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, February 23, 2017

it's time to plant onions!

I sowed my first seeds of the season. A tray with several types of onions, leeks, and celeriac. My planting calendar said it was time.

planting onions IMG_0163 IMG_0213

I couldn't find my leftover plant labels from last year, so I cut up a plastic tofu container. I'll get better labels before I need to mark the rows outside.

I'll start up a post soon with a list of the onion varieties I planted. I'll continue fill in this list as I plant more seeds. Next on my planting schedule are cabbages and escarole, but that's not for another two weeks. Until then I'll just watch my onions germinate. (That usually takes 7-10 days.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though I'm in zone 5, I start my onions in early February to ensure that they size up by August. I've sown Patterson onions this year - they were listed as a good replacement for Copra. The germination has been extremely poor - 32 germinated out of 250 seeds. The Ailsa Craig Exhibition Onions that I'm also growing are doing fine. When I contacted Territorial Seed Co, they said that Patterson needs a heat mat and 80F to germinate. I've never had this with onions before; I've always had great germination in 65F. DebS

February 23, 2017 5:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What size are your containers?

February 24, 2017 4:44 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I've looked at several websites selling Patterson onions including Pinetree, Johnny's, and others. Onions germinate best about 70 degrees and Patterson is not listed as an exception. I don't know that Territorial was telling you. It makes no sense to me. Maybe you had unsterile soil, dirty pots, overwatered, but I don't think it was soil temperature, since Ailsa Craig germinated. And since that one did, all the other reasons aren't likely either.

Onions seeds are one of the most labile vegetable seeds along with carrots and parsnips. They don't last very long and are sensitive to less than optimal storage conditions. I planted about six varieties of onions this year, a couple pots of each and four of Pontiac, my favorite. If any fail, I still have more than enough for a good crop. I don't do anything unusual for them. Room temperature - 68-70. Regular old seed starting soil, clean pots, water as needed. For such an early started seed, I want to make double sure I get seedlings going. It's the same for my celeriac and leeks.

I think Territorisl should have made it very clear the onions were unusual and needed a higher temp. It would be good if they refund you. Nevertheless that's a lot of effort for you and your out of onions after your planting date. I hope a replant works well. Maybe you want to try a pot or two of the Patterson again in case it was a fluke. Also some other varieties. Any variety can fail at any step. Most likely germination, but also disease susceptibility, sizing up etc. Good luck.

February 25, 2017 12:17 AM

Blogger kathy said...

I am using pots that are about 2.5 x 1.5 inches. I'll measure again later to check. I've used these the past few years and I like the size. I can plant a nice amount of small seedlings like onions go a good row. They do well holding one pepper or broccoli. They are s good size for sharing seedlings. I bought them online in bulk at Greenhouse Megastore.

February 25, 2017 12:21 AM

Blogger kathy said...

This post from last year describes my pots

Or search "pots" on my blog.

February 25, 2017 12:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Territorial sent a replacement packet of seeds. I sowed them yesterday and put them straight onto a heat mat. Territorial also looked at their instructions - which was the same as for all onions: 50-75f - and apologized that the instructions were not accurate. There wasn't any difference in how these seeds were planted versus the other seeds (freshly opened, just purchased bag of McEnroe seed starting mix). So, it is either a bad batch of seed or the heat issue. I mentioned this to give a heads up about the temperature in case you, or anyone else reading your blog, is attempting to grow Patterson. I shall have to put Pontiac on my list to try next year. DebS.

February 25, 2017 1:35 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Good luck! That's great they gave you another pack of seeds and clarified the heat issue. Let me know how they sprout. It's good you have the Ailsa Craig onion seedlings going.

February 26, 2017 1:57 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Another thought is light. Onions like to germinate in the dark. I usually don't get my lights going til they're up. Mostly because they are my first seeds, but I have read recently that they do germinate faster in the dark. So you may want to either plant them at least 1/4 to 1/3 inch deep, or more, or leave the pots in the dark til they're up. ... just another thought ....

February 26, 2017 2:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy

Love using your veg app. I like that you have companion flowers with the veg.

When will your flower & herb app be ready for Android?


February 26, 2017 2:18 PM

Blogger Dana K said...

Kathy, when you put your onions under the light, how many hours do you have them on for? I read that if you leave them on for 14 or more hours a day then that's the signal for them to start forming bulbs and you'all end up with small onions. I'm talking about long day onions. I'm wondering if I should put them under a light away from the rest of my seedlings where the lights are on 14+ hours a day.

February 26, 2017 3:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that tip, Kathy. I do plant them fairly deep but I think I will try moving them to a darker spot in the basement until they are up. I have to laugh - at the same time I was starting the onions that I thought would be easy, I sowed Painted Tongue seeds for the first time. Now I was dreading these because the packet warned that they are extremely slow and sporadic with germination, had to be sown on the surface and placed in a warm, dark place. I sowed the entire packet of seed (hundreds of tiny seeds) and it looks as if every one sprouted - within 3 days. I've just potted up clumps of the Painted Tongue seedlings, which are now on their second set of true leaves. Oh well, more plants to give away to friends and family! DebS

February 26, 2017 5:55 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Ive always run my lights 12 hours a day. That's worked fine.

February 27, 2017 1:24 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Carolyn, im really glad you like using my vegetable planting calendar app. We have been working hard on updates that will be out within the month I expect. They will include planting information for the flowers and vegetables and almost doubling the number of types of plants for both apps. We're adding a bunch of our photos too, which are making it look really nice.

I'm sorry about our Android version. We were selling one for our vegetable app but have taken it off Google Play and will no longer be supporting it. we've had so few sales. i think about 1 Android to every 100 iOS. We won't produce an Android Flower and Herb app. We were surprised to see such s difference between iOS and android. Both platforms take a lot of time to work with and it's just not worth it for us to continue with Android.

February 27, 2017 1:37 AM

Blogger Carolyn said...

Oh no, I'm using your Android veg app. Guess my next phone will be an iPhone.

February 28, 2017 9:03 AM


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