onions and garlic going to seed

Goodview, VA

We have an issue with some onions and garlic going to seed very early in the season, especially if they are leftovers from last years crop.
Is that a bad thing or should I just leave them alone? Will they continue to grow in that state?

Thanks!!

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

You can harvest them now & eat them or let them grow & make seed.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Garlic buds make great pickles, too.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Trim the flower stalks off so the plant won't waste energy with the flowering. You can sautee the garlic stalks in olive oil with a bit of salt & pepper.

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Most onions have a 270 day growing cycle so towards the end of that time the leaves will swell. when this starts it is best to pull them all because the rest won't be far behind. Cutting the swelling leaves off is not a good idea because that will allow rain to enter and lay on the top of the onion causing rot.

The pic on the right shows the swelling leaves they are the rounder ones I am about to pull these and process the round ones . The rest I will dry on costco baker racks

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Victoria, Australia

Quoting:
Garlic buds make great pickles, too.


It is indeed a great pickle..

This message was edited Apr 17, 2013 10:41 PM

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

eweed
how do you "process the round ones" ?

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

I leave the tops on and let the stems dry then tie them in bunches and hang them in the shed on nails in the wall. Don't leave them out to be rained on. Don't pile them more tha about 3 layers deep or they will mold. Store them in a cool dry place. I only save the best I dehydrate or freeze the rest.

On a rainy afternoon we will slice or chop enough to fill a big turkey roaster heaping full drizzle the top with olive oil and put in a hot oven, stir occasionally and add olive oil as needed if they seem to be getting dry. When they are done I vacuum pack them in 2 to 3 pound packages and freeze them, Very convenient to use.

Obviously we enjoy our onions we are still eating them from the wall and the freezer.

When the onions on the wall start to get soft we process them.

Ok so it was another very good year at the fair. gas bag Weed is signing off now lol Enjoy

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Colorado County, TX(Zone 8b)

Quote from asparagus06 :
We have an issue with some onions and garlic going to seed very early in the season, especially if they are leftovers from last years crop.
Is that a bad thing or should I just leave them alone? Will they continue to grow in that state?


Flowering of onions can be caused by several things but usually the most prevalent is temperature fluctuation. An onion is classed as a biennial which means it normally takes 2 years to go from seed to seed. Temperature is the controlling or triggering factor in this process.

If an onion plant is exposed to alternating cold and warm temperatures resulting in the onion plant going dormant, resuming growth, going dormant and then resuming growth again, the onion bulbs prematurely flower or bolt. The onion is deceived into believing it has completed two growth cycles or years of growth in its biennial life cycle so it finalizes the cycle by blooming.

Also, I would recommend using the onions that have bolted ASAP... they will not store well at all.



This message was edited Apr 18, 2013 1:36 PM

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

eweed
thanks for your info.
where your pictures taken on an "onions competition" of some kind?

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

wr ranch. what conditions make an onion bulb. Mine are in the ground, but no bulbs., since Feb.

Colorado County, TX(Zone 8b)

The size of the onion bulb is dependent upon the number and size of the green leaves or tops at the time of bulb maturity. For each leaf there will be a ring of onion; the larger the leaf, the larger the ring will be. The onion will first form a top and then, depending on the onion variety and length of daylight, start to form the bulb. Onions are characterized by day length; "long-day" onion varieties will quit forming tops and begin to form bulbs when the daylength reaches 14 to 16 hours while "short-day" onions will start making bulbs much earlier in the year when there are only 10 to 12 hours of daylight. A general rule of them is that "long-day" onions do better in northern states (north of 36th parallel) while "short-day" onions do better in states south of that line. We in Texas want only "short-day" varieties.

In addition, fertilization of onion plants is vital to success... I apply a light side-dressing (10-20-10) every month. Over-doing the fertilization is also a cause of premature flowering/bolting.

I also ALWAYS plant my onions in early November... In a normal year, half of ours are 4-6" across when the tops fall over (usually around Memorial Day) & the rest are somewhat smaller. We normally plant 300-400 of them. I'll post pictures when I start harvesting them.








Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

w_r_ranch
thanks for posting these great info.
This is only my second year growing onions and I appreciate how you are explaining your knowledge.
I will start earlier next year too.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

My onions have started bulbing, but, I have had a problem with them falling over and laying down on the Earthbox mix. This is only my 2nd time growing onions in my Earthboxes. The first time I planted Dixondale transplants, and I kept them trimmed to about 6-8" because the wind and the heavy tops kept making them fall over. Once they were stout enough to stop flopping over, I stopped trimming the leaves.

This year, I'm growing onions I started from seed last August. I only trimmed them once, right after I set the transplants. The leaves are nice and fat, but, I've got onions laying down all over the place.

Could it be the potting mix isn't solid enough to anchor the roots upright? Other than flopping over, they're doing fine, and I think I should have a decent first-time-from-seed harvest sometime around August-September, if the heat doesn't do them in. Luckily, I can move the Earthboxes to some breezy shade, if necessary.

Linda

Ernie,
Great looking onions, as always! You grow onions like I grow Arcadia Broccoli!

Linda

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

W_R_Ranch,
Are you starting from seeds or transplants in November? I watched a video by the Bayou Gardener showing him starting onions seeds in a trough, 12 weeks before the regular time to set transplants he'd normally order.

The first time I set Dixondale transplants was January 8, 2012. I harvested onions from late July through the beginning of September. Once I had this success and saw the video, I calculated backward from November (which I learned was a better planting timeframe), which is how I came up with starting the seeds in August. Twelve weeks later, I had transplants a little bit smaller than what I usually had bought from Dixondale, so I let them go a bit longer, and ended up setting them again, on January 8, 2013!

I've side dressed twice with Ammonium Sulfate (high nitrogen), and will dress again this weekend.

Linda

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

Gymgirl: What seeds are you planting out for April? I need to make sure I am planting on time. I have to remember to plant Onion seeds in August. Plant out Onion plants in November.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Hey, Bee!
I feel like I'm behind with TWO very empty (but prepped) raised beds sitting outside!

Been contemplating just that question. There's a planting website (Gardenate.com) I found recently, that tells you month by month what you can plant in your zone. It's a handy little pop-up reminder, too. http://www.gardenate.com/

Fact is, I already have LOTS of transplants inside under lights waiting to go outside. So far, there're bell peppers, eggplants, a few more tomato seedlings, Swiss chard, & broccoli seedlings. I'll put them out to harden off this weekend, for planting out next weekend..

As for seeds, I'll be throwing out some okras, zucchini, cucumber, beets, carrots, turnips, and kale seeds,. I've been using my Nutribullet extractor, and KALE is a hot commodity on a daily basis!!! So, I have to grow my own, as well as some arugula.

Also, as a pest-busting strategy, a number of us gardeners will be using tulle (the wedding veil fabric) to cover a lot of the beds/veggie plants this season. It works like floating row cover, and I'm hoping to keep some of the moths from lighting on the stems. They can't lay eggs if they can't get to the stems/leaves!

Stay in touch, and I'll post my progress so you can "follow?" what I'm doing!

Hugs!

Linda

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

I lost a huge post so I will try again.

Drthor the onion pictures were taken at the Northwest Washington fair.

I agree with everything WR Ranch has said and quickly I say my nice onions are grown by these simple rules.

1. Weed well. And often. Onions that get their roots disturbed by letting them get root bound with weed plants don't do well for 2 reasons1by letting them get root bound the weeds rob the food the onion needs. 2 when you let the onion patch get overgrown with weed you often damage the onion roots when you rip out the weeds.I drag my fingers around the onions a couple times a week but I have sandy loam. Additionally be careful with the hoe if you try to clean to close you can cut the roots.

2. Water well. Onions need at least 1" of water a week. They are 87% water so you need to feed them lots of water to help them grow well. Try to avoid over head watering but if you just have to water from the sky do it early in the day .Onions don't like to be wet when they go to bed it causes mildew.

3.Feed well. I dig a trench at planting and put super or triple p 6"high centered over the trench. Next I plant my onions in the center of the row which should be over the fertilizer. When the onions start growing I start side dressing with ammonium Sulphate or pure 46% nitrogen. Side dress with baby steps about monthly

That's my story and I am sticking to it the information I share is true for the Pacific Northwest or my house .

This message was edited Apr 19, 2013 12:34 PM

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Eweed!

Glad to know someone else uses Ammonium Sulfate!

Colorado County, TX(Zone 8b)

Hi Linda. I 'kind of' do both, LOL!!! I grow 2 types of onions in our garden... 'White Granex' (our main onion) are purchased locally as sets & 'Egyptian Walking Onions' which utilize the previous years "bulbils", which are really 'top-sets' instead of 'seeds'.

The 'White Granex' are fully mature when the tops of the plants start to turn from green to yellow and the foliage flops over to the ground. In central Texas, this generally occurs around Memorial Day. Once harvested, we cure the entire plant by allowing them to dry in an airy, dry place for about a week. Then clip the roots/tops & started processing them for freezing (sweet onions, such as Granex, are not long-keeping storage onions).

The 'Egyptian Walking Onions' are great harvested young as green onions or left to mature into a shallot-like bulb. They are excellent in omelets,soups & salads!!! To learn about this amazing plant:

http://www.egyptianwalkingonion.com/

If anyone wants to try them in their garden, I should have plenty of 'seeds' this summer...


This message was edited Apr 19, 2013 3:47 PM

Thumbnail by w_r_ranch Thumbnail by w_r_ranch Thumbnail by w_r_ranch Thumbnail by w_r_ranch
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Any guesses as to why my onions keep falling over?

Colorado County, TX(Zone 8b)

If I was to 'guess'... I would say it has to do with too much nitrogen (causing them to be top heavy) & not enough phosphorus for bulb/root development. Try the 10-20-10, that I mentioned earlier.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Nitrogen for foliage phospherous for roots and fruits. The same idea as to why tomato plants get beautiful foliage, but no fruit set when too much nitrogen is given.

Isn't Kale a cool weather plant?

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Kale grows all year here but we don" have hot summers.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I think it may grow here, but the taste isn't good. I'm not sure, i've always thought of it as a cool weather crop.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I grow Kale in the fall. I started seeds in mid August indoor.
It is green all winter long. It is delish ... it starts to bolt in February and looses its great flavor. Also bugs will start to cover the plant.
I can grow Swiss Chard all year around, even in the hot summer.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Gymgirl - just saw your question above regarding onions falling over.

The only time I've had this happen is when I grew onions next to English peas. I didn't know why this happened, but thought perhaps the peas were shading the onions too much, and they were leaning towards the setting sun, and falling over while doing so.

My other thought was the same as yours. The soil may have been too light, and they simply became top-heavy.

It could have been a combination of the two.

Onions planted in another area of the garden had no problem staying upright. They were in a row that enjoyed FULL SUN all day from sun-up to sun-set. They also grew the largest bulbs. Some of them were attacked by voles, but not eaten completely. I don't think the voles liked the taste! The bulbs might have grown so large because they also were given dried blood meal, which was supposed to deter the voles - which obviously it didn't. The soil in that area is also heavier than soil in the raised beds, being a mixture of clay and potting soil. This area is not a raised bed. I also grow sweet potatoes in the adjacent area - same mix of native clay and potting mix. VOLE HEAVEN! The varmints are going to be disappointed this year, because nothing is going to be growing in that area!

One thing I noticed about these large onion bulbs - they did NOT store as well as the smaller bulbs. I gave several to my neighbor, and quickly chopped and froze the rest.

As you know, I'm not planting a vegetable garden this year to try to starve out both the voles and squash vine borers. I have a nice crop of weeds out there at the moment.

I did sow a row of English peas - how can an English couple like hubby and myself ever do without fresh English peas?! LOL

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Honey Bee there are stores you know and if you frequent them at the right time yoy can find English peas {Snort}.

Might be a good time to cover it with black plastic for about half the summer then peel back the plastic a couple or three times and till it to bring more weed seeds up to the top. I would burn the weeds now. That's just me.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Maybe it was bc the Peas are legumes, they produced too much nitrogen for the onions. Just a thought.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I think ya'll hit it. It's a combination problem. The potting mix is too light to hold the roots, and I need to side dress more diligently with phosphorus to build stronger root systems. I think I might introduce some garden soil into my onion Earthboxes next November.

It's never recommended to put soil into a container (eventual compaction issues), but I've worked with these containers long enough now to know it can be safely done if there's enough mineral content for structure, so the soil won't collapse on itself.

Thanks, Guys!

I'm still really, really happy, cause all these onions are from seeds I sowed! Not a single onion transplant purchased from Dixondale this year, and I'm getting ONIONS!

Totally stoked, and, can't wait to start new seeds in August!

Hugs!

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

Linda, I think the soil's the problem with the onions I have in earthboxes. I used a potting mix, as EB says, and those little babies simply will not stand up straight! I really think the soil was too light to keep them up. I've given them the recommended amount of NPK at planting, plus nitrogen every 2 weeks. I think of these 2 boxes of onions as an experiment, since they were leftovers from the main onion bed.

Next year, or rather this fall, I'll try my hand with planting my own onion seeds. I'll try both a red & a yellow sweet onions, so I'll be looking at various trypes.
Jo-Ann

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Jo-Ann,
After I posted, I remembered the first time I planted onions in my EBs, was after I inadvertently mixed some garden soil in with the Potting mix. Those did much better at growing upright, except I started them off too close to the edges.

Heavier soil in the EBs is the key...

Linda


Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

All my onions are in raised garden boxes I hope this is not a mistake.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

huumm my onion in my raised beds are standing up ...

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Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

I did a test run last year my beds will do just fine. I have garlic and elephant garlic almost a foot tall now. The onions did very well. I planted the smaller types 4 inches apart both directions and the bigger ones 6 inches apart.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

eweed: - I love your suggestion regarding buying peas. Indeed I do purchase lovely organic peas from Trader Joe's, but it's not the same as picking them fresh from the garden.

Also, I had purchased these seeds last year, but they didn't get sown. So I decided to see if they were still viable - which they were.

Gymgirl - I'm glad you posted about the problems with your onions falling over. It's made me sure that the bed I planted onions in last year had soil that was just too lite for them.
Congratulations on growing onions from seed. I've never been successful growing onions from seed.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I should try growing my leeks from seed. They sure make plenty of seed heads.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

darius - I purchased Lancelot leek sets one year and let them go to seed. None of the seeds grew.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I prefer Musselman leeks, but now Dixondale carries only Lancelot leek starts. The Lancelot seeds I saved didn't germinate either.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

darius - perhaps Lancelot has been bred to have non-viable seed.

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