Onion Seeds versus Onion Sets

Every year I have bought onion sets and have had a reasonable success rate but I am considering, for the coming year, growing from seed. Has anyone any experience of this and can advise me of the advantages and the disadvantages.- and, perhaps, suggest any particular variety? I have looke4d at the on-line catalogues but can't really make up my mind which to go for.
My reasons or wanting to change this year is that, the sets always get too many small onions that never seem to do very well and, though they grow, they remain fairly small. Also, I have no idea what type of onion they are (this is because I buy them from my allotment shop and they don't seem certain as to the type they've bought!!!)
As regards the position of my garden (which may well make a difference as to what varieties I can grow) I live in Sussex, not far from the coast.
Regards,
John
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I've never grown onions from purchased sets, but my domestic Scallions come back every year from seeds while the wild ones come back from sets. The wild ones are weird. The blossoms create sets rather than seeds on the top of the plant.
I'm still learning about Onions!
I originally harvested the wild ones locally next to a river in Georgetown Texas.
Too late this year to take pics. I must remember next spring.
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Peace, Om

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Sounds like Catawissa onions, a native American type of walking onion very similar to the Old World native Egyptian onion.
Lorenzo L. Love http://home.thegrid.net/~lllove
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”     Cicero
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I've heard them called "walking onions" in the past. :-) The Border Collie has cut my patch size down a bit so I did not harvest any this year. I let them all go to top sets, and re-fenced an area off for them.
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In article

In her case, it's not a matter of rutting in the veggies.
It's a matter of "running with the demons". ;-)
BC's are very active dogs.
A hotwire kept her off the fenceline.
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0.22 acres, fully fenced. It's barely enough.
Border collies never quit moving unless they are snoozing. ;-)
She has helped my sisters corgie to lose some weight!
Right now the front yard is flooded and muddy, so so is the Border Collie!
Ugh. I might have to take the garden hose to her if she does not clean herself up tonight. Some of the collie breeds actually do a lot of self-cleaning like a cat does.
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Well, native as in "bred in the Americas" (in 1885) not as in "in the Americas before Europeans arrived".
http://www.garys-genealogy.com/id85.htm http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ALPR6
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Thanks for your replies! Here, in England, I've never heard of a 'walking' onion so exactly what does it do - how does it walk???? Could be a bit unnerving to see a herd (flock? gaggle? pride? school?) of these crossing the road when you're driving along minding your own business!!! Only kidding! But it brought so ,many amusing pictures into my mind!!!
We are growing tree-onions, which produces, firstly, a strong stem and at the top of that a cluster of small bulbs. These appear green initially but then turn brownish-red. They grow to about the size of a small gooseberry. The onions also grow stems with proper onion flowers which turn to seed.
But you probably knew all that anyway!!
I will grow my own onions from seed next year where I have a more varieties to choose from. What started me on this idea was that I ran short of onions from the set so had to but small onion seedlings, rather as James said, and I wanted to try it,
My regards to all and thank you again!
John
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The blooms produce actual mini-"sets" rather than seeds. They will sprout wherever they fall but they are only "spring" onions. I start seeing the greens sprout in late winter, then they bloom and set in the spring and are totally invisible the rest of the year.
They must be harvested for eating prior to blooming or they have no flavor.
Due to their reproductive habits, they tend to "walk" from their original planting spot.
I used to have a lot more until we got the border collie. I'd get tears mowing the lawn! She tends to stomp all greenery to death as she is a bit hyperactive.
I did some googling and the onions I have are very small and short, like commercial Scallions so it looks like they are really the egyptian walking onions, not the larger variety.
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wrote:

Ever read "The Day of the Triffids"? Not quite like that.
Walking Onion, tree onion, same, same. That tall stem will break and land the bulblets (the proper name for the top bulbs) a step away. Each generation will advance a step. A slow walk but plants are patient.
Lorenzo L. Love http://home.thegrid.net/~lllove
"You can complain because rosebushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." Lao Tse (b. 604 BC)
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I do not have any luck with sets due to the fact I have a big allotment and a lot of birds that pull them out . Likewise the sets availible in the garden ceentres ect. do not give you much selection. I grow from seed every year Variaties Kelsea very big Mamouth Red (Robinsons and for smaller Onions I use a thompson Morgan variaty that gives you bulbs about 4oz in weight ideal for the kitchen. It is a long process for good results starting in Late December in an unheated greenhouse for best results. Go to the Mamouth Onion Site for full culteral instructions and good seed It is well worth the effort.


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Thanks Lorenzo,
I thought they might be the same. I can see where the 'walking' bit comes from!!
Regards,
John

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John Vanini;731410 Wrote:

I have grown sets this year (Sturon, Setton and Red baron) due to loca damp conditions half the sets have grown to a reasonable size but abou 50% have either bolted or the leaves have folded over early preventin further growth - these have then lain on the wet ground and started t rot. I have also grown Ailsa Craig from seed - started in Feb unde heated conditions in sead tray (on kitchen window sill) and when abou 2.5" tall planted out 6" apart in final place in garden
The seed grown onions are still fully upright and continuing to gro while the sets have all collapsed and i am now having to harvest earl - some are a good size (5" across) but smaller and less consistent tha the seed variety.
Unfortunately Ailsa craig are not renownd for keeping so will b growing Red baron and Rinjsberger from seed next year
-- JNTDAD
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That's very interesting! Thanks for the info.
I planted a set but ran short of onions so bought some young plants/seedlings from a local nursery. With all the rain all the onions are blackened and will have to be pulled up before they rot but the bought young plants are definitely far healthier than the set.
I intend to grow Red Baron and had thought of Ailsa Craig but in view of what you said about them keeping will look into other varieties.
We also plant what is known on the Allotments as "Japanese Onions" - no one has ever queried what variety these are (I certainly haven't and those I asked didn't know what they were other than "Japanese Onions"! Well, they didn't do very well at all this year, due, again, to the heavy rains so I'm planning on growing "Hi Keeper F1" over winter instead.
Who knows, however, we may have a drought next year just like last!
Regards
John

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> JNTDAD



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