Onion tops dying prematurely?

gsevensJuly 20, 2009

I planted onion sets back around the end of May. The tops of them started to grow. I thought they were growing good, but after seeing pictures of other peoples onions I realized mine were nothing to look at. Anyway, The onion began to grow to around 1 1/2" in size. Then the top died back and it doesn't look like it is growing any more. This is a big variety. I can't remember the exact name but it was a big, sweet variety so I know it should have grown bigger.

Is this onion all done or can I do something to keep it growing?

Thanks,

Paul

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johnmac09

Sounds like onion blight to me Paul. Regards, John

Here is a link that might be useful: An English Allotment Garden

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 1:31AM
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planatus(6)

If you used a "short day" variety, the onions bulbed early in response to longer days. Most of the acclaimed sweet onions are short-day, so that may be what happened.

Next year, make sure you get a long day onion. They will be hard and pungent, but very beautiful and they will keep for a long time. You can grow scallions and leeks for milder flavor.

Don't think you did anything wrong, maybe just bought the wrong kind of onion. Enjoy the babies.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:25AM
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gsevens

Thank you for the info. I may very well have planted the wrong kind. The weather may have played a role too, I think. We got a ton of rain this spring without much sun. The top only grew a little bit, then the onions started to swell. I think it has been 1 1/2 weeks since top died back. The onions are still hard to the touch. Just no top. I thought it would have rotted away if I didn't pick it. I think I might pick one and see what it is like.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:32PM
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mmqchdygg(Z5NH)

I am near you, and am growing Walla Walla this year. I got the sets at Dixondale Farms after a recommendation here. So far, so good. I prefer a sweeter onion, and although the WW aren't going to store very long, I am happy with the results.

Next year, I am going to try "Candy" onions, and I recently got seeds from a gal that I normally order poppy seeds from. She had the same seed as a vendor, but the vendor didn't have a good rep, so I opted to pay a little more to get them from her since I knew she was a reputable seller.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 1:33PM
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gsevens

Walla Walla and Candy both sound good. I want an onion as big and as sweet as I can get. I was just reading your other post about onions mmqchdygg. If you start onions from seeds is it a two year process or all in one season? If I can do seed to full onion in one season that works for me.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 2:49PM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

You can do onions from seeds in one season, but it does take time. Start the onion seeds in January, they will germinate and look like small blades of grass. Be absolutely sure the seeds are fresh, onion seeds only last about a year. Start them on heat mats in the house, then once germinated put the seedlings under lights, until around mid April in your area, acclimate them (harden them off) to the outside sunshine and when its the proper time to plant them in your garden you can then plant them. In all honesty, I find it easier to grow from already started plants which you can either order on line or from a good nursery in your area. Dixondale has an excellent reputation for onion plants, and you can also order onion plants from Johnny's in Maine. Check their websites for prices. Onion sets are bulbs that have been grown to that size the previous year, then lifted and sold as "sets". I find they do not give a real good size onion bulb when fully grown in my area and may also bolt to seed before a good size bulb is accomplished. Hope that helps both you and mmqchydygg.

Alberta

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 3:25PM
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gsevens

Thanks. It sounds like Dixondale is the place for onions. I will look in johnny's too. I think I will stick to buying the sets. I don't have the capability to grow them indoors from seed.

Paul

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 3:33PM
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ditnc(7 NC)

"I find it easier to grow from already started plants which you can either order on line or from a good nursery in your area. Dixondale has an excellent reputation for onion plants, and you can also order onion plants from Johnny's in Maine. Check their websites for prices. Onion sets are bulbs that have been grown to that size the previous year, then lifted and sold as "sets". "

Would you educate me please. Is a "plant" the same thing as a "set"? I would like to try some onions next season. I planted some "sets" but then when I mulched they all got covered up and I haven't seen them since. They looked like blades of grass above the surface, but little bulbs underneath. I guess I need to do some reading about onions, long vs short day, etc.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 7:30PM
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gardener_mary(6 MA)

ditnc,

'Plants' are small plants that were started from seed early in the season, they look a bit like the bunches of scallions that you buy in the grocery store. 'Sets' are small bulbs that were grown from seed the previous fall and then stored, they look like small onions. I have read that it is better to plant the smallest sets rather than the largest. I hope that that made sense and is helpful.

Good gardening, Mary

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 10:54PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Onions are cold crops. Therefore they should be planted way back when you can work the garden soil(not frozen)
The onion set will know then when to grow.Don't wory, they will not freez nor any frost can kill their greens.

Here in zone 8, I planted my sets in January and harvested them in late June, when the tops died.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 11:31PM
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wiringman(ZONE 4)

we did three onions in the greenhouses this year. walla walla, red Burgundy and a yellow onion. i also got some texas sweet sets. they had very good rich flavor. however the kind of petered out after two months at about 1 1/2". i only put walla walla's in my garden and they are growing just fine. we have had much better luck with onions we have started in the greenhouses. we get nice 3 to 5" bulbs. i dry my WW's and then powder them in my vita mix. the onion powder i make is so much better that store bought. WW has been my favorite for years but i want to get some texas sweets to do from seed next year.
i set out 400 WW set in two 35' rows so i have been thinning them for fresh green onions. mmmm good!
we learn each year to do it better.
WM

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 11:31PM
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time_we_think_comcast_net

I'm having a similar problem with the sets I planted this year. A few of them flowered, now about 1/3 have fallen over with soft stems like they're dying. A couple of these were full size, but most are golf-ball size. They are Dutch yellow and Dutch Red sets from Holland which I planted around the 1st of May

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 6:41AM
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