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.
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
Too late this year to take pics. I must remember next spring.
Sounds like Catawissa onions, a native American type of walking onion very
similar to the Old World native Egyptian onion.
Lorenzo L. Love
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
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
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
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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
"You can complain because rosebushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn
bushes have roses."
Lao Tse (b. 604 BC)
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
I grow from seed every year
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.
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
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!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.