Author Topic: Spring onions Why can't I grow them  (Read 1439 times)

George the Pigman

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Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« on: April 10, 2022, 19:57:35 »
I constantly fail ovef many years of trying to grow spring onions whilst others I  know have no problems. They either germinate very poorly  then die or the few that do grow take months to mature to spindly little things.
Anyone any tips?

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Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« on: April 10, 2022, 19:57:35 »

Beersmith

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2022, 21:04:02 »
I don't have any magical tips but I certainly agree that spring onions reputation for being fast growing is exaggerated.  The seed packets claim from sowing to picking can be as little as eight weeks.  But while I grow them most years with reasonable success I'd say twelve weeks is more realistic and perhaps a bit longer if you prefer them a bit thicker rooted.

Early season I avoid sowing direct but start six or eight seeds together in modules and plant out as it gets milder.  Make sure they get enough nutrition. 

One year my leeks were slow to germinate and slow growing so I waited patiently thinking they would catch up. But by early summer when time to plant in their final position they were still like blades of grass.  I planted them anyway and they did recover a bit but we're below average that year.  I pondered on what had gone wrong. Was it the weather, too much or too little moisture, pests, too hot or too cold? Not sure but strongly suspect six weeks in compost being watered regularly had washed out any nutrients.  Since then I've always used a little liquid feed to keep them going.  Might be worth trying a little extra feed on spring onions!
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Palustris

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2022, 08:12:45 »
George, I have never in the last 53 years of trying even managed to get a spring onion seed to germinate, so you are not alone.
Gardening is the great leveller.

Vetivert

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2022, 13:35:05 »
I agree that the key to success may be high soil fertility. Alliums do not have root hairs so they have a greatly reduced surface area to scavenge nutrients from the soil compared to other vegetables. They also need full sun - tiny leaf surface area.

From what I've read in Brewster's 'Onions and other Vegetable Alliums', starter fertilisation for the young plants is important to establish a robust root system that can go on to extract N from the wider soil as the plants grow. Repeated P, K fertiliser applications throughout the season are greatly beneficial, or limit the P and inoculate with mycorrhizal fungi which dissolves and transports otherwise unavailable soil phosphorus and will massively expand the root zone. In practice I don't segregate the nutrients and just mix fish, blood & bone plus inoculant into the compost.

Last season my neighbours resurrected their onions from a suspected leaf miner attack with tomato feed, so it appears that K can really help bulk them up quickly.

Regarding germination, there's a lot of crap onion seed about, plus it doesn't keep well at all. I bought a pack of Isobel Rose this winter and not a single seed germinated. Bedfordshire Champion and Lilia seeds were also rubbish when I tried them a couple of years ago. I haven't had any problems with Japanese bunching onions, like Ishikura and Red Beard. Perhaps the stock is fresher, who knows? So they may be worth a try instead of the Cepa spring onions. In spring let them germinate indoors - I think the seed may rot if too cold/wet.

Tee Gee

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2022, 15:27:21 »
Like Vetivert, I have moved to Ishikuru where I make a couple of sowings per year!

Tulipa

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2022, 17:50:27 »
I also grow Ishikuru and follow Tim's method of starting them in modules.  I just use loo roll inners and sew about 10 seeds per inner, just like a bunch you would buy in a supermarket.  I start them off in a cold greenhouse then plant them out in their bunches once they reach about 3" Sowing a few inners full every few weeks for succession, this has always worked well. If you search Tim and Spring Onions he used to post about them. This way you just pull up a bunch ready for use... I sometimes use a polystyrene insulating box to support the tubes. Also the starting off in compost seems to help the root system as Vetivert says. Good luck.

Palustris

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2022, 09:31:48 »
All well and good if the seed actually ever germinates. Never has for me no matter what I did. Ornamental onions no problem, leeks no problem, only spring ones are no show.
Gardening is the great leveller.

Deb P

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2022, 12:25:34 »
Early in the year I sow a pinch of spring onion seeds in a 6 module pack, bung them on a heated pad until they germinate, harden off and plant the clumps out intact at the allotment. Let them grow on and harvest the largest leaving the smaller to grow on for later harvests. Then after June sow direct once a month, also in pinches of seeds not rows so they grow more like shallots. No root disturbance, it works for me! Also use fresh seed every year, allium seeds seem to be a bit like parsnips and donít last very long, I get poor germination rates if I try keeping any over to another season.
If it's not pouring with rain, I'm either in the garden or at the lottie! Probably still there in the rain as well TBH....🥴

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Plot22

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2022, 08:18:20 »
I have no problem growing Spring Onions in that I chit them on damp kitchen towel and then set them as soon as the seeds have sprouted. Leave them any longer and they are nearly impossible to handle. I am currently growing Guardsman which has some resistance to white rot. I set them a week ago and they are through already. My biggest problem is Alium Leaf Miner or white rot. I have got over these problems on my main onion bed which is covered but I cannot cover the odd row of Spring Onions . I have got 6 nets as it is

Deb P

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2022, 09:15:10 »
I donít seem to get insect damage on my onions or spring onions on my plot, but leeks do get attacked by allium miner, but since Iíve been growing the variety ĎNorthern Lightsí they seem to be less prone to insect damage for some reason!
White rot is a bigger problem, the beauty of growing in raised beds is that I can just avoid planting alliums in an affected bed and wait the seven years you supposed to before trying them in that bed again ( or I use it for perennial crops from a different group). I know others have tried treating the soil with garlic powder but Iím just avoiding the problem in the one bed I know that has it and rotate my alliums elsewhere!
If it's not pouring with rain, I'm either in the garden or at the lottie! Probably still there in the rain as well TBH....🥴

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Gordonmull

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2022, 20:29:40 »
My soil doesn't really like onions. It's not the classic white rot but there's some kind of fungus that rots a lot of them off. That said, the best results I've had are with "Kyoto Market" Japanese bunching onions. Sowed these to 40 cell modules and thinned to 4 per cell. They're bunching onions so they can bunch. Planted out and there were many, many deaths but some lived on after the first year, and they flowered and they split. I eventually dug the patch up about 4 years later after the ground had sunk about 3" and the clumps of onions had got unruly.

Tried to re-establish last year but sowed direct. It was quite a dry spring/early summer and I had bigger chives by the end of the year, out of the very few that made it through. They're flowering this year, just now, the survivors.

For this year I've thrown 2 rows each into those long windowsill planters that have the self watering reservoir below in spent multipurpose mixed with blood, fish and bone and they seem to be doing better.

Beersmith

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2022, 21:35:07 »

It was quite a dry spring/early summer and I had bigger chives by the end of the year, out of the very few that made it through. They're flowering this year, just now, the survivors.


Spring droughts are a subject in themselves and are becoming a real nuisance.  I'm convinced they are becoming more common and I think in my area there have been at least four in the past seven years. While there are plenty of things that will help my soil which is light and drains readily can make it hard to get things germinated.  This season I had a catastrophe with my early sowing of carrots. 

That's the thing about having an allotment!  There's always something
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davee65uk

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Re: Spring onions Why can't I grow them
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2022, 16:04:03 »
I am unable to grow onions on my plot as I have the Leek Moth. I have had a lot of success growing onions in large pots and thinning out by just eating them. I start them off in an unheated greenhouse and then put them out when it's warmer. I never transplant them as this always goes wrong.

 

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