Monday, July 20, 2020

Onion Progress


The onions have started to bulb up, which is always exciting!



This year I only planted 2 varieties, which happened to be the only long day varieties that I could get my hands on at Baker Creek Seeds - Wethersfield and Stuttgarter.  While I grew Wethersfield last year, Stuttgarter is a new-to-me variety.


Wethersfield in the foreground with Stuttgarter in the back

I always like to grow both red and white varieties, even though the white ones tend to store just a bit better.  I actually have a few from last years harvest still in the basement and they are firm and haven't started to sprout yet....seriously!

This year, I goofed on the number of seeds that I sowed and ended up short.  Since I wasn't going to be able to fill up the bed with the number of seedlings I grew, I decided to experiment a bit with spacing.  Most of the bed is at the normal 4" spacing but a couple of rows were more spaced out.  Spacing onions further apart is supposed to give you larger bulbs but, so far, I don't see much difference.


You can see the difference in spacing between
the onions planted on the left vs. the right.

And lastly, also in the onion bed are the Golden shallots planted last year.  Our wild and wacky weather this year resulted in something new on that side of the bed - every single clump bolted:



If my bed wasn't netted to keep out the leek moths,
the pollinators would have at least enjoyed the shallot blooms.

This has happened in the past to the occasional clump but never the entire lot.   It's not a huge issue, however, as usually only one bulb per clump forms a flower stalk and ends up having a woody core.  The rest of the bulbs should be fine, although they will probably be on the small side.  We'll have to wait and see.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

8 comments:

  1. One way or another, the weather always manages to throw a curve ball. I've never tried growing onions but, if I expand the grouping of half barrels I installed in our front garden this summer, maybe I'll try that. Do critters bother your onion crop? My tomatoes are getting gnawed by rats...

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    1. The only issues I've had with onions are leek moths (their larva drill into the onion which either ruins them or reduces how long they store). Otherwise, they are critter free ...although we did have some sort of critter tear the bed netting to pieces early in the season, but I guess they were disappointed that there were no tasty treat underneath. Thankfully, the onion seedlings recovered from their trampling.

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  2. Onions are one of the things which really amaze me, such tiny seeds produce nothing more than a blade of grass, and then the bulbs swell as they do. Nature really is astounding.

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  3. I agree, it is exciting to see the onions start to bulb. Do you let all your onions mature or do you use them young? I alway plant extras to use as spring onions, the whole thing is edible including the greens. I love them grilled.

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    1. I had planned on doing that (planting extras for spring onions) but ran short. I decided to grow some Tokyo Long White bunching onions that I had seed for stashed in the freezer. They came up pretty well, although they are still rather small as I sowed them directly into the bed in May. I'll have to try your grilling suggestion - sounds delicious!

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  4. We have two onion beds planted a couple of days apart. One is doing well and the other really struggling. No idea why. We always find that red onions do less well than the other varieties.

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  5. Do you find a taste difference between the onions you grow and the store-bought? This year I snuck a couple of cherry tomato vines in the bed with the jackmanii clematis - still waiting for the first fruit to ripen!

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    1. I don't find much of a difference in taste; I love growing them as they are so much fun and, as with other veg grown from seed, there are dozens of different varieties to try in all shapes, sizes and colours. One difference I do find is how well they store. I still have a few in the basement that are nice and firm. Our current crop will be harvested in another month or so but the onions have bulbed up enough that I could harvest a fresh one if I needed to. Yum to your cherry tomatoes! I'm sure those first few won't make it to the kitchen :)

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