Onions going to seed?

andy-cJune 8, 2010

My onions,planted as sets early April, are starting to get ready to flower. I do not remember this from previous years. the plants are big and healthy, but the bulbs are not that big yet. Am I just too impatient here or is something going on? I use drip irrigation if that would be a factor. Just would like to understand what is going on here. Thanks for the input


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Do you know the variety of the sets? Typically onions will bolt if they are exposed to widely varying temperatures. Over that, you have no control. I suspect of those bolting you will not get any increase in the bulb size.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 12:23AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

And you will not be able to use them either as they get hard and inedible.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 6:45AM
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Thanks for the info. Widely varying temps have been the norm here this year so that makes sense

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 7:47AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

"My onions,planted as sets early April"

If by sets you mean bulbs rather than plants, I think that many going to seed would be normal.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 2:38PM
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I planted some grocery store sprouts and have a bulb at the top of one plant. Do you mean if you let it seed, they aren't edible? I didn't know this. Mine are about 2 feet high. I did better with the grocery store seedlings than my seeds.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 7:54PM
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Mostly onions grown from small onions will tend to go for seed.
You could've pinched off the budds at the earlies sign to discourrage growing seed.

Evene then you will get a two part onion; one attached to the flowering stalk and another next to it.
When you hatvest, separate the two, throw away the first and keep the latter.
Again, that onion will not be a keeper. Per master Farmerdilla, they may only last for a couple of months.
So, you should use those first before they rot.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 8:46PM
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A lot of the problem with going to seed is that onions are bi-annual.They grow bulbs the first year and get seed pods the second.With sets you always want to plant the smallest ones you can find since the larger ones think it is the second year and start producing seeds.

Pinch off the seed pods and eat those onions first.

I never use the scoop in the onion box at the store.Pick out the smallest ones by hand.Plus they are usually sold by the pound so by picking the smallest ones you get more for your money.I NEVER buy sets already packaged at the big box sores.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 11:01AM
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That's right, they are biennials and that's why I always use transplants now. Some years I'd get onions by sets and some not. It is very dependent on what variety they are and if the producer grew and harvested them correctly. Think about it, the bulb has already been through one season and if harvested improperly it considers your sowing the second season.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 2:15PM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

Best source for onion seedlings (for next year)
Dixondale farms

Here is a link that might be useful: Onion seedling source

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 4:54PM
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I grow my own. Onion seed is cheap.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 7:19PM
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The flowers are full of seeds that you can plant for new onions. When the flowers look like they've seen better days, cut them off with a little bit of stem. Put them in an open glass container and let them dry out for a couple of weeks. When they flowers are dried, shake the seed out of them and throw the flowers in to the compost bin. Put the seeds in an envelope labled "onion seed" and use them for your next year's crop.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 12:39PM
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