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rhubarb
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:13 pm    Post subject: Onions Reply with quote

I have grown onions from sets reasonably in the past but many of them deteriorate during storage. Also my onions do not grow beyond medium size, at best, though I'm confident my soil is generally fertile. Two questions-
1) What is the best onion type for storage ?
2) How do I increase my bulb size?

Michael
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Blowin
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 20 Aug 2008
Posts: 761
Location: Drimoleague, Co Cork

PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Michael - As none of the 'experts' has replied to you, I'll tell you what's worked for me but you don't say where you are so I may be no help at all.

I've usually had very good sized bulbs from 'Sturon' sets which I've planted in used cropping bags from a nearby strawberry grower. I just split the top of the bag open from end to end, turn it over and plant my sets in them. They need to be kept moist. I then dig the bags' contents itno the soil when I've harvested the onions. I accept that not everyone has a friendly strawberry grower so rich, moist soil is the answer generally.

Although they don't grow as big, for red onions I get a good crop from Hyred F1

As regards storage I, too, have that problem whatever I try. Although it'll be a bind I may be reduced to storing them in the loft next year but the outside boiler house may be another option. However, I'm convinced the basic problem is the damp climate that we can do nothing about.

I hope this helps.

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A novice gardener on newly cultivated, stoney ground.
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rhubarb
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:24 pm    Post subject: Onions Reply with quote

Hi
Thanks for that. Yes, I'm sure you're right about the damp being the underlying cause of in-storage deterioration.
I live in Cardiff. There is no specific Welsh gardeners' website but British gardening literature, websites and know-how is dominated by input from SE England (London area) whose climate is markedly warmer & drier than that of Wales. A Welsh gardener has to filter out a lot of the inapplicable claims made by English seed catalogues. The North of England and Scotland are markedly colder than Wales. Ireland, Wales & SW England share the same mild, wet & windy climate so I would rather talk to Irish gardeners.
Perhaps we should make greater effort in storing onions to ensure they remain dry. Perhaps we should acknowledge that we cannot just dry-and-hang as though we were in a Mediterranean land. Perhaps we should wrap them in newspaper, as if they were apples, or store them in boxes, in sand or sawdust and store them in a dry spot indoors. It's a chore but it's better than losing half a crop to mould.
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Blowin
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 20 Aug 2008
Posts: 761
Location: Drimoleague, Co Cork

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Rhubarb - As a native of Sussex, I know exactly what you mean. I've also spent several happy weeks in the Rhondda.

However, I think you'll find that things like newspaper and sand will absorb damp from the atmosphere and hold it - which then traps the moisture round the onions and makes matters worse, My garage is 'dry', in that no water gets in, but old newspapers that I keep for bean rows etc get very damp in winter and, when I tried storing carrots in sand, some of them actually sprouted through the sand becoming damp.

Stringing them up from the rafters on a stout length of rope is the best method I've found so far but it's still not good. A steady flow of dry air is what's needed but that ain't easy to achieve.

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A novice gardener on newly cultivated, stoney ground.
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michael brenock
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
Posts: 1275
Location: cork

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the size of the eventual onion bulb depends also on the spacing between bulbs when they are planted. 8 bulbs per square foot gives a good average sized bulb.
12 bulbs per square foot gives small bulbs and 4-6 bulbs per square foot gives big bulbs. The overall yield of bulbs will remain more or less constant. Yield is also influenced by date of planting, weed disease and pest control, availability of nutrients in soil and the structure and composition of the soil including depth and drainage.
the keeping quality of the onions is influenced by variety, method of drying and place of storage. Onions are amongst the hardest crops to grow, save dry and store. So keep at it and a year will come when you too will have the perfect onion crop.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)

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kernow
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Ballyglass Co Mayo

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best onion I ever grew before moving to Ireland was on a very exposed allotment. I planted the sets 8 inches apart on a reasonably firm soil which had chicken manure pellets raked in. I then covered the onions with weed suppressant with holes I made for the onions to grow through. The onions grew to be quite large, I let them dry and platted them onto ropes keeping them in a conservatory. They lasted right through until the following year when the next crop was ready. Smile
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