Onions

hudson___wySeptember 16, 2013

Good year for onions. We tried several varieties but Super Star appears to perform the best in our area.

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ltilton

Good year for them here, too. I grew Candy again, Walla Walla and Red Bull.

Unfortunately the yellow ones got mixed up and I can't tell which did better.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 8:45AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Good harvest .

Have couple of questions: (1) did you grow your own seedlings ?
(2) what kind did you grow , Long day or intermediate ?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 8:59AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Looks good, not a bumper year for onions for me. Mostly my fault, though. I was trying to get a handle on how much fertility my garden needed and under-fed the onions. But I want to ask what you are using as a drying rack there? It looks like a wire rack, maybe a repurposed cattle panel? It gives me an idea what to do with the two extra pieces I have up in my barn for next year...

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:09AM
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hudson___wy

I planted transplants (seedlings) from Dixondalefarms.com - In our zone it is best to plant them the middle of May. The Super Star are intermediate - the rest are long day. I am going to try Candy and Red Candy Apple - it appears we are close to the boundary for long day onions and the Super Star (intermediate) did much better than the rest.

I have to cure onions in our GH to avoid freezing - yes - I use cattle panel to support the tomato plants and then dry onions after after I pull the tomato plants - all works out. I just cut the cattle panels to fit our purpose - wonderful drying racks!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:23AM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

I have grown Sterling onions from Dixondale for the last two years and had a lot of problems with bolting and splitting. Other varieties from them no problem.

Did you notice any problems with your Sterlings?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 10:45AM
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soilent_green

Was a good year for onions here as well. Good size, very good quality, should keep well in storage. Used starter plants purchased from Dixondale, were very good quality and arrived in excellent condition. I know it is a plug, but the simple fact is that I am a satisfied first-time customer and plan on ordering starter plants from them from now on.

I planted:
Ailsa Craig
Walla Walla
Red Zeppelin
Sterling
Copra
Redwing

Copra did best, Sterling was second best. Both gave me the best onions I have ever grown. Ailsa Craig and Walla Walla were next. Their performance was above average, quite acceptable. Red Zeppelin and Redwing performed the poorest but I do not fault Dixondale's product - for some reason I always get inconsistently sized but generally acceptable quality reds. I do not quite understand why there would be any difference in growing issues between different colors, even when they are planted side by side in the garden.

Thanks for posting thread, it is nice to read of other members' successes!
-Tom

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 12:27PM
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ltilton

I grew Red Candy Apple a couple of years ago, and they went bad very rapidly. Not related to Candy at all, I believe.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 12:47PM
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melissa1036

I live in Massachusetts and put gypsum in my garden to lighten up the soil. My onions didn't really grow. I was wondering, can I use them next year as seed onions, or can use them at the tiny size they are, or do I just toss them and try again next year?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 3:16PM
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melissa1036

I live in Massachusetts and put gypsum in my garden to lighten up the soil. My onions didn't really grow. I was wondering, can I use them next year as seed onions, or can use them at the tiny size they are, or do I just toss them and try again next year?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 3:17PM
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ltilton

Toss them. They'll likely just go to seed next year and never bulb.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 5:06PM
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hudson___wy

This is the first year growing Sterling but no problems with bolting or splitting. However - they are size inconsistent - more so than Super Star - but all of the long day onions seemed to be the same way. We are looking for the best storing onion - thus sampling several long day varieties. The Super Star onion stored until February last year but then went down hill fast. The Sterling, Copra & Ring Master appeared to do the best of the long day onion but we have not tasted them yet nor do we know how they will store - but will find out this year.

Sterling

Ring Master

Copra - Ring Master - Big Daddy

Big Daddy was the worst - Sterling, Ring Master, Copra appear acceptable - Red Wing still in the ground. Which one of these will store and taste the best??

Super Star

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 2:26

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 2:17AM
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hudson___wy

If any of you posting have onion photos - please post them. It always seems to inspire for next years crop to see the varieties you plant and your success!
Thanks!
Hudson

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 2:39AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I raised Candy onions and they were very large and sound.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:06AM
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ltilton

OK, photo of onions, mixed Candy and Walla Walla, plus Red Bull

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:28PM
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soilent_green

I would agree - all the long day varieties that I have ever grown are size-inconsistent, just seems to be the way onions grow around here. This issue really does not bother me too much because I find that smaller onions keep better and store longer than larger ones. For this reason I separate by size in storage and use the larger ones first. My onions usually store well into spring, my goal is to have them keep until I am able to harvest the first fresh wild ramps and winter onions of the new season. Very soon after comes the green garlic and fall-planted shallots and multipliers, followed by spring-planted scallions. Allium heaven.

My favorite eating onion by far is Copra and I intend to plant a lot more of them next year. The main reason it is my favorite is that I can get indigestion from eating onions, but the Copra do not affect me at all. They make fantastic onion rings and blooming onions. Last night for dinner I made chicken-fried venison steak smothered in fried onions that were carmelized in butter and my homemade maple sugar, with homemade fries from homegrown potatoes on the side - was a delicious dinner if I do say so myself, and to top it off the only thing purchased was the butter. :)

This is the best onion ring recipe I have ever used. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. Messy, laborious, but well worth the effort. I recommend using original, unseasoned Panko bread crumbs where the recipe calls for bread crumbs.

I am in the process of cleaning and sorting my onions for storage, will try to remember to take some photos when project is completed.

-Tom

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:53PM
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hudson___wy

Thanks for the photo! Your onions look great! Thanks for the onion ring recipe link! We love onion rings and are always searching different recipes - we will give it a try. We planted Ring Master to see if the onion is a better variety for onion rings. What a meal Tom - my kind of cooking!

I like your idea of sorting the onion size - I didn't do that last year and clearly should have used the largest onions first. They stored well in onion bags hanging in our shop in an area with the temp set at 40 degrees 24/7. Here is a photo of last years crop.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 5:44PM
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hudson___wy

We pulled the RedWing today before the solid night time freezing temperatures coming the next few days. They did not bulb as large as we would have liked - but not bad for planting in the middle of May.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 6:42AM
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hudson___wy

When comparing the onions - now that they are almost cured and ready for storage - all of the varieties were respectable for zone 3 but the Super Star are still the Super Stars! Sterling and Ringmaster were a close second. Now we will bag them and compare their ability to store!

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Sun, Oct 20, 13 at 10:02

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 12:33AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Hudson ... they look as great as your tomatoes.
My limited experience, yellow ones store better. Then there are different kind of yellows. My reds did poorest.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 1:06AM
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ltilton

I won't grow Walla Wallas again. They didn't keep in storage at all.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 5:10AM
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hudson___wy

Seysonn - thanks for you comments - Storing will be interesting. Storage ratings:

Super Star - 2 months
Ring Master - 4 months
Big Daddy - 4-6 months
Sterling - 6 months
Redwing - 8-10 months
Copra - 10-12 months

Ltilton - we agree on Walla Walla (storage rating is one month)! The yellow (Copra) and Red (Redwing) have the best storage ratings. Super Star is rated at 2 months but last year they were high quality for 4-5 months! Although we were very pleased and surprised we are expecting better from Copra & Redwing!?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 10:33AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I only grow Copra now after trying several other varieties over the years. They are usually a bit smaller than some of the other types, but store until the end of March or the beginning of April in a cold cellar. They have great flavor.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 1:11PM
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ltilton

The Red Bull are holding in storage very well. I'll grow these again.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 8:52PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I'm noticing in the pictures that it looks like you pull those onions sooner than I do, and I was wondering if there is a reason you do it that way? I'm always on the lookout to improve how I do things!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 11:20AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yes it looks to me that the onions in the pics were pulled before flopping because they have such thick necks. They look like they could have even sized up more.

Walla Wallas are not for storage and last for me under 2 months. I market those first and Copra last- this time of year.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:51PM
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hudson___wy

Haha - welcome to our world - we get the onions in the ground every spring as early as we can work the soil (every year is different) - then cover them with a frost blanket - mother nature dictates our success! Then comes fall - out come the frost blankets again - it is a guessing game with the forecast and the actual ground temperatures (we have to watch closely - the onions may freeze in the ground before we pull them) - the temperatures dictate when we pull the onions - not the size of the onion neck !!! The onions have to go into the GH to cure or they would be frozen solid out in the garden.

The bottom line - don't pull your onions until they are ready if possible! This is the first year we experimented with some of these long day varieties - one doesn't know until one tries - what will work in our area. I found out that Redwing is not a variety to plant here with dependable success - I pulled the onions because of low temps - not because they were flopping. You are right - they were pulled too early because I had no choice - the larger bulbs (about 1/4 of the Redwings) cured OK.

Next season I am going to try more of the intermediate varieties (although they do not store as well). Of the long day onions - Sterling, RingMaster and Copra were a success (I would plant them again). Big Daddy and Redwing were not - in our area.

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Mon, Nov 18, 13 at 20:51

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 8:37PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

- I pulled the onions because of low temps - not because they were flopping. (Hudson)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Hudson.
I see. I also was of the opinion, like little-minnie, that they were harvested too early. But did not make comment about it. Now I understand WHY.
Considering all the weather limitations, you have done real well,

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 4:15AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Oh it is funny how those climate differences sneak up on you! The ground being too cold for onions is never a problem here. Our growing window is so long that my onions are ready in July. Of course I start them inside in January. I guess my question is how do those look after curing? Seems like they look just fine if the pictures are anything to go on. :) It makes me wonder if I might get a better onion by pulling right before they flop, humidity is my problem here, and so often we get a rainy spell around the time the onions are ready.

I don't think I'll be moving to Wyoming any time soon, though it is a nice place to visit. In July. ;)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:11AM
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hudson___wy

Sunnibel - Dixondalefarms.com has great information about harvesting onions. I have also found the customer service very helpful as I have called them several times to ask them questions about growing onions.

Pulling onions early has never been helpful to the curing process for us - but maybe your humidity has a negative affect on curing as freezing does for me? Because you asked the question about how they look after curing - when pulled early - I snagged a couple of RedWing onions today out of storage so you could see what they look like. They did not cure properly as you can see because the necks apparently did not seal. The onions are still good as long as they will last - but I doubt that will be much longer than a couple of months they way they look today. I apparently just can't grow RedWing in our climate.

On the other hand - all they other varieties (even though they were pulled a little early) apparently bulbed enough that their necks did seal - as I hope you can see in the photo - and there is not a bit of green visible when the onion is cut open.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 1:03AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Hudson, thanks! I've come to realize that there is a lot more flexibility in many gardening "rules" and am trying to find the procedures that work best in my climate/soil. I'm not unhappy with my results with onions so far, but there is room for improvement, maybe. With garlic moving up my harvest time a bit seems to have improved storage, but moving it up too far did not. With the onions there is a time when they are sized up, green, but I know they will shortly fall and brown. If I get them in that window, it might reduce the number I have to cull later, but maybe not. Can't tell until I try!

I like the pictures and description of the necks as sealing up. There is that point when you can just tell by looking that they've ticked over from growing to sealing up.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 8:45AM
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hudson___wy

Update:
This is how the onions look today inside and out. The Redwings are apparently not storing well because we had to pull them too early - before they had a chance to mature in the garden. However, it appears the white and yellow onions cured fine in the GH even though most of the necks were thick when pulled because the onions had matured in the garden before we had to pull them - IMO - and are storing very well. FYI

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 3:00PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

They still look good and fresh to me.
Just off the topic. Most of them have double cores. It is more pronounced in the red one. In my experience, that is where rotting starts.

I have some fall planted onions in a 3' x 6' bed. We had an unseasonable Dec., temps dropped to mid teens for about a week. But that is not nearly as cold as WY. I plan to harvest them when tomato seedlings are ready to get in. That will be like in mid May.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 5:39PM
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elisa_z5

My onions have always stored really well -- copra and some kind of red storage, usually. But this year they're not doing well -- lots of rotting inside. It's the first year I used Dixondale, and the first time I had lots of them put up seed heads. It was also a very wet summer. Anyone have a guess as to what, of these variables, is the most likely to be causing a "bad" storage winter?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 9:15PM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

Putting up seed heads is also called bolting. Bolting can be caused by many factors. A wet summer is one of them.

I have been using Dixondale seedlings for about five years. The last two years I have had problems with some of their varieties bolting and forming double heads. Last year they did replace the Sterling seedlings free, but that was one harvest lost. Other seedlings purchased at a local nursery did not bolt under the same growing conditions. I see no advantage ordering from Dixondale, and I seriously doubt if I will do it again.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 10:52PM
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steve333_gw

Interesting thread, sorry I missed it earlier. 2013 was not great onion year for us, mostly because of a late start due to bad seed on the first planting. We grew mostly Ailsa Craig onions, because most years they have done very well for us and store reasonably well.

Like Hudson, we harvest onions based upon weather not when they are done growing (because with few exceptions they never do finish outside here). We will see how the ACs do in storage this year. Maybe 25% matured enough to form a good sized bulb (2# or up) due to the late start and fairly early frosts. At last peek they seemed fine in storage. We've been using up the smaller bulbs that did not dry down right.

Most years ACs will size up very well here (3+# bulbs) and mature enough to dry and store well. They store until March and some are in fine shape as long as May or June. If you like a large sweet onion, they are hard to beat.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 12:16AM
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hudson___wy

Here is what I have learned on Double Cored Onions - Bolting has not been an issue as of yet in our garden.

Double or split onion bulbs are undesirable and are discounted in the market. The ratio of double or split bulbs is influenced by variety and environment. Some red varieties will produce a higher percentage of splits
or doubles, if grown at wider spacings or in thin stands. Also, when plants are grown in uniform stands, fertilizing at a rate which produces large yields will result in more doubles than a lower rate.

Onions are prone to physiological disorders that growers should try to minimize. One such disorder is splits or doubles. This condition is caused by cultural and environmental factors as well as being influenced by
genetics. Over-fertilization, uneven watering, and temperature fluctuations (particularly below 20 degrees F) are all believed to influence double formation. Some red varieties are more prone to production of doubles than others. Varieties prone to doubling should be seeded a week or so later on the plant beds as well as transplanted a bit later to minimize this disorder.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 11:52PM
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hudson___wy

Steve - I am interested in trying the Ailsa Craig Onions based on your recommendation. It is a long day variety though - the other long day varieties we tried did not do as well at our latitude? At least not last season. Ailsa Craig may be a exception. Do Long Day varieties do better than Intermediate for your area? How does Ailsa Craig compare with intermediate varieties you may have grown?

Elisa,
If last year was the first with Dixondale Farms - where did you get your transplants in prior years? Growing them from seed is not worth the time for us - planting onion sets has never produced onions like we get from transplants. Do you have another source for transplants that you can recommend?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 1:22AM
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ltilton

Onions are some of the least troublesome seedlings ever, don't take up much space, and readily catch up with larger bunched purchased seedlings that cost much more than a package of seeds.

There's a larger variety of seeds available, too.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 9:37AM
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elisa_z5

Hudson -- last year was Dixondale--the plants looked great and started great, ended smallish and now many are rotting,

The year before that was someplace I don't remember (but they were cheap), but they were rotting when they got here and most of them died.

All the years before that were Johnny's selected seeds and my plants did not bolt, and stored great (especially Copra) until the next spring and even into summer, were all big and healthy, etc. etc. It's just that the price went up from about $17 for three bunches to about $45 for three bunches, so I balked.

I suppose it could have been other factors that gave me two off onion years in a row, but this year I'll pay Johnny's whatever they ask! It's too much work to grow them and then have problems, not worth the money it saves if in fact Johnny's will do well for me.

I know I should try my own plants too -- ltilton, do I seed them indoors now if I want to plant in April? I think I have a packet of Walla wallas someplace.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:15AM
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steve333_gw

Hudson, I'm not sure about long day onions in general, as I have not really tried them much (wasn't aware AC was a long day type). I have not had much luck with Candy and the day neutral types, and mostly just stumbled onto AC and stuck with them. I have tried a few storage onions, but they never seemed to size up adequately here, so have stopped planting them.

Be interested to hear how the AC's work out for you. The schedule I have worked out for them is start seeds at the end of Jan. Transplant to a bed in the GH at 6-8 weeks. And then Transplant again to the garden at April-May. Onions are usually about pencil thickness then (On reconsidering, pencil is a bit too big, more like 1/8" diameter or maybe a bit more). I often do the final garden xplant in several stages, just in case we get some extreme cold/wind later than usual, so that some will survive.

This post was edited by steve333 on Thu, Jan 9, 14 at 22:19

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:27PM
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ltilton

elisa, yes, onions should be started inside early, definitely before February in Z5. Mine are usually a lot thinner than a pencil when I set them outside, which I do as early as possible, but they take off quickly.

If dubious, you might try what I did - one row of purchased seedlings and one row of your own seedlings. That's what convinced me, when my own seedlings overtook and did better than the purchased plants.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 10:18AM
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elisa_z5

ltilton -- I love experimenting, so the two competing rows sounds great. Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 10:32AM
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greenmulberry(5-Iowa City)

Here are some of my onions from last summer.

Red Wethersfield and Yellow of Parma.

I cured mine in the garden.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:43PM
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hudson___wy

Hi Greenmulberry - your onions look great! Was this photo taken last summer or today - how do they look today if the photo was taken last summer? How do they look when you cut into them today - are they storing well? Do you have a lot of double cored onions? Which onions are storing better - the red or yellow?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:06PM
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greenmulberry(5-Iowa City)

That photo was taken when I pulled them in from the garden before our last frost on October.

I just finished the last of the yellow ones, they keep great for me but don't last because I use so many, but I am going to start a lot more seed this spring.

I did get some double cores with the red ones, but. It too many. I am still eat g these, but I did have to clear a bunch out of the bag that we going off. They don't keep quite as well. I wish I had something for scale in that picture, some of the reds are huge. They are on top of one of those big grapefruit bags.
G

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:51PM
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bomber095(z5b MA)

Did someone say "good year for onions?" Good lord, I couldnt give them away. They started to become like zucchini; no one wanted anymore :-D

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 11:15AM
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hudson___wy

Elisa & Steve,
I Ordered a bundle of AC plants from Jung - decided to see if they do better than Dixondale Farms? I wanted to order them from Johnnys Seed but it is hard to pay $16 for a bundle and I had other items I was purchasing from Jung :) I will let you know how they turn out this year.

Greenmulberry,
Yes - your red onions were huge! I noticed that - we still have about a three month supply of onions left from our storage - still better than the super market!

Bomber,
Nice onions! Hope we have another great year!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 1:07PM
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ltilton

Definitely need to plant more next year. Just finished the Candy onions a week or so ago, and the red salad onions are down to the last 2 dozen - still keeping well.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 5:22PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I grow some 2000+ onions and need to plant with a transplanter so it does not work for me to start my own. I do start my own scallions and plant by hand (actually get someone with more patience to do it). But I like the larger sized plants only southern grown seedlings can give me. When I have started indoors, even in January, I get only chive sized seedlings. When you buy a case or two of onions they are way cheap. Plus onions are my number one money making crop. So for me purchasing plants is worth it. I do not recommend planting sets. Also be careful when you buy onion plants locally; they don't always know day length and sell southern onion plants up north.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:48PM
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bomber095(z5b MA)

I do mine from plants, and the problem I face is that you get so many in a 4-pack that I end up w. more than I know what to do w.! :-D I had over 40 onions this past year, and like I said it a previous post, it got to the point where I couldnt give them away anymore. I gave 3 to a friend, a dozen to another (she made onion jam), kept 10 or so for myself, gave a few to my inlaws, and I still had a surplus.

This year coming, I think I'm going to plant what I need, and then offer up the remaining young plants to other people at the community garden to see if they want them. Or just plant the excess in a corner, and donate the final product to the food pantry

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:47AM
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ltilton

minnie - so what you buy are long-day plants started in short-day territory?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:39PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Like many people, I buy from Dixondale in Texas. I plant in mid April. Most of the seedlings are at least pencil size not chive size like when I start them.

I should acknowledge that they do catch up, but as I said, I plant with a standing transplanter and many plants so I want nice thick seedlings.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 6:15PM
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mrdoitall(7)

I order my onion plants from Morgan County Seeds. They have them $2.00 to $2.40 per bunch. If you want them you need to order them this time of the year. In the comment part of your order you tell them when you want them shipped to you. They have a good selection to choose from. The shipping is only what it cost to ship them. Like last year I ordered 4 bunches and shipping was $6.95 total order was $15.65 that less than $4.00 per bunch shipped. This year I ordered a lot of seed and t-tape from them. They sent my order and emailed me saying my onions would ship the first week of March like I ask and shipping would be no additional shipping charge for them. It was all included in my other order. Great company with great prices.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:08AM
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hudson___wy

Mrdoitall - I just looked up their website (Morgan County Seeds) - little hard to know what you are buying - from the website listing - plants or seeds? If a bunch of 50-75 is $2.40 - what a deal ! Wish had known before I placed this years order! Are the transplants pencil sized like other suppliers? Thanks for the source reference!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 8:31PM
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mrdoitall(7)

The onion transplants are 1/8 to 1/4 inch if they are a little small to me that is better. Just keep them watered good and they will take off. Also most of the time when they are smaller they give you more per bunch. I would say most average around 3/16 inch. They have great seed and prices great customer service. Ship at cost and ship most orders in one week or less. But sometimes it will take 2 weeks when in the peak of the season. Yes the site is out dated and a little hard to navigate. But use it and you will get used to it. The seed are fresh with very good germination rates. They move a lot of seed. You will be happy with them.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 12:27AM
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charlieboring

I ordered Texas 1015 seeds from a Texas based company. I believe I get 200 seeds for a total cost with shipping of about $5.00. I am going to sow them in DIY newspaper pots about 2 -2.5 inches in diameter. I plan to sow 10 seeds per pot. Is that about the correct density? Any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:11AM
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hudson___wy

Mrdoitall,
Spent some time on the website - placed an order - I thought I had a good source for seed - this source is a good one !! :). Tks!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 11:16PM
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mrdoitall(7)

Like I said, I've been ordering from them for years. They run a very good company. You will be happy with the seed you get from them.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 2:52AM
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hudson___wy

I pulled down another bag of our storage onions today - proof is in the pudding - they say. I can't complain nor am I disappointed with these Dixondale "Super Star" onions! They are storing wonderfully - IMO

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 7:10PM
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elisa_z5

lltilton -- my onions from seed in pots are growing nicely -- are chive sized already. Thanks for the inspiration to try this!

bomber095 -- you just need more recipes that call for onions! I grow about 250 onions for 2 people and only give a few away under duress. We start eating them in May as scallions, so about 1/5 of them go that way.

A great way to use onion sets: in late Feb or early March, if it looks like I'll run out of storage onions before May, I throw in some sets, which are always available at Southern States that time of year. They'll be big "spring" onions by April, and fill in the gap nicely (and also impress the heck out of my neighbors that I've got onions that early -- those I give a lot away of, since people appreciate them so much.)

This has been an awesome thread -- thanks for all the info and seed/plant ordering ideas.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 1:08PM
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hudson___wy

- Sharing onions with family and friends - Here we are - a few days from March and the onions are still storing well. We packaged several today to share that look and feel as firm and fresh as the did last September. I suspect that they will start showing sprouts during March though (several already have) as they did last year. Not that we won't continue to use them - they just won't fall into the quality of sharing category - any longer. Fellow gardeners that live in cold climates as we do - if you can figure out a way to cure your onions - you should be able to grow, store and enjoy fresh garden onions most months of the year!

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 11:19

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 11:16AM
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lucille(Houston)

I made an impulse purchase a few weeks ago from Walmart, was on the way back to the auto service area and there was a display of onion bulbs, each bag had 50 bulbs and was $1.68, I bought 3 bags. But other than labeling them as 'sweet' onions, no variety name was a given.
I am planting them today, many of the bulbs have already sprouted.
Since they are not labelled by variety I'm hoping they will grow well in my area.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 8:13AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Hudson, It is worth to experiment. Few years ago I planted some of those (also called onion sets). I planted them some time around Christmas . Also planted some early spring. That was back in Georgia. They grew nicely, BUT a lot of them bolted. I have had better luck with seedlings. I think onions are biennial. So the second year they flower and produce seeds. For that reason, some of those sets realize that its their second year and should go for flowering. Because of that I would only plant the very tiny ones.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 9:17AM
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mrdoitall(7)

I only plant the dry bulb onion set like the bag ones from Walmart for green onions. Because they are 2nd year onions and 90 % of the time they just bolt and go to seed. If you want big onions for storage you need to use the plants or seed.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 5:11PM
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lucille(Houston)

I didn't know that, thank you.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:40PM
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hudson___wy

I agree - dry bulb onion sets are for green onions. But I don't even purchase them anymore because the seedlings are great for green onions too so I just order enough seedlings for green onions and storage onions. Neighbors are quite impressed when you give them a bag of onions that were grown next door that are bigger and better than what you can find in the grocery store!

I also agree with you Seysonn - that it is worth it to experiment! That is probly the best way to improve produce. We always plant mostly what has grown the best in prior years but always try new varieties to confirm we currently are growing the best for our area. Last year we planted 5 different varieties of onions and verified that none of them are better than Super Star. I have already purchased 4 more new varieties in addition to Super Star for 2014 to see if they can out produce and store longer than Super Star. We will see - if one does - it becomes the variety of choice for the following season.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 10:19PM
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lucille(Houston)

Is it too late to order sets and plant for this year?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:28AM
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elisa_z5

Well, in your area you may have done better planting earlier (maybe even in the fall) but I would never miss a year just because I was late :)

You'll want to make sure you get short day onions (most ordering places will divide their onion types by short, mid and long day types). And go with either sets or plants, as it is too late for seeds.

While some mail order places are already sold out, I can't imagine they all are. Try Dixondale -- they sell so many onions, and to people all over the country, they must have some left.

If you can find sets in a store near you, you'll save the shipping time (and postage costs).

Hey, even if you don't get huge onions this year, you'll learn a thing or two, and you'll at least get spring onions with all that wonderful tasty green.

Dixondale is linked at the end of the article linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: growing onions in texas

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 8:24AM
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lucille(Houston)

Thank you Elisa :)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 8:28AM
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mrdoitall(7)

Dixondale is great place to order from but a little high. I order from Morgan County Seeds They have bunches of onions for 2.00 to 2.40 per bunch I got 4 bunches for $14.65 to my door shipping and all for the same onions at dixondale it would cost $23.50 You would need to call Morgan County Seeds to see if they have any to sale. with them you have to put your order in Dec. Jan. to get on the list. You then tell them when you want then delivered to your home.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:59AM
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elisa_z5

OR you could order from Johnny's selected seeds and get 4 bunches for $73.25 (includes shipping). Do you think maybe they're not really in the home garden market??? (Price goes way down if you order, say, 30 bunches of the same kind.)

My problem is that when I got my onions from them (before their prices went sky high) I had problem free onions, and the past two years, from other cheaper places, I've had issues. Trying a new place this year -- fingers crossed. Also trying my own seedlings -- could be the real answer.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:06AM
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lucille(Houston)

I went to a local hardware store and they had some onion starts in bunches, there were 3 different kinds but I chose the 1015 (so named because one is supposed to plant them then, obviously I'm seriously late).
They are thin, some as thin as a 10 gauge wire and sort of dry looking. Got two bunches at $2.99 each.

This post was edited by lucille on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 5:20

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 2:53PM
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elisa_z5

Sounds great lucille -- just get them in the ground asap and see what happens.

And congratulations -- you beat the Johnny's price! :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:23PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

The problem with onions (seeds, plants , sets) is that you need to know that it is the right kind for your latitude : Down Texas you should plant SHORT day types. Up here in WA, I will have to plant LONG day varieties. Our days are 16 hours on June 22. And by then onions are not done yet. So the average daylight is about 14 hours during onion growing season, plus the temperatures are much cooler. It is likely that the garden centers in each location sell the appropriate variety but not for sure.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:25PM
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lucille(Houston)

Seysonn, the 1015 is famous down here. Texas A&M developed it, its other name is 'Texas Super Sweet'.
Pretty sure it will be OK here :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:29PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Lucille, .. that is perfect. I was just speaking in general. When I started growing onions years ago I have no idea about day length sensitivity of onions.

BTW: I have grown Texas Sweet in the past. Really nice white and sweet onions. Then I was in GA.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:46PM
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lucille(Houston)

Seysonn,
Thanks, I've grown onions in the past. The 1015s do very well but they do not store for a long time. I'm hoping they will be able to be frozen if I harvest enough.

This post was edited by lucille on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 20:40

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:32PM
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mrdoitall(7)

I live in North Alabama I have grown Copra Onions for years. They're a long day onion. I just have to set them out earlier than the short day onions so they can get as many leaves on them before it starts getting too hot. Each leaf equals one ring on the onion. The copra onion gets baseball size and some a little bigger down here. But if it gets too hot too soon they don't do as good. If I plant them to late they want bulb. I have to protect them with row covers. They're a great storage onion. This year I have added Walla Walla to see if I can make them grow down here. Walla Walla is also a long day onion. I grow Candy and Red Candy onions but they're Intermediate-Day Varieties that grow fine down here. I have grown the Texas Legend, Yellow Granex, 1015 Yellow Texas Super Sweet and Red Creole short day onions.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:21PM
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hudson___wy

The cycle is complete - our new onion starts for 2014 arrived last week and we planted them out today. We are still eating last years harvest so the Super Star onion has now stored for 7 months! We won't complain about that!

I ordered some onion starts from two sources other than Dixondalefarms.com this year for comparison based on comments I have read on this forum - I have to say that I was very disappointed - the transplants were not near the quality that we get from Dixondalefarms and the transplants from other sources were much smaller with less quantity per bundle - although the bundles were a little cheaper - it wasn't worth the savings - IMO!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 9:59PM
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mrdoitall(7)

Your post is why I hate recommending any source to anyone... Because I have no control of what they send you... My onions looked great this year... Maybe it because I get them so early... I get them the first day they have onions available to ship...If that's the onions you got this year I would be very happy getting them in the mail this late in the year... Just trim off 1/2 the green onion part and 1/2 the roots and plant them out... They will take off when your weather warms up some and should do fine... But you can bet I won't be sharing any more seed or plant sources on this forum again...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:12AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Looking great Hudson.
Maybe you should start a new thread for 2014 season. This has been a populare thread and thus has gotten very long and has reached a limit.

seysonn

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 7:42AM
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mrdoitall(7)

LOL I'm glad I looked back at the start of this tread. You need to go back and look at your May 16, 2013 onion plants They look more dried up than this years plants...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:53PM
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hudson___wy

Mrdoitall - Please keep recommending!! Morgan seed has become one of our sources for seeds etc that I would never have known about had you not recommended them!! I did order one bundle of onion transplants from them and they were actually pretty good - I was not disappointed with Morgan County Seed Onion transplants as I was with the other source - I highly recommend Morgan County Seeds! I also ordered Rhubarb starts and seed potatoes that are awesome and they have great prices on bulk seeds - which I ordered. I find them very friendly and eager to help whenever I call them - they are a great source & they only charge the exact shipping costs - thanks so much for recommending them!!

I agree - the time of year the starts are ordered/shipped make a difference. Last year I order the starts from Dixondalefarms on the last possible shipment date (May 13th I think) - this year I ordered them to arrive April 15th. There was a big difference! This year they arrived green and appeared to have just been pulled from the field - last year the tops were dried out as you mentioned and can see in the photo from May 16th and the starts appeared to have been in cold storage a week or two before they were shipped to me.

Although the onion transplants form Morgan Seeds were as good as Dixondalefarms and appeared to have been just pulled from the field - Dixondale may be a little more generous with the bundle count - depending on the year - which may equalize the cost some. I think they are both good sources for onion starts though and one should order from either or both sources depending on the variety and preference.

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Mon, May 5, 14 at 3:57

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 3:46AM
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hudson___wy

It is a good thing onion plants can tolerate colder temperatures! We want to plant them in late April or Early May so they will get some size before freezing in the fall. We timed it perfect as I was able to work the soil and get them planted before this spring snow storm that may have delayed planting for a week or two!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 7:40PM
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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

>> Your post is why I hate recommending any source to anyone...
>> .. But you can bet I won't be sharing any more ... sources on this forum again

Fine. But without you I never would have found Morgan and without someone else I never would have found Dixondale. You pays your dime and you takes your chances, but someone has to let you know where the show is.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 7:59PM
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hudson___wy

Mrdoitall
"Your post is why I hate recommending any source to anyone... Because I have no control of what they send you..."

I am reporting back to you from you comments back in May - you were right - even though the onion transplants from one supplier were smaller than from another - they appear now to all be on the same plane. The photo shows the Highlander that had larger transplants next to the Ailsa Craig that had smaller transplants - they were planted on the same day. Other than the fact that the larger transplants are a little easier to handle and the advantage of purchasing transplants from the same supplier - Three months later their appears to be little difference between the plants. FYI

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:12PM
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soilent_green

A little late, but thought I would mention that in May I used my last storage onion from the 2013 harvest. Not a bad storage run. Of all the varieties I grew (list mentioned previously) the Red Zeppelin reds stored the longest.

This year from Dixondale I ordered:
Copra
Walla Walla
Ringmaster
Sterling
Red Zeppelin

I ordered fewer sweet varieties this year because I could not use them up fast enough last year and lost many to sprouting. To make use of them rather than lose them I dehydrated onions for the first time with fantastic results. The house smelled wonderfully during the process and surprisingly I never got tired of it, although it made me hungry all the time.

Crop this year is decent, not quite as good as last year but a much poorer growing season is likely to blame. The Dixondale starts are still easily outperforming anything else I have ever planted. I counted only three plants total that failed. This year I planted every tiny little extra bonus plant and they all produced for me as well, although on the smallish side, giving me an extra 75 or so which are great for giveaways to the older folks I know that do not need or want large onions.

At time of writing I have only harvested Walla Walla and Copra, the rest are still maturing in the garden.

Sterling appears to be the largest - consistently softball-sized. Walla Walla are the most inconsistently sized (but oh the wonderful, tasty onion rings the big ones make...). Once again my Red Zeppeling reds are consistently smallish, but they stored so wonderfully last winter that it does not bother me, and will not stop me from ordering them again in the future. Copra consistently sized up between baseball and softball, very acceptable for me for a storage onion as the big ones always spoil early.

By the way, this year for fun I thickly seeded some Granex onions. Not a long season onion so never does well here regarding sizing up. Harvested them as pearls and pickled them. Turned out wonderfully.

Next year I also want to try growing Cippolini and Tropea...

-Tom

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:16AM
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hudson___wy

Tom - have you tried growing Yellow Granex from Dixondale? When you seeded some Granex - I assume you grew them from seeds? Just curious how large a Dixondale short day onion transplant would bulb in your long day area?

You may consider growing the new Highlander variety from Dixondale next year - we are excited to see how they store - they have already bulbed up as large or larger than any onion we have planted. I need to post a current pic of the onion - it is getting big with still a few weeks to go. We have pulled a few to eat - they have a good flavor - if they cure and store well - they will be a regular!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:15AM
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soilent_green

I have not tried Yellow Granex from Dixondale. Guess I do not see the point although I do tend towards experimentation. Last year I purchased some Granex seed not knowing it is short day (why do stores carry seed racks with vegetable varieties that are not applicable to local growing conditions, season length, etc.?). Anyway, for 2013 I started Granex seeds indoors and transplanted the plants in spring. Onions did not get any larger than golf ball size. Only tried this once, so I do not know if issue was related to being a short day variety or other. They tasted good though. This year it was either toss the leftover seeds or plant them so I direct seeded with the intention of harvesting as pearls. Worked well enough that I actually may do again.

Due to inconsistency of size, I may abandon the Walla Walla as I did Ailsa Craig. Will likely substitute with Highlander to give them a try. This year I dropped Ailsa Craig and doubled up on Copra, which I think will work out great. I am more interested in consistency of size and storeability than I am in getting really large onions.

Neglected to mention my total onion count: I purchased six bunches from Dixondale and expect to have a total harvest of approximately 480 onions. I also harvested 25 pounds of French Red and Zeebrune shallots, and 30 pounds of yellow potato onions. They are curing on the porch next to the onions. Harvested all the walking onion topsets to control spreading. Will pickle some of them and fall-plant some for spring green onions. I also plan on pickling garlic bulbils that I harvested two weeks ago and are still curing.

Will be interesting to hear how your Highlanders store compared to other varieties. Please keep us posted...

-Tom

This post was edited by soilent_green on Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 20:58

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:44PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

I'm growing onions for the first time and now I'm addicted. Didn't realize how much I would enjoy the upper greens in salad. Will try another variety next year.

edit:correct pic

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by goodground on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 13:21

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:54PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

I grew them from seed. Here is a pic prior to transplanting outside in April 2014.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:59PM
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yolos - z 7b/8a Ga.

Goodground - do you cut back the roots or tops before you transplant the seedlings.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 2:29PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

yolos- I did not prune the roots intentionally, only what got damaged pulling them apart. I pruned seedling tops several times prior to transplanting so plants stayed erect. After transplanting, I did not prune the tops any more.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:31PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Last year, when I toured the grow outs on SSE's Heritage Farm, they had an onion field with numerous trials. One variety really stood out from the others: "Newberg", an open-pollinated development from Dr. Kapular of Peace Seeds. The bulbs were spherical, very large & consistent, with no sign of doubles or splitting. That it performed so well despite heavy weed pressure was especially noteworthy.


"Newberg", on SSE's 2013 grow out

So I started 144 plants this year, and so far, they are growing nicely. While I've started bunching onions from seed before, this year was the first time I've started my own onion plants for bulbs. There were a few problems... I started them later than the recommendations for my area, and the seedlings were very late getting transplanted due to wet weather. Still, I'm pretty happy with how they are turning out... most are about 3" wide at present. I'll post photos after the harvest.

This was the first year starting plants indoors with a new light setup, 6-bulb hi-bay reflective florescent fixtures. The light was intense enough that the onion plants remained fairly short until I was able to put them outside, I never had to trim them back.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 12:13AM
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hudson___wy

Zeedman - the Newberg is growing nicely for you! My garden could certainly trial for heavy weed pressure - haha. Yes - please post some photos on harvest - your onions have done very well from planting seed - especially if they were late - they have bulbed up nicely!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:34AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Onions have always been my best crop but this year they were the best of all time. I order from Dixondale. I must have grown around 3000 onions. Almost all of them are jumbo, over one pound. I think they did better this year because of the wet spring. I shared my plant order with 2 friends who did not get the results I did. The trick to onions is simple: lots of manure worked in, plant shallowly through plastic mulch with several drip tape underneath, and weed a couple times.

Here is a link that might be useful: seed saving class in MN

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 9:15PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Also I did one bed this year with 2 onions in each hole. Those did very well for spring onions. I had more than I needed was all. I grew Walla Walla, Red Torpedo, Red and Yellow Cippollini, Ringmaster, Big Daddy, Copra and wanted Mars red onion but the only one they had was Red Zeppelin which is a Seminis variety. The Copras were way bigger than normal.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 9:19PM
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soilent_green

Nice onions Minnie. How did your Torpedo and Cippolini do? Been thinking of growing those myself next year just to try something unique. A nice little shish kebab/grilling onion like the Cippolinis would be kind of nice to have.

Harvested all my onions yesterday morning before the rains came. Had not a drop of rain for 7 weeks and just finished up with 1.5 inches in the last 24 hours. All my rainwater catch tanks are full once again, should last out the rest of the season. :-) Was getting pretty crispy around here.

Was not impressed with Ringmaster and will be dropping them from my list. Too inconsistently sized for me and a fair amount of doubling. My Sterlings turned out wonderfully. I now consider my main crop onions to be Copra, Sterling, and Red Zeppelin, and I will simply order larger quantities of these three to keep my quantities where I want them to be. I also plan on trying Highlander next year as well, and for fun I will try Tropea/Torpedo and the Cippolinis.

-Tom

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:19PM
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hudson___wy

Your onions look awesome Minnie! 3,000 is a lot of onions!! Your onions are very large!

You may consider trying a few of the new "Highlander" from Dixondale. Take a look at the Highlander onion thread where I posted some photos of the onion - we usually stick with Super Star - but Highlander will become another regular if it stores as well as Super Star. Highlander grew very large for us and matured early.

We also tried Red Candy Apple this year - It also matured early but without bulbing up very large - most are the size of a baseball - which is OK - if they store well. Here is a photo of the Red Candy Apple from Dixondale.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:28AM
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hudson___wy

Highlander

Red Candy Apple

Ailsa Craig

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 5:05PM
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nugrdnnut

wow hudson & lil minnie... nice Harvests!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:38PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I am also going to drop Ringmaster. It is actually really mild but it just isn't a seller. The Cippos did great and the torpedoes even better. Torpedoes sell really well at market. I bunch them in 3-4 and sell for $3. I only have about 10 left of those. The Cippos are boxed and waiting. I use them for sauces for sure. I usually sell braids of them, or try anyway; no one buys them. This year I cut all their tops. Maybe I will braid some other onions.

This pic is from last year.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:32PM
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nickrosesn

This was my first year at growing onions and it went better then I thought. I started the seeds in garden last October and then in April I moved them to there final location. Right now there in the final curing stages. This October I will do Walla Wallas again, and then a long storage type and then a long storage red onion.

Walla Walla Onions

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 3:50PM
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hudson___wy

Nice onions NickRose - that's impressive that you started them from seed!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 3:54AM
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