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  #1  
Old 07-23-2017, 04:32 PM
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Default New to Growing Onions

I've never grown onions before. My early seed starts were a disaster, but I also bought about 2 dz onion sets (white onions) which have grown to about tennis ball size.

My question is about when to harvest and what to do with them after picking? Several have started to develop brown leaves which are sagging. We've had virtually daily rain, and the ones I've picked are kinda soggy & slimy.

Will they dry out if I hang them, or should I wait to harvest them until the weather dries up a little?
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Old 07-23-2017, 07:59 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is online now
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I've never grown onions before. My early seed starts were a disaster, but I also bought about 2 dz onion sets (white onions) which have grown to about tennis ball size.

My question is about when to harvest and what to do with them after picking? Several have started to develop brown leaves which are sagging. We've had virtually daily rain, and the ones I've picked are kinda soggy & slimy.

Will they dry out if I hang them, or should I wait to harvest them until the weather dries up a little?
When the tops start to dry, we usually just knock them over and let them "age". When they are mostly dry, we dig or pull them, then cure them in a dry, not cool place if they are storage onions. When they are pretty well cured, we either braid them and hang them, or we put them into onion bags and hang the bags in our garage (somewhat heated). We usually don't use sets here, because they tend to bring onion maggots with them, but if they work for you, that's great. Onions are the first thing I plant here (around the beginning of February from seed). I then keep the tops pruned to 4" or 5" to keep the plants under control. It seems that whenever I "prune" them, they add another layer of leaves and new growth. We have a short growing season here, and have to get as much growth as we can before the Solstice when the days start getting shorter. It sounds like your onions are just about mature if they are stating to brown, so I would knock them over (or just let them fall on their own) and get ready for great onions through the winter.
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:52 PM
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Thanks, Don. It's been so wet here this year the stalks are toppling over but still green. I'll be more patient.
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:05 PM
CountryMom22 Female CountryMom22 is offline
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My onions are doing the same thing, doc. I'm just going to let them fall over on their own and leave them in the ground a few days before I pull them and lay them out to dry. They seem to last longer when braided if I do that.

Thanks for the info about cutting them back, Doninaslaska. How long do you keep pruning them? I'll try that next year.
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:23 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is online now
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Thanks for the info about cutting them back, Doninaslaska. How long do you keep pruning them? I'll try that next year.
I continue pruning them almost until I plant them in the garden. We have a short growing season, but very long days. In all growing regions, however, if you are growing "long day" onions, you want the plants as large as possible by the summer solstice, as the bulbs start to form as the days shorten. I usually buy my seeds from Johnny's, as they have onions sorted by latitude (Stokes does it some as well). I start my onions from seed in February, and plant them out near the end of May. I prune them all that time. You would adjust your pruning time to your planting date. Just let them get started, then when they get a bit unruly, prune them back to 4" or 5" and let them grow again for a couple weeks, then prune them back again. Frequency of planting will depend on the lighting arrangement you have and the fertility of your planting medium.
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Old 07-30-2017, 02:33 PM
CountryMom22 Female CountryMom22 is offline
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Thanks, I'll definitely try that next year. I get my onions from Johnny's too.
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:47 PM
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Doc, it might be time to start thinking about starting onions if you are going to try growing from seeds. I almost always grow from seed, as the varieties available are much more numerous, and I have found that sets can bring in the onion maggots with them. I will be starting mine in about 3 weeks, but in Wisconsin, you could start now if you have room and a well-lit area. Just remember to keep them trimmed so they don't get all tangled and continue to put on more layers.
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Old 01-07-2018, 04:15 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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Useful details... I hope....
At one time I had a catalog from a provider of onion seeds, sets and all like that. They did onions exclusively.

It seemed there focus was on farmers market, nursery provider, to field crop size producers. Unless you are a major size home gardener, there varieties and seed quantities etc seemed too much for the average home gardener.

With a quick, dirty search the name I come up with that seems familiar is Dixondale.
xxx
I will have to search, but think there is a similar type supplier in Ontario, but not sure if they have things compatible with this far up on this side of the mountains.

Local available nursery sets have provided well enough for our needs in our part of the bush.
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:04 PM
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Useful details... I hope....
At one time I had a catalog from a provider of onion seeds, sets and all like that. They did onions exclusively.

It seemed there focus was on farmers market, nursery provider, to field crop size producers. Unless you are a major size home gardener, there varieties and seed quantities etc seemed too much for the average home gardener.

With a quick, dirty search the name I come up with that seems familiar is Dixondale.
xxx
I will have to search, but think there is a similar type supplier in Ontario, but not sure if they have things compatible with this far up on this side of the mountains.

Local available nursery sets have provided well enough for our needs in our part of the bush.
Tim, the key with onions is daylength. We who live in the North need long-day onion varieties. I like to order onions from Johnny's, as they have latitude recommendations for their varieties. I don't know if they market to Canada or not, and I am not that familiar with Canadian firms who do not market to the U.S., but I do order from Vesey's and Stokes who have firms on both sides of the borders. You can find a variety that fits your latitude. If you want bulbs, you want the plant to be as big as possible at the Summer Solstice, as a change in daylength is what triggers the formation of bulbs. Onions are somewhat resistant to frost, so you don't have to wait until your last frost to plant them outside, but you do not want the ground to be really cold since that will slow the plant growth and be counterproductive. I think Dixondale is in Texas, and they specialize in Onions--mostly plants , since the profit is greater, and they sell long-, intermediate-, and short-day varieties. The long-day are for Northern growers like us; the Short-day are for Southern growers who grow their onions mostly in the winter, and the Intermediate-day varieties take the center of the country like Nebraska, Missouri, etc., who grow in the Summer, but who do not have the long days we have in the North. I have grown onions in all latitudes and daylengths, and have found the Far North to be the most challenging. Until I perfected my "start early and trim the tops" method, all I could get to grow were scallion-type onions--no bulbs would form well, even with sets. I could not get big onion bulbs. Redwing and Ailsa Craig are the two varieties I get to grow best here. Ailsa Craig doesn't store as well as the Redwing, but the bulbs get larger, so I grow both varieties and use the Ailsa Craig first. I hope you will try onions from seed, as the effort is well worth it.
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