30 March 2009


Like I wrote before, I wanted to grow everything from seed - and that included onions. From what I had read, one had more choice/variety when onions were grown from seed. As much variety you were likely to find with onion sets was red or white, I also read. Friends tried to discourage me - they said sets were the easiest way, but I wanted to grow from seed - I also knew that if things didn't work out, I could still plant sets.

I digress: I experimented with onion sets last year. I knew I had planted them too late, but I wanted to see what would happen. By the time the tops fell over and died (with a little help from some aggressive squash!), they were about the size of a quarter. I pulled them out we ate them anyway.

So, I ordered various onion seeds from a catalog, choosing various kinds that sounded cool, like Walla Walla Sweet, Super Star, Yellow Sweet Spanish and Greek Salad and I planted them. But while those seeds were sprouting, I learned something important about onions. There are two different types - long day and short day - and I didn't understand the difference until recently. I was under the impression that since the South has longer days, we would grow long day onions . Not so - Onions are a cool season crop so they grow during cooler weather. In the North, that can be during summer when the days are longer, but in the South, onions are grown late winter/early spring or late fall/early winter during cooler weather, when the days are shorter.

So I went to Lowes and bought onion sets. There were a few different varieties - I don't remember what red onions there were, but the white onions they had were Yellow Granex Hybrid(like Vidalia onions) and Texas Sweet. I bought the Yellow Granex and planted half of the 64 that came in a bundle and they seem to be doing fine. I'll keep you posted.

On a similar note, there are some other onions I'm curious about. One is the Egyptian walking onion. Instead of small sets, you plant one large onion bulb and it produces baby onions on a stalk. When the stalk dies and falls over, the small onions form another plant where they land, hence the "walking". There are other onions that are small and cluster, that are possibilities. When I know more I'll let you know.

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