How to Grow Stronger Onion Starts
Do you grow onions from seeds or do you use onions sets? Onions sets give you a jump start but for just a little more work you can grow onions from seed and greatly broaden the variety which you are able to grow. Don't be intimidated, I'm about to share a little secret with you to help you get the strongest onions starts for an abundant harvest! First let me tell you a little about what kinds of onions we are growing at Rolling Hills Farm.
At Rolling Hills Farm we always looks for heirloom varieties for our gardens. This year we are growing:
Stuttgarter- This is a medium sized yellow onion with a strong onion flavor. It produces well and stores well too. If you grow enough, and store them properly, they will last you until the following spring without going bad.
Alisa Craig- A large (it can get up to 5lbs) globe onion that was introduced in 1887. It came from the gardener of Marquis of Alisa at Culzean Castle in Maybole, South Ayrshire, Scotland. The gardener, David Murray, must have been pretty pleased with these great onions.
Southport White Globe- This little onion has quite the history. It was developed and grown in Southport Connecticut along the Mill river. From here, the then "onion capital", it was exported by the millions. These onions became very important during the Civil war when they were pickled and used to keep scurvy away. It was considered the "best white onion for market" by Seedsman Thomas Griswold.
Southport Purple Globe- As the name states, the red version of the Southport onion. It was released in 1873.
All of these onions are considered to be long day type onions. This means they need long days to grow properly. If you live in the north this is what you want. As you move south, you will want a short day variety. Always very important to consider when picking out which onions you are going to grow.
We also grow multiplier onions. Multiplier onions are planted in the fall and harvested in mid to late summer. You plant one onion in the fall and it grows into as much as 10 or 12 by harvest.
You can learn more about them and how we harvest them here.
Onions require a long growing season to reach full maturity so they are typically started in early February here in ND. It only takes a few weeks for them to become long and tangled. The onions in the picture below are 5 plus inches long. Time for a hair cut!
Trimming onions is very simple. All you need to do is cut them back to about 1 1/2 in tall. That's it and you can eat all the trimmings. Rinse them off and use them like chives. They go great in quiche. You might want to try this quiche recipe.
When you are all done with the hair cut your onions should look like they had a little mini lawn mower go over them. You will be amazed at how quickly they grow back. When they start to get long and tangled again give them another hair cut. You will want to to this several times. Each time you trim back the greens it forces the plants to put more energy into their roots and that is makes for more vigorous, and larger onions.
If you are a gardener and you haven't tried growing onions from seeds before then don't be afraid to try. If you don't have the space or time then sign up for our CSA and you can still enjoy heirloom onions varieties ( as well as all the other heirloom vegetables that we grow!).
Happy, healthy, clean eating,
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I look forward to sharing my gardening and homestead adventures to help you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!