I planted a handful (about 15) Walla Walla onions this year in a raised bed. It's my first year trying onions. I didn't do anything else to them, just planted them, watered regularly, etc. I didn't fertilize or spray for disease/pests. They seemed to do really well. Now the tops have all gone brown and are laying over, which I believe means they are ready to harvest. But they are all so small! They range in size from a grape to a golf ball--with more grapes than golf balls! Can I do anything with these or is it a loss? I was thinking I could chop them up and freeze them to use in cooking later on. Yes? No? Any idea what I could have done to make them grow bigger? Thanks so much!!
I finally started growing big onions instead of small onions by following this online guide by Dixondale Farms. Their mail-order onion bulbs are great, too with varieties offered for the length of daylight in each area.
Onions need to be planted in April in your area. Did you plant them close to that month. Also, onions like fertilizer. That could also be why they are small. They like fertilizer at the beginning & then again about half-way. Some people fertilize & water, every 2 weeks. They like their water. But, they do not like sloggy soil.
How long have your onions been growing? My short-day sampler from Dixondale grew for a full 6 months from the day I set out the plants. My onions ranged in size from a tennis ball to a navel orange...
If you just planted them in June, they haven't even begun to grow! If you planted onion plants, then feed them, and keep growing for about 5 more months. Farmerdill says they actually do better growing over a cold season...
I agree, Linda, you're "1/2 step from a beginner"...*grin
Teasing you, ya know! Folks, Linda's learned a lot in a short time, this should give you hope. It can be done.
"Now the tops have all gone brown and are laying over, which I believe means they are ready to harvest. But they are all so small!"
No way to follow Linda's advice to let them grow at this point (i.e, "feed them, and keep growing for about 5 more months"). When you order from Dixondale next year, they have a system to input your area and they will ship them at the appropriate time. I'd bump that date up a week or so, have your ground ready before the plants arrive and you should be good to go. And yes, by all means, you gotta feed them something. Behillman has given good advice above.
By the way, sets,you might want to try growing some sets this fall/late summer. Once established they should winter over for you and give you nice onions late spring/early summer.
Wow! What great advice I've found here. I've had the same problem with my onions (actually my husband's onions :)) They look great up top, but don't grow very large. They do have excellent flavor though and I used them for cooking. Next season I will follow all of this advice and hopefully will be posting wonderful onion pictures of my own!