growing onions questions

anyone here grow onions from seed?
we normally grow our yellow onions from sets from the greenhouse, but i've managed to get some seed heads on an onion sprout that was left over from last year.
now i have three large flower heads full of seeds ripening and would enjoy hearing from people who've done this.
my basic plan is to get the seeds planted as soon as i can get a spot for them and then they'll grow through the fall and come back next year to form the onion bulb.
if i want more seeds i'll have to leave an onion from this year alone to flower again next year.
another type of onion question.
i have picked up some bunching onion seeds and they say to plant in the spring so i'll do that. but for flowering and more seed production could i put some of those out now and get them going so they will bloom next year or do i need to wait until spring and they will bloom the same season like our chives do?
thanks for your replies.
songbird
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songbird wrote:
ha, and even more but this is more experimental in nature.
i have taken the bottoms off of cut onions (with roots attached in some cases) and buried them again. i'm hoping the left over nutrients in the bulb will feed the roots and (apex i think it is called but we can call it anything you'd like) eventually sprout some onions again from that. keep it moist and get a few clones from the original onion to grow out next year.
anyone else tried this? :)
songbird
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Derald wrote:

the ones i've stuck in the ground aren't bunching onions, so i'm not sure if they'll go or not, but i figured it was worth the grins. i couldn't figure out last fall where this one onion that grew had come from other than it was left over bits that had stayed in the ground when it was pulled. i figured a test of the method was fitting. even if they do nothing other than put up seed heads next year that would be fine with me. as you say, they get a lot of activity from the insects.
right now we have a lot of honey bees around on some blooming plants. it's the first time this year i've seen this many at a time. i'm hoping there is a wild colony someplace around here. i don't know of anyone keeping them.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

If you plant them now, don't pamper them if they come up. You want the bulbs really small when they go dormant for the winter. Not sure what the cutoff size is, maybe a centimeter; much bigger than that and they will bloom next year instead of growing big.
I would wait until just before the grown freezes to plant them where you want them to sprout in the spring.
(I have some onion seeds drying too. Gonna do the same thing)
-Bob
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zxcvbob wrote: ...

we have about 4 weeks of time before the frosts will start hitting. i'm thinking of dividing the seeds in half and plant some now and then the rest next spring.
i did some research at the library today and found one book that mentioned growing from seeds and what you've mentioned about size (when buying onion sets, not in particular about growing from seed).

we really enjoy having onions out there when we need them instead of having to run to the store. the trouble we had this year was the growing medium the onions were sprouted in had something the raccoons liked so they were digging them up. the rest of the years we've grown onions they have been inside the fenced garden so the raccoons left them alone. by growing from seed in the spot where they'll be at next year they won't have any funny medium underneath them to attract raccoons. they'll smell just like the rest of the millions of chives/alliums we have around that don't ever get bothered.
at least that's the theory. :) thanks for answering.
songbird
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If you don't do well with the seeds have a look at www.dixondalefarms.com . They have varieties suited to particular latitudes. Reasonable prices, free shipping and super nice folks, I have no connection with them other than being a satisfied customer for many years. This year the variety "Candy" gave me almost a bushel to the bunch of the sweetest onions I've ever eaten. The famous Vidalia isn't even close. Best of luck with whatever you decide, Steve
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Steve Peek wrote: ...

thanks! i try to support my local greenhouse people with as much business as i can. i'll pass along the site to them. perhaps they'll pick up some of the varieties for their own stock.
we'll see how the rest of it goes. :) i think i just finagled a new space for bulb crops next year. we don't have much light soil space at all so this is good news. it will make rotating much easier. one or two new gardens. i was just sitting here thinking and the lightbulb came on. Ma was walking by, and i said, "I have an idea." and she said, "i like it." before i said a thing. then after i said what i was thinking about this one garden she says, "I was going to rip all of that out anyways, i hate it." so there we go. :) then she was going to throw another garden right next to it in the mix. um, oy! :)
songbird
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Derald wrote:

seeds aplenty already.
...

i suspect because the idea is to keep the spacing uniform after the seedling has grown up a bit (and not all seeds germinate so this way you avoid gaps in the bed). they don't need as much space to start them and then you can select the strongest seedling for replanting and space them out properly to grow.
i'm pretty sure i'll have enough seeds for three plantings so some will go out immediately as soon as i can figure out where to put them. others i'll wait a month, and the rest i'll put out next spring.
the bunching onions i'll plant most of next spring, but one package of seeds i'll put out soon to get a flower crop from next year (if they survive the winter). i always like to see what a plant looks like when it flowers.
songbird
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wrote:

I swithched to growing from seed about fifteen years ago. I get much nicer onions than I did from sets and there's more variety. I buy the seeds though. Here in Ohio I usually get the "day neutral" types. I prepare the soil in fall so I can put the seed out in early Spring when the grounds too wet to work. My soil is too heavy for small seeds to sprout well so I cover the seed with soil mix.
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Bobo wrote: ...

we've always been happy with the onions we get, we just don't like that the raccoons are digging them up to get at the soil mix they are started in.

what types have you grown and are happy with?
our soil is mostly clay here, but i'll have a few new spots to work with (eventually) that are lighter soil and they will be much appreciated for shallow bulb crops.
thanks Bobo,
songbird
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