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Poor spring onion germination

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  • Poor spring onion germination

    Well, for the life of me I can't understand why I never seem to be able to grow spring onions. I plant newly bought seeds in nursery grade seed sowing compost in a large plastic tub, deep enough for roots and still they are pathetic. is there a special secret to growing these things as I have year after year failed to get a decent crop despite doing everything by the book.
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  • #2
    I find Alliums all all kind can have iffy germination. They may just have been a bad batch of seeds.
    Another possibility is that that tub may not be well-drained enough a a lot of the seeds might have rotted.

    I used to really struggle with spring onions myself. When I tried to sow direct, either in the ground or in large tubs, the germination was always slow and poor.
    I've since started growing them like leeks, and they grow very easily. I sow a seed tray of spring onion seeds, then if they are kept warm and moist they usually germinate pretty quickly. Once they reach about 2-3mm in diameter I empty out the seed tray, tease the plants apart, and plant them into their final position, either individually or in clumps of two or three. They grow away very quickly and healthily after planting out.
    You can also keep some seedlings in reserve this way. You can delay planting out your tray of seedlings, and after a while they will just stop getting bigger, but even after quite a delay they start growing again and make good spring onions once you plant them out. A couple years ago I sowed a tray in March and didn't get around to planting them out until late July, but they still gave a good crop within about 5 weeks of planting them out.

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    • #3
      I’ve never had success with spring onions until this year. Bought a load as seedlings and planted in a clump they are now growing well and thickening. I have the same experience with leeks so buy them as seedlings too rathe than trying from seed.

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      • #4
        I just don't understand if you buy new seed, decent quality compost why nature doesn't do the rest. Why bother buying onion seed if that is the case ?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Marb67 View Post
          I just don't understand if you buy new seed, decent quality compost why nature doesn't do the rest. Why bother buying onion seed if that is the case ?
          I don't think many seeds would have a 100% success rate. just think how overrun we would be if they did!

          I think its a puffball mushroom that if you took one, and every single spore germinated, and every single spore from all of those germinated, you would cover the earth entirely.

          that being said, I have never had a great deal of success with growing alliums from seed, its the transplanting I struggle with...
          "Bulb: potential flower buried in Autumn, never to be seen again."
          - Henry Beard

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Marb67 View Post
            I just don't understand if you buy new seed, decent quality compost why nature doesn't do the rest. Why bother buying onion seed if that is the case ?
            Some seeds are more finicky about growing conditions than others, so if conditions deviate from the ideal, even just for a short while, sometimes it can greatly reduce germination rate.
            Also, just because the seeds are new doesn't necessarily mean they are good. Allium seeds, especially, don't age well, so depending on when they were harvested, sometimes even new seeds can be past their best.

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            • #7
              Onion seeds including spring onions need surprisingly high temps to germinate. I tend to muti sow indoors in modules.
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              • #8
                I tend to sow thee 4-6(ish) seeds to a module an then plant them out as a clump. This year they've been pretty good, but some years I really struggle with them too! Could try sowing in trays/module and giving them a bit of heat to see if it helps?
                If it ain't broke...fix it til it is!

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                • #9
                  I too sow a few to a cell, hardly covering them and plant out in clumps. This year I have had good germination with ishikura, it seems more vigorous although doesn’t develop a bulb.

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                  • #10
                    I have found that onions of any and all sorts just fail on me.
                    Tried Onions, Spring Onions and recently Chives. Will suggest that saying they have all turned out pathetic is not even close.

                    Beginging to suspect that they need "something", and that whatever that something is I have an absence of.
                    Garlics have been fair and leeks also, but the more onion orientated seeds so far a 100% failure.

                    This year I spread the spring onion seeds between a patch in the raised bed and a 30cm pot. Both pathetic.

                    Oh yes, a pack of shallot seeds also have been a waste of effort this year - decided to try the "banana" shallots, hoping they would be greater success. So far 6 of 60 have germinated and each has halted at 2 leaves each about the thickness of a thick hair. Being the end of June I hold little hope for them.

                    Best I can say is is that it is fortunate that onions are somewhat inexpensive in the supermarkets.

                    Is there something that onions hate or dislike?
                    Beginning to suspect that I have something that inhibits them.

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                    • #11
                      Bit of a disaster with the spring onions. The torrential rain has battered them and they are all lying on the ground. Do you think they might recover?

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                      • #12
                        Chives are a bit like a weed in my garden, but I tollerate them as they have lovely flowers that the pollenators seem to love, and we use them on the few occasions a year that we make potato salad

                        Other than that, I have never, ever had success with cooking-type onion seeds (last year will be my final attempt with a direct sow instead of starting off indoors) and spring onions are very hit and miss. I have a handful growing out of a whole row I planted
                        Shortie

                        "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children; one of these is roots, the other wings" - Hodding Carter

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                        • #13
                          Paid a decent price for the seeds too. Obviously quality control isn't what it was. Everyone seems to blame covid for poor products and service these days.

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