pro mix isn't working.
__________________
Salt, AlittleSalt, Robert
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27, 2018   #10
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 12,430
Default

There are results already. I didn't know it would be this quick or at all. These are two little tubs of Nissin brand ramen containers are growing onion seedlings. The pro mix is basically nutrient free are my findings.
__________________
Salt, AlittleSalt, Robert
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27, 2018   #11
b54red
Tomatovillian™
 
b54red's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 6,528
Default

Starting onion seed has always been a hit or miss thing for me. A few years back I tried starting them in diatomaceous earth and found much better results as far as getting them to germinate but I used fairly shallow containers which was a mistake. I now use deep pots and fill from the bottom to within an inch of the top with medium grain DE and then use the smaller grain DE for the last inch. I saturate the DE with a weak liquid fertilizer mix and then plant the seed. With this mix I have to start applying fertilizers a week or two after germination which seems to depend upon the seeds I get. Sometimes one variety will germinate great and another will not so I assume it is mainly the freshness or viability of the seeds and the temperature in the greenhouse at the time. I usually start seed in late or mid October through late November depending upon the weather here.

The advantage of the deep pot and the looser medium size DE in the pot allow the roots to develop well. It also allows for easier separation at plant out time. I will cut the tips down about two weeks before I plan to set them out and give them a good dose of fertilizer right afterwards to help them recover from the cutting. Then I try to let the pots dry out as much as possible before removing the sets and separating them. This gives me a large root structure and a shorter top so when planted they remain upright and are much easier to handle. I have found over the years that much of the top will die back after planting so cutting it off before planting doesn't slow growth once in the ground. Once the seedlings are planted and mulched with pine bark fines I will apply another dose of fertilizer and in a week or so they are growing well. The pine bark fines serve several purposes. The fines hold the plants upright after planting, they also helps maintain soil moisture, and they also reduce splash back from the soil which can lead to fungal diseases.

Down here only the short day onions work well for me. I have tried the intermediate day onions but with very limited success so I know long day onions would be a disaster. I have had my most consistent success with Bermuda onions, Granno or Vidalia type, Red Burgundy and also Creole. I find the Creole onions to be the most successful of the red onions but they are very small and pungent. Bermuda onions have been my best keepers of the white type onions but the 1015 Granno keeps good for that type.

Bill
b54red is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27, 2018   #12
clkeiper
Tomatovillian™
 
clkeiper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: ohio
Posts: 3,980
Default

Salt is it warm where you are trying to start your seeds? do you have them on a heat mat? maybe it is too cold for germination?
__________________
carolyn k
clkeiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27, 2018   #13
GoDawgs
Tomatovillian™
 
GoDawgs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Georgia, 8a/7b
Posts: 449
Default

My first effort at growing bulbing onions was in Fall ’16. Our Georgia Extension service recommends planting out short day onions in mid-late October. If memory serves, I believe the folks farther south in Vidalia plant out late Oct-mid November. For my first effort I did short days Yellow Granex, Creole and Barletta as well as intermediate day Australian Brown.

For two years in a row now those 7-10 day warm spells that periodically interrupt cold weather in early spring have caused the short day onions to bolt while the intermediate day hasn’t. So this fall I set out intermediate Australian Brown (Baker Creek, “one of their “favorite” varieties), an intermediate called Countrywide Red (Burpee, end of season sale at Tractor Supply) and am giving the Granex one last try. We’re on what’s called the Fall Line, kind of an invisible divider where the flat land of the coast starts transitioning to hills on the way to the Smokies. I’m on the border of 8a and 7b. Sometimes spring is 8a-ish, sometimes 7b-ish.

I use Sungro Metro-Mix, a fine textured starter mix and I’ve been happy with it for a good while. The label says “35-45% Canadian sphagnum peat moss, composted pine bark, vermiculite and dolomitic lime. 0.0001% Silicon Dioxide from calcium silicate. May improve resistance to wilting”.

I’ve had good luck growing onions in dividerless packs set in Styrofoam trays for bottom watering. They get started early August for October transplanting. These are about ready to set out and are due for another haircut. At this point they’ve been getting some Miracle Grow every other week as onions like lots of nitrogen.



Bill, you’re right about cutting them back pre-plant. I do that too. They do stand up better in the ground as taller tops are going to get burned anyway. And next time I am going to follow your suggestion of using a deeper container for even more root development. I separate mine out in a bowl of water and they come apart really easy. I forgot to cut these before separation and had to do it after the fact.

GoDawgs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28, 2018   #14
AlittleSalt
Tomatovillian™
 
AlittleSalt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Zone 8A Texas Heat Zone 9
Posts: 12,430
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
I mixed together what I feed/water our tomato plants with for the onion seedlings. It may kill them, or work, or make no difference. What I mixed:

2 cups room temperature water
1/8 teaspoon Epsom Salt
1/4 teaspoon 15.5-0-0 Calcium Nitrate
1/8 teaspoon 4-18-38 MasterBlend Tomato & Vegetable formula

I figure, "Why not try" because water and pro mix isn't working.
I have shared this thread with another one I made in the general section http://tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=48404

I am going to have to adjust this recipe because they are growing too fast to the point of them growing so tall that they cannot hold their weight. I'm learning. The above recipe doesn't work for me, but I tried it.

Remember that my experiments on this costs pennies. It's worth trying it again and again and again - even out of season.
__________________
Salt, AlittleSalt, Robert
AlittleSalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28, 2018   #15
Raiquee
Tomatovillian™
 
Raiquee's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 306
Default

I grow long Day onions each year. I start seed in January in my house, I grow them in a 1/2 flat and seed them as a carpet (think sod). When they get taller, I give them haircuts down to 4”. They stay inside until April/May when they get transplanted. I take them out to the field and rip the carpet apart. Onion roots are very wirey and hold up well. I find some teasing is all that is needed to get them apart. I plant them out and harvest around August.

I get some nice sized bulbs (about my hand) if I keep them out of the weeds. I like the bigger bulbs as I’m feeding a small army. I plant out several hundred each year. It keeps me in onions until feb usually- then I need to purchase. I’m looking at doubling my quantities this year so I can maybe last longer.
__________________
Desire'
Mother of 3, homesteader, canner, gardener, dwarf tomato participant.
Raiquee is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:36 PM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2019 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★