Tag Archives: onions

Transplanting onions

We have a very late start this spring, with frosts well into April! However, its time for first transplants of the year – our onions.

We are growing two heirloom types: Stuttgarter and Cortland. These are short-day varieties well suited for Northern gardeners, with pungent flavor and are THE BEST winter keepers. I will be planting around 200 onions to see whether this can satisfy our yearly demand. We have started the seedlings back in January, about 12 weeks before planned transplant. We seeded them in batches, roughly 50 per re-purposed square container in a soiless mixture of peat, perlite and vermiculite.

We prefer seedlings over onion sets because seeds are cheaper than sets and there is greater variety to select from. Also, seedlings, as well as direct seeding, produces onions that are better keepers than the ones grown from sets. However, we do prefer to start seeds indoors as opposed to direct seeding, because it ensures an earlier start, plus provides more control over the amount and the quality of the seedlings.

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5 weeks before last frost

At this time, most of the first round of planting seeds have been started in their containers.

The latest additions were theĀ Rohrer Seeds Heirloom Long Island Brussel Sprouts andĀ Tall Utah Celery, both of which are new plants for us, so we are yet to find out how we like growing and eating them!

Most of the plants from a couple of weeks ago are doing well and have nice looking sprouts. I will be thinning them out in the next few weeks to select the strongest seedlings.

Also, since we had a few days of lovely spring weather, i have managed to squeeze in a few first garden plantings: first round of peas, mixed with their complimentary carrots and some stuttgarter onion seeds (in a different location, as peas do not like onions and garlic). Stuttgarter onions are some of the best keepers and i am planning to save them over winter. I have planted two rows, about 100 onions so far and am planning to add another 50-100 more, estimating 2-3 onions usage per week throughout the year. I am planning to add some onion sets (baby onion bulbs from the previous year) to the planted seeds, they need to be planted in April and will provide a nice back up to the planted seeds. They have a faster turnaround, but less likely to keep well, so they will need to be used first.

Onion seeds are better started in the fall, which we had not done, so we will see how this turns out. Garlic, on the other hand, that we DID plant last fall is coming up beautifully. It is also our own heirloom garlic we have saved form the previous year – it was pretty much the only vegetable we managed to grow enough to last us the whole year, along with frozen green beans. I am planning to improve the quantity of stored veggies dramatically this year.

 

 

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