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Onion problems — The Grow Network Community
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Onion problems

edited June 2018 in Growing Food
What kind of soil do you have?  We have lots of clay here which onions do not like at all so we get beautiful tops but no onions.  Double digging and adding in lots of compost and some sand has really lightened the soil up so our onions have a fighting chance to make us nice big roots!  Let us know what kind of soil and weather you have and then we can give you more help!

Comments

  • bmaverickbmaverick Posts: 177 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2018
    Maria,

    Add to soil dried 'peat moss' (Sphagnum moss).  This will soften the soil to grow good onions.  You must till the soil with the peat moss.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagnum  - - - USES.

    Soil must have some sand and peat moss to grow good onion bulbs.  Likewise with garlic.

    Peat moss is one of the key items in a good potting soil mixture.

    ---

    Maria,

    Tilsæt i jord tørret 'tørvemos' (Sphagnum mos). Dette vil blødgøre jorden for at dyrke gode løg. Du skal til jorden med tørvemossen. https://dk.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagnum - - -> BRUGER.

    Jord skal have noget sand og tørvemos til at vokse godt løgløg. Ligeledes med hvidløg.

    Torvmos er en af de vigtigste ting i en god pottejord blanding.
  • edited June 2018


    They unfortunately look like this now.... With very small bulbs. I have researched a bit after posting my question, and I have apperently planted too late for Danish climate.

    I did add peat moss, but the buttom might be a bit clayful :-) (is that even a word?) So I'll try to add some sand next time around.

    The weather in DK is pretty "north european", spring temps around 12-15 c. and summer around 20 c. But all of May and June forward has been 20-25 c. with no rain, so everything is really dry and the temps are really high for early summer.

    Are they lost? Should I just ditch them for compost or chicken food?
  • bmaverickbmaverick Posts: 177 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2018
    Maria, love your term clayful. A+ on the English.

    The Danish temps are like southern Wisconsin-USA.

    My onions are Spanish Onions and Walking Onions. Your onions look very similar. How many of your onions are straight upward? Those are to keep in the garden. The lay down onions you need to remove.

    Can you grow your onions in a 'planter'? If yes, start now. Then as the weather cools later in the season, you can bring the planter indoors until the onions become mature.
  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 315 admin
    edited June 2018
    I have clay here in Texas....and I get the same thing...lovely tops and small onions. Honestly, I'm okay with that. With that said, I do plan to grow my onions in grow bags next year to see if I can get larger bulbs.

    Oh, and when the tops fall over - I have heard that's okay. I hear back in the day they used to "stomp" the tops to encourage bulb growth. Old wives tale? Not sure.
  • edited June 2018
    I don't have much space to take them inside - can you explain what a planter is? :-)

    Stomp - Is that like cutting them back? I was suggested to do so on a danish garden site - cutting all the ones that still stands back to like 5 cm (a few inches I guess).
  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 315 admin
    edited June 2018
    The planters I'm thinking of using a grow bags

    As far as stomping...I mean people would just stomp on the top green part of the plant...I heard it is supposed to encourage the bulb to grow, rather than the green. Not sure if it's true or an old wives tale.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited June 2018
    Stomp is to push down with a foot.  Another term is "walking the tops over".  I never bother doing this as they will fall over when they are ready.

    Many bulb onions are sensitive to the length of day so variety will depend on your latitude. It is worth verifying the correct type before buying.  Here in Texas, we grow onions designated as "short day" if we want big bulbs.  I made a mistake one year and planted "long day" type.  They grew tiny bottoms like your picture.  We ate them anyway.
  • MikeFMikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    I agree with the other posts about loosening/lightening  the soil by adding peat, vermiculite, etc.  This will make it easier for the bulbs to grow.

     

    If you get a lot of green growth, you may have too much Nitrogen in your fertilizer.  A fertilizer with more Phosphorus will encourage bulb growth instead of green growth.  I use bone meal.

     

    There are 3 growth types of onions.  Short day, Long day, and day neutral.  Depending on how long your daylight is, and what month you planted, different types work better.  I don't know what your climate is over there...  but here is some more info on types:  https://bonnieplants.com/library/which-onion-is-right-for-you/

     

     

    M
  • edited July 2018
    Oh I see...

    sounds a little harsh on the plants, though.

    Thanks for the explanation!
  • edited July 2018
    Thanks Sherryo, I must try to research a bit about those long and short day onions.
  • edited July 2018
    Amazing! Thanks MikeF, I’ll keep that in mind for the planting next year. Thanks for the link.
  • edited July 2018
    @MikeF - I researched a bit about the nitrogen and I have used prefertilized peat mos for outdoor plants and house plants and then added a thin layer of compost.

    Maybe that’s all to much!?
  • MikeFMikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    That may be OK, depending on how strong that pre fertilized stuff is.  Onions like compost, so thats fine.  If you add anything else, make sure its high in P-K.

     

    Onions can be planted from:  sets/bulbs, or transplants/starts, or seeds.  Which are you planting?  The sets/bulbs are the most readily available.   But the transplants seem to grow better.   I have not had very good luck making my own onion transplants from seed.

     

    I looked up the climate in Denmark.  I think what should work best there is planting Long Day onions in the early spring.  They should be ready for fall harvest.

     

    M

     
  • MikeFMikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    On that note....   Is anybody here good at growing onion seedlings from seed?

     

    If so, please share some tips and techniques.

     

    M
  • edited July 2018
    Yeah that’s what my own research on danish sites showed me, too. The part about early spring.

    I did use bulbs - which I have never had any luck with.

    My friend always use seeds - I must ask her what’s her trick!
  • edited July 2018
    And sorry for my ignorance- what’s P-K?
  • MikeFMikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Traditional fertilizer (both organic or synthetic) is usually labeled by its 3 primary nutrients:  N-P-K - Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium/potash.

    As we know around here, there are many other important nutrients and micro nutrients.  But the N:P:K ratio is often the biggest driver in what type of growth you get the most of:  green vegetative; root; bulb; flower; fruit, etc....

     

    M
  • edited July 2018
    Thanks!
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