Onion sets

eurolarva(z4 MN)April 25, 2009

Where is a good place to buy onion sets. Every place I google they are around 15 dollars for like 65. This seems real pricy. Is there a way to do this cheaper. I started 200 seeds a month ago but I doubt they will be large enough to survive the transplant in May. Can onions be planted when there is still a threat of frost? Can I start planting in early may in Minnesota?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Honestly, it is a bit late in many parts of the country to still find sets. They may still be available locally up in your neck of the woods - have you tried Walmart, Lowes, HD, local nurseries, even supermarkets? They all carry sets at the proper planting time and all are well gone already down here.

Onions are day-length sensitive. Plants are usually started from seed in Dec. here for Feb. planting. They can be planted out late winter as they are very cold tolerant and need the proper day length to bulb up. May planting would seem to be awfully late to me as you'd only have 1 month before the day lengths peak. Are you growing long-day varieties as required in your zone?

Check out Dixondale Farms website for onion growing tips, proper planting times, and the various types info.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dixondale Onions

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 10:32AM
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yes 15$ for 65 bulbs is pretty steep.
take dig dirts advice and try your local stores/garden centers, you should find some for 5$ a bag(65 maybe).
to get a real good deal i place an order with my local bulb supplier in nov. and get delivery in march,(50 lbs sacks),,,,
i think you should still have time to stick a few in the ground, best of luck

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 12:25PM
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I found some in Menards a few weeks ago...100 sets for $1, but they're just plain white or yellow onions.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 1:21PM
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I bought mine at walmart, they had a great selection of bulbs and sets etc. They were red and they had white onions and there were 80 per bag for $1.50.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 2:52PM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

I second the recomendation for DIXONDALE
They know ONIONS!!!
You will pay more than Walmart...but I think the results with more than make up for the additional $$$

Minnesota you need long day varieties...if you buy sets at a Big Box, will they be the correct variety??? The young sets might be damaged by frost. A light fluff of straw in your beds will help protect and may be removed (or not) after danger has passed.

Dixondale = Great Resource

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 7:16PM
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I agree Dixondale is a good company for plants, But they only sell plants not sets. All sets are long day storage onions. Many folks like them because they are one of the quickest ways to get green onions. For mature onions plant are superior and you have much more choice of cultivars. Locally, either the big stores or the feed and seeds are are your best choices for sets.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 7:32PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

farmerdilla makes an important point. I only referred you to Dixondale for info on how to grow onions from seed and the info on the difference between long day and short day varieties (you need long day and need to start your seed much earlier).

But Dixondale does not sell sets - just plants - and it may be too late to order plants from them for this year.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 7:49PM
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eurolarva(z4 MN)

Sorry I am new at this. I assumed sets were small onions that looked dehydrated. Dixondales site calls them bunches and sells them for 10 dollars for 5 dozen. What is the difference between these and the term sets? I have walla walla seeds that I started in early march. I have been trimming them back every week now to thicken them up and have them under florescent lights for 16 hours a day on a timer. I have seen snow here in early may and figure if I put my onions I have under the lights they will not make it. I will check out Maynards and Walmart tomorrow and see what they have.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:40AM
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sowbusy7nc(Z7 NC)

If you live close to Inver Grove Heights, Gertens Nursery would be a good place to check.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:45AM
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eurolarva; sets are small onions (pearl size)that are pulled and bagged like like large onions. You deal with them like like a full size mature onion. Today most of them are imported from Europe. They are storage type onions and are usually quite pungent.In my youth they were the cultivars, Silverskin, White Portugal, Yellow Danvers, Red Torpedo. Today, often the cultivar is not listed. Dixondale and Brown's Omaha Plant Farms are two of the best places to get plants. These are started from seed and sold as growing plants. Typically sold in bunches and will have green tops. Sets unless they are already sprouting will not show any green leaves.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:13AM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

We definitely live in the short day zone. I did a swap for red, yellow and white onion sets last fall. I planted and they put up leaves soon after I planted. This spring they had huge leaves and thus far this month I have harvested several 3" yellow onions and have one that is 4" or more that I'm having to smack DH's hands to keep him from harvesting just yet...waiting to see just how large it gets. This is my first time to grow onions, so I'm quite excited.

DH bought two bunches of plants at Wal-Mart this spring (red and white) and some have just begun to bulb...trying to keep them watered enough because we do not get rain.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:18PM
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bernadette_gourder(5 from Newaygo, MI)


Here in MI we have found that the best way to grow onions is by seed and then transplant them outside. We have tried direct seeding with dismal results (although we are trying it again this year). We have tried sets with not a whole lot of luck. We also tried overwintering onions (Walla Walla variety is the one to go when doing this). The problem with overwintering, of course, is the cold weather.
The key, however, to growing onions by seed is to start very early inside. Give them plenty of time to grow! (It is the first thing we plant inside. Early Feb.) And we have found no need to trim the tops. We plant them in fairly sandy soil (nicer looking bulb) and make sure to keep it well watered and weed free. Water and weed control are extremely necessary.
As for onions sets. The problem we have had with them is that too many of them go to seed on us before they make a bulb. It is too costly for us for our farm, but the home gardener (our neighbor has good results) should give it a try, I think. We got ours from Johnny's, but I've just looked and they are sold out. However, another good trusted place we buy our seed from is Harris. They have onion sets available right now, good prices, too.

Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:50PM
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i planted bulbs the thursday before easter,red,yellow and white.bought them at a chain farm store here in the midwest ,rural king.planted half a 4x4 sfg box with them.i spent .32$ on about 50 of them.get this they were on sale for .28$/pound.i thought this was fantastic by now they r all up straight as an arrow and look fantastic.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 3:08PM
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eurolarva(z4 MN)

Menards was sold out but I got two bunches of walla wallas at Walmart which are what I am growing from seed. I have a four day weekend next weekend so I will try and get these in the garden next week. The ones I am doing from seed are still pretty small and I will wait another couple of weeks to put them out. If I get a frost will it kill these or are they hardy enough to withstand this. I have seen snow in early May here. One year we got 5 inches that lasted a couple of days.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 4:22PM
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