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  1. #1
    zazen999 is offline Funky Cold Ribena
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    Default The Overwintering Onions From Seed Experiment Results

    Last year, I had a bout of 'early bolting' onions, and some 'White Rot'; so I decided to do a little experiment.

    I sowed some seed in June and August, and put the onions in a corner of my plot to grow on.

    During October time, I transplanted the seedlings to an area of the lottie, and put a cloche over the bed to try and keep the frost off.

    I had previously grown onions in a bed of sand, with no white rot at the end, and no losses to white rot - so I prepared the bed above by adding lots of [builders] sand prior to planting out. I also mulched with sawdust.

    The cloche was only removed to weed, and was removed finally a few weeks ago. I had to dig them up today [or I would have left them to continue] as I needed to move my potatoes to clean soil [I found out I have manure with aminopyralid yesterday so it was panic stations to de-mulch and rake out what we could yesterday and today].

    So, the results in are:

    Although the seeds were mainly from the Franchi range, there were a fair few Bedfordshire Champion seedlings in there. However, only 3 white onions were harvested today. The rest were red.

    About 10% of the onions didn't make it through the winter. These were mainly the white ones.

    About 10% of the onions had bolted and we have been eating those for the last 3 weeks. These were mainly the red ones.

    Of the ones that did make it, only 3 onions out of the whole lot had any white rot; and all 3 were white onions. The reds had NO TRACE of white rot, even though they have all sat there all winter.

    The onions are not as big as the onions that are still in the ground that were grown from sets. However, they are big enough to consider growing each year and are considerably cheaper than sets to grow [1400 seeds for the price of a bag of 50-100 sets].

    I have no idea how big these would have got, as I really did have to harvest them today - but they are big enough to do it again next year.

    I've photographed today's haul; and the onions as they were on 6th Jan under the cloche with snow on top.

    My conclusion is that growing undercover for the winter in a sandy soil can help to prevent bolting and can prevent white rot; if you are prepared to lose say 20% of your seedlings. However, I lose more than this to sets anyway....as about 30% just don't grow even if started off in compost trays and transplanted.

    p.s....the tray in the photo is about 18 inches by 2 feet....the biggest onion is about 2 inches across....

    p.p.s....the big white onion on the left hand side is the one with some white rot....but there are no tell tale signs in the foliage....and it wasn't easy to pull out as most white rot onions are.
    Last edited by zazen999; 31-05-2010 at 12:12 PM.


  2. #2
    SarzWix is offline Gardening Gnomette
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    Default

    They're about the same size as my over-wintered sets are now. The difference is that ALL of my white onion sets died in the cold weather, and less than a third of the reds (Electric) survived. I've not had/got any rots though because they're planted in quite sandy soil, they just didn't make it through the cold and snow.

    I've re-planted the bed with seed sown Long Red Florence and some Robinson's Mammoth Red. If they do well, I think I might be a bit braver with seed sown onions.

  3. #3
    Snadger's Avatar
    Snadger is offline Dundiggin
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    Default

    As far as the white rot goes this is my second year of trialing Golden Bear onions which are said to be white rot resistant
    No white rot last year (purposely planted in land I knew had white rot) but the onions were very small. Sowed earlier this year to try and grow bigger onions and planted good sized plants out last week..........so far so good.

    Zaz.............are you saying you will be sowing seed again soon for next year?
    My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
    to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

    Diversify & prosper



  4. #4
    zazen999 is offline Funky Cold Ribena
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snadger View Post
    As far as the white rot goes this is my second year of trialing Golden Bear onions which are said to be white rot resistant
    No white rot last year (purposely planted in land I knew had white rot) but the onions were very small. Sowed earlier this year to try and grow bigger onions and planted good sized plants out last week..........so far so good.

    Zaz.............are you saying you will be sowing seed again soon for next year?
    Pretty much!

    Although a bit of a setback with the manure situation, I'm going to have to reuse the ground that definitely has a little white rot as I need the clean soil for beans; so I'm going to add sand and see if that helps.


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