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A couple questions regarding onion transplants

Posted by woohooman San Diego CA 10a (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 11:50

I posted this in the Allium forum, but I noticed the VEGETABLE forum has more traffic -- more feedback, possibly BIGGER onions. :)

So far, I've only had success growing leeks and scallions. I've tried Utah Jumbo, but "Jumbo" they are not.

I have a variety of red and I've read that starting from sprouts is the way to go. So, I have a tub of sprouts about 10 in. long -- they're ready to go in the ground.

Let me try to get this right-- although I don't have dibble, I was going to use a pencil and poke holes 3 in. deep. Drop them in said holes and loosely fill with fine soil. Then trim the leaves to about 1 in. above surface.

Is that correct?

I've also read that they like Nitrogen. Is this true? I know they like Phosphorus, never heard they also like Nitro.
Should I be going heavy on the bone meal AND the cottonseed and/or regular feedings of fish fert. through the season?



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: A couple questions regarding onion transplants

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 12:34

the method is fine. I do not trim them. Sure they like nitrogen, who doesn't? big tops make big bulbs. In my very composted garden P, once nearly absent, is now above optimal. If you, too, have composted in the past, you would be better off giving them some urea, and that's it.

RE: A couple questions regarding onion transplants

I'm not sure I'm correctly understanding your question, are you trying to grow regular bulb onions? If so, I think your techniques are very different, but I am in a very different part of the country, so take what I say with a grain of salt! If I had your tray of sprouts, I would make the holes a little less deep, and certainly not trim off the leaves. Unless it is crazy hot there, but I would mulch with straw or something rather than sacrifice the leaves. Keep them well watered for a week or so after transplant if it is dry there, or just keep an eye out for wilting if it is not.

Not so sure about the phosphorus, are you thinking of them as a root vegetable? A lot of gardening manuals do that for some reason, but onions do like nitrogen because they really are a leaf crop. That bulb we eat is the swollen base of the leaves, the roots of onions are small and comparatively unnoticable. Up the nitrogen and I think you will be happy with the results. Cheers!

RE: A couple questions regarding onion transplants

Concur. the onion is a leaf vegetable with a very high requirement for nitrogen. They bulb almost on top of the ground. At three inches they may never bulb or if they do be very small. In your area, make sure you have short day onions for winter planting. Just push the plants into the surface of the soil so the top of the tiny bulb is slightly above the soil surface. Onions are easy to grow, but planting them too deep or covering the growing bulb is the major reason for failure.
Red Grano White Granex Granex 33

RE: A couple questions regarding onion transplants

Agree that cutting off the tops is neither necessary nor desirable.

RE: A couple questions regarding onion transplants

As mentioned, "make sure you have short day onions for winter planting. " That is crucial to your success. I suggest some reading about how to grow onions on the Dixondale Farm Onions website. Great information.


RE: A couple questions regarding onion transplants

Thanks everybody for the feedback -- hopefully I can be more successful.

Sunnibel: Yes. Bulbs in this case.

Farmerdill and digdirt. Yep, got some Red Burgundy which I have read are a short-day.

Thanks again everybody.


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