These Onions I sowed mid November 2016. Let’s see if the early sowing grants even larger onions this year. I note that year (2016) I potted-on the large onions in March, so this year these are really ahead of the game.
Picture of Ailsea onion seedlings next to a small seedling trowel on top a a wooden potting bench
Picture of a tray of onion seedlings
Picture of a tray of onion seedlings
Again, planted with a pinch of Mycorrhizal to aid root growth.
Last year I was very kindly given as a Christmas present a packet of Ailsea Onion seeds. these I sowed on New Years day, this has become a bit of a tradition.
Now however, I read that you should plant onion seeds, or to be precise ‘Giant onion’ seeds as early as October for the following year.
Picture of a seed tray with cover and seed label
Picture of a packet of Ailsae onion seeds next to a mound of compost on a potting bench in a greenhouse
As a birthday present, I have been given a packet of these Giant Onion seeds. Lets see how they do, and if I can beat the 3lb 5oz onion I managed to grow this year. I must note, these giant onions do not store well at all, and that I have unfortunately had to throw a number of them away as they go off so quickly.
After failing miserably with the giant onions last year, I seem to be having a little success this. Nearly all the seedlings sprouted and I don’t think I lost any. I planted them out at the end of May and they are fattening up quite nicely.
Picture of a one pound coin against a giant onion
Picture of rows of giant onions
Picture of a raised bed of giant onions
Picture of a raised bed of onions that have been damaged
Although, my main crop of Sturon that I planted as sets looks like it has been sprayed with weedkiller accidently by the neighbour. Very disappointed, but part of having to share an allotment I guess.
Amazingly, this year the giant onion seeds have done very well indeed. I think I have only lost around 5 plants as opposed to last season when I lost a lot. maybe the sprinkling in cinnamon really does work to stave off infections.
Drilling larger holes in the black plastic I planted the young plants with more “rootgrow”. Hopefully the black plastic will keep the raised bed warm and keep moisture in the soil also.
I have been trying to find a way for a while now of growing onions with no need to weed. It is such a pain having to be very careful between sets with the hoe, and inevitably I catch the odd one or two.
Seeing how professionals’ grow some veg through a membrane, I had an idea of trying to do the same with onions sets.
Before laying down the black plastic, I had dug in lots and lots of chicken manure. This black membrane is also breathable, and infact lets water through but stops weeds in their tracks. It also warms the soil up tremendously and keeps in moisture stopping evaporation.
I have had to construct a number of slats simply to weight the membrane down so the wind does not get in underneath and lift up. I will have to watch out for slugs doing this, but lets see if I can grow maintenance free onions this year.
Oh, and the variety, is as usual ‘Sturon’ that I normally set away in cells in the greenhouse.
This year I have been very fortunate to be given for Christmas 3 types of giant onion seeds. They are ‘Mammoth Improved’, ‘Ailsea’, and ‘Giant Exhibition’.
The Giant Exhibition really did not come to much last season although I got onions they were not very giant.
So today, the first day of the new year, I have sown these seeds and will hope for good things this year.
Picture of a trowel and packets of giant onion seeds in a wooden trug
Picture of a small hand hoe and trowel in a wooden trug
Picture of a string twine holder with a hook for a pair of scissors and a model bird on top
I was also very fortunate in getting a wooden trug. It was very pale, and the wood very dry so I have lathered it in linseed oil which will protect and also give it a little waterproofing.
Finally, the sets of Sturon that I planted in cell trays in the greenhouse on March 27th this year are ready to be planted out into their final growing position.
These, as well as the Red Barron have done really well again this year in the greenhouse, unlike the seeds of Giant onions which are still looking very worse for ware.
Each onion was set 8.5 inches and one boards width apart, this provides lots of space for all to reach their full potential. With each onion I put a sprinkling of onion fertiliser and watered them in well. Although it started to rain just as I was finishing the last row. We are actually forecast to get very, very cold with even the possibility of frosts and potential snow!
I had a couple of sets left over. I will plant these out with the Red Barron which I will put in later this week.
It’s been some time since I wrote an update on the giant onions; they are not doing very well at all.
I have had all the windows open in the greenhouse so they have had ample air flow. I have also tried them in the propagator inside the greenhouse incase they were getting too much sun. I have left them to dry out and I have also sat them in a thin layer of water. Everything I try is leaving the seedlings white at the tips and then simply keeling over and dying.
After doing at little research on this it looks like no matter what I have tried they have damping off disease. From what I have read, it is possible to combat this with placing ground cinnamon around the seedling as this kills the disease. I am not convinced but have given it a try.