Potting up onion seedlings

mandolls(4)February 10, 2013

I have tried to search this but cant seem to find it mentioned. This is my first year for onions of any sort. I have started some Cabernet reds and White Lisbon bunching onions. I started 5-6 seeds per 3oz cup and they are no about 2.5" high with two leaves. I am beginning to transplant them into individual containers.

I am using 4" pots since they will be inside for another 8-10 weeks. My concern is whether I am planting them to deeply as I move them. Almost everything else that I transplant gets planted a bit deeper when I move it. I have just been reading about many people having problems because they planted their onions to deep when setting them out. Does this apply to transplanting the seedlings too? The ones I have already transplanted I set to about the depth of where the second leaf forks off, some maybe a smidge deeper.

Also - planting out - everything I read says as early as you can turn the soil. I have raised beds so they defrost fairly early, but I am in WI - can they really take a few freezes?

Any advice would be appreciated - thanks

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

can they really take a few freezes?

Yes, with no problems. Even more so it you mulch them. As the soil warms they will push right up through the mulch unless you use something that mats down heavily. In that case lightly pull it back from the plants as the weather warms.

In your location you should be able to transplant them to the garden mid-March (even earlier if you warm your soil) so you started them too early and will need to baby them a bit to carry them over.

Normally they are started in time to just transplant them once from germination container to garden. Try to avoid transplanting them more than once so using the 4" pots (plant them 1" deep) 'should' work for the Cabernet.

When it comes time to go to the garden, trim the tops to about 3" and carefully transplant the whole 4" soil block intact so that the top of the block sits even with or just below the surface of the garden soil.

Now White Lisbon is a scallion, a bunching onion. They can be grown in clusters and I wouldn't bother transplanting them to the 4" pots. They will likely be ready to use (40-60 day onion) before you could transplant to the garden. Direct seed more of them in mid-April.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Thanks Dave - I think that helps.

I havent stated moving the white lisbon yet, so if and when I do (those 3oz cups are really small), I'll just move them into deeper 9 oz cups, but not separate them and plan on eating them with the lettuce and arugula that I am growing inside.

The 4" pots that I am using are cow pots (which I know you are not a fan of) so I wont have to disturb them at all when I plant them out. If at that time the bulb of the onion isnt showing above the soil, should I pull it back a bit?

Mid March is way earlier that I have ever tried to move anything out, but if the snow is gone I'll give it a try. I have some low hoops that I made to fit over a couple of the beds, so I can put those over them to try to get the soil warmed up earlier. Right now due to drifts, one end of the 14" deep beds isnt even showing above the snow.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 1:52PM
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