in my continuing learning about growing
while going out this past week to collect
onion tops/seeds to bring them in to dry (to
prevent them from scatterings seeds all over
the place) i was surprised (in a good way :) )
to find some of the onion stalks supporting
decently good sized onions.
the stalks on some of them are offset to the
side (similar to how tulips grow) and they can
be cut off and left intact to dry or you can
pull it all apart and use it as desired.
and of course, some of them are small and
not much of anything other than the stalk for
but i was surprised to pull up an onion
flower stalk to find a five inch onion bulb
this year was the first year i directly
sowed onion seeds and while many of them
sprouted and i thinned them as recommended
i planted them too close to some other plants
and they were over grown. i should have a
pretty good supply now of both seeds and starts
for next year's crop if i can decide where to
put them soon and get them moved.
then i just need to make sure they do not
get planted too closely to other plants.
in related news, i think i found out what
i was doing wrong previous years for growing
the onions. they were not bulbing out very
we plant three kinds of onions (red, yellow,
white) along with some others that are supposed
to get quite big (we've had some over 7 inches
across). pretty much the biggest mistake seems
to be planting them too deeply. the second
mistake is probably putting the nutrient layer
of worms/worm castings down too deep.
this year i did get the large yellow onions
planted higher, but they started slow and are
only now getting any bulb going on them. when
i pull them out the roots do not go very deep
at all so they are not getting the full benefit
of the nutrient layer.
next year i will raise that nutrient layer up
and see how they respond.
in other related news. when planting onion
sets i come across a few that are questionable
so i do not plant them in the main group and
set them aside. these are ones that are very
small, shrivelled, covered with fungus, or even
too large. the best results come from a patch
that is planted with sets of a certain size. too
large and they flower, too small and they don't
get very far along.
these questionable onions then get planted in
some corner and some of them end up growing
just fine. life is tenacious and bulbs are a
great store of energy that gets used to start
new roots and from those roots can be enough
to keep the green shoots coming and if you can
get a green shoot then you will later get a
viable bulb (even if it isn't as large as the
rest of them). this bulb can be planted out
again the following season if you can store them.
i just leave them in the ground the extra year.
if they flower then i get more seeds. here and
there around the gardens i have these various
spots of onions.
and in yet another bit of fun news about onions
that ties in nicely to the recent science article
about garlic and virus transmission. apparently,
plants which set seeds rid themselves of virus
infections because the virus is rarely transmitted
to the seeds. garlic, not setting seed often at
all is thus a common vector of plant virus...
well, one of the onions that flowered had on top
the kind of similar bulbul among the seeds as seen in
the hard neck garlic. so i've set that flower top
apart along with the small onions and will see how
they progress. if this will self-perpetuate or not.
if so this would be evidence of a mutation or
devolution (reverting to simpler type).