This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

how to grow "comically huge" onions

I was so thrilled with Sara's comment on how to grow "comically huge" onions that I have spent some time reading up on onion culture.

Sara wrote: Onions: plant very shallowly, feed, feed, feed and water to put on as much leaf mass as possible before your daylength reaches the # of hours that your variety requires to bulb. Used organic fertilizer and compost last year and grew HUGE onions. Comically huge.
These are my tiny onions:
onion harvest 042 onions 004

Here's a really great link I found: Growing Onions, TexasA&M
The size of the onion bulb is dependent upon the number and size of the green leaves or tops at the time of bulb maturity. For each leaf there will be a ring of onion; the larger the leaf, the larger the ring will be.
My onion varieties are all "long-day" onion varieties. They will quit forming tops and begin to form bulbs when the day length reaches 14 to 16 hours. In the Boston area, that happens (15 hours) on May 29. (I used this daylight calculator.)

Sooo.... My plan is: plant shallow, then baby my onions until the end of May. Lots of food and water and sun.

Onion varieties I'm growing this year: Pontiac, White wing, Red wing, and Ailsa Craig.



Anonymous Sarah said...

You really made my day. I am so flattered you mentioned my comment on your blog. I have followed your blog for a long time. I must also mention that I grow intermediate day onions, and do buy onion starts from Dixondale Farms. I have never tried growing onions from seed and admire your determination. For your tomato resolution: if you have ever been interested in trying out grafting I highly recommend it. We grafted half our plants last year to Estamino from Johnny's and the plants set more fruit longer into the season than the ungrafted versions. The Jaune Flammes and Sungolds set all the way to frost even with mild fungal problems, long after the ungrafted ones gave up. For climate reference I am a Virginia gardener.

January 15, 2015 5:36 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Well I'm flattered you commented on my blog! as you know I really loved your onion comment.

I'd be curious to try grafting. Maybe I will. I know the soil at my community garden is good so I could try a grafted plant there. That would be fun. I'll buy some Estamino seed. I saw that in the catalog when I was ordering last month.

My problem with cherry tomatoes has been getting them to stop. ;-) Sun Gold is a great cherry. Last year I grew cherry Jasper and it just wouldn't quit. I had gallons of tomatoes from one plant. The thought of a grafter cherry scares me. ;-)

I love that you grew them side by side, grafted and not grafted. I will remember to set mine up that way too.


January 15, 2015 5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in zone 5 and grow long day onions. Two years ago I tried growing onions from seed by following the directions for direct sowing on the packet. I ended up with cocktail-sized onions by the end of the season. After this failure, I began researching onions growing and discovered that they have to be started indoors at the end of January/very early February to get large enough in New York State. Last year I grew huge onions. Sow indoors, provide 12 hours of light per day, fertilize heavily. Once the leaves reach 6 inches, cut them back to 4 inches to add extra leaves and strength to the plant. Keep cutting them back every couple of weeks. Transplant out a week or two before your last frost but protect with a tunnel. Onions need consistent, frequent watering and fertilizing. Deb S

January 16, 2015 1:35 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I usually sow indoors middle of Feb, sometimes can't wait to get going and its early Feb. That's zone 6. So it sounds right as you are zone 5. I do 12 hours of light.

I have never tried cutting the plants back. I've read about this. Will try this year. THANKS!!!

But I think its mostly my lack of consistent, frequent watering and fertilizing that's the problem since my friend did great with my seedlings. A telling control... Hopefully I can get to my garden more often this year and do this!!!

January 16, 2015 2:05 PM

Blogger Shaela said...

Tiny onions are so annoying to cook with. Any favorite uses?

January 18, 2015 8:40 AM

Blogger kathy said...

I usually just do the same with them as large onions. But they're annoying to peel and they're gone so fast.

Little onions are nice whole or halved in stews or on kebabs.

January 18, 2015 5:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little onions do very well in a gimlet.

April 26, 2015 9:58 AM


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