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Direct seeding onions  RSS feed

 
steward
Posts: 3546
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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In my climate, most people start their onions inside in February. I have a couple of friends who start theirs in April, but it a variety that matures in 60 days.

I was wondering if anybody has had experience direct seeding onions in an area where the last frost is around mid-May and the first frost around mid-Sept with long summer days (15.5 hrs at the solstice).

I read that the Early Yellow Globe onion can be directly seeded.
 
gardener
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Location: St Paul, MN/Tularosa, NM and now a gapper at Wheaton Labs
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I've ordered several varieties that i plan to direct seed here at wheaton labs. Most of the seed catalogs i looked at had directions for either transplanting or direct seeding of onions. Our climate is something similar to what you describe. I'll let you know how it turns out.
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Perennial Leek aka Elephant Garlic grows easily from seed and is a super tough plant, surviving here with no irrigation.  It will propagate by self seeding and division.



 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
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What varieties did you order?
 
Fred Tyler
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For my plot, I ordered Early NY, Crystal White, Clear Dawn, and Dakota Tears. Any of which might be saved for seed the following year. For basecamp I ordered Red Bull, Talon, and Patterson, all hybrids we will not be saving for seed.

We are hedging our bets with 100 transplants as well.
 
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I did it once with decent success.  They were grown in a raised bed, seed planted a week or so before expected last frost.  A decent harvest was had, but the onions were smaller than I would have liked.  I can't remember the particular variety, though I would say being at my latitude they were a long day variety.  I've since gone back to starting my seed early and transplanting after danger of frost.  I get bigger onions and a better harvest.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Perennial Leek aka Elephant Garlic grows easily from seed and is a super tough plant, surviving here with no irrigation.  It will propagate by self seeding and division.





This is good to know because I saved seed from my elephant garlic last year on the off chance.  There was no reference to saving elephant garlic seed in any of my seed saving books

I planted the original elephant garlic cloves in August of Year 1 and over-wintered them in our damp, cold temperate climate under a mulch of autumn leaves (despite the books saying they were too tender to do so).  They produced a fabulous set of seed heads by July/August in Year 2.  I had to stake them as they were about 3 to 4 ft tall. When the individual seeds stopped being milky and turned black, I cut the heads off with a good length of stem and stood them in an old glass bottle to dry in a warm room for a couple of months before removing the seeds from the seed heads.  The drying seed heads are beautifully ornamental too.       
 
gardener
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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If fall planting onion seeds, I recommend a short day onion. Something like Walla Walla.
 
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