starting Walla Walla sweet onions

Lacey, WA

I have a bundle of Walla Walla sweet onion starts that I bought at the store today. I have not been sucessful twice in the past with growing these. Any advice would be helpful. Typically what happens is I put them out into the raised bed, planting each individually. They just sit there like a lump on a log and in the fall I have a few left that are the size of a little green onion. What am I doing wrong. (the others have just faded away into plant heaven somewhere.)

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Onions are big feeders I fertilize with super phosphate at planting then after they start growing side dress them with ammonimum sulfate every two weeks untill they begin to bulb. Keep them well weeded and never let them dry out. Raised beds can have the tendacy to drain well and can be to dry for onions unless you water deeply and stay on it.Ernie

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Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

since onions are big feeders I plant my large sized types 6 inches apart or thin as the season goes on to six inches. Smaller types like Copra for storage three to four.

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Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Oldhat, I'm wondering what kind of soil you have in those raised beds. Is it hard, packed, loose, sandy, etc?

If it is "prime soil" (easily worked, holds moisture but yet drains well) then do as ernie says, "feed 'em!". If it is hard/clay type soil that would have an effect on their size. Lastly, don't plant them too deep.

I wish I could grow Walla Walla here in the South! I'm jealous!


Lacey, WA

Hi Shoe,
Thank you for your replies. We used a mixture of topsoil, sand and potting mix when we started the beds. We had a terrible problem with roots growing into the beds and taking over, so we redid the beds and lined the bottom with fabric so as to keep the tree roots at bay. The beds drain well and with watering every other day they seem to do well in the moisture area. I'll pay attention to the feel of the soil this spring and see what's up there. Hope we fixed the problem with the tree roots taking over, and with the phosphorous and attention to the soil-maybe we will be able to grow the Walla sweets.
A plate full of fried or deep fried Walla Walla Sweets is to die for.
Thank you

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Yummy! Sounds good to me!

I'll be waiting for your "onion report" this year. Hope it goes well for you!


none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

OH eweed that is a lovely garden you have there. Im dreaming of an onion row like that.
Im trying onions for the first time
i got the sample pack at Johnnys to try .
Glad i found this thread

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

tanors ty and good luck. I am guessing you have the heat that onions love. If you space the plants right and never let the plants go dry at any time. keep weeding them when the weeds are small so you dont disturb the roots. Feed them well you will be rewarded with big sweet onions.Lack of moisture produces small hot onions.

If you can water with a drip type soaker hose, onions don't like over head watering. If you must overhead water the it;s best to water at least two hours before dark so they can dry. I don't know why rain is ok but watering over head isn't at least thats the way it is here. This may not be true in your area ask around. Ernie

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none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

eweed i have often wondered that myself
I was looking into solar mulch ? i was looking at it at Johnnys. Looked a bit pricey but to add some heat to a small area heat loving vegs i thought it might be worth a look.
hmmm water will be a challenge this yr .
Got some rain barrels for emergencys LOL
ok so good to know on that . THanks :) hope i get a good crop to make salsa !!!!!
those are some great pics :)

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Sue I am tempted to mulch some onions with black plastic so much cheaper than all the mulch materials sold by the seed stores. How great not to have to weed not to mention the saved moisture. The real question will my three goldens leave the mulch alone.

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none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Johnny s does have a biodegradable paper one too. I was thinking in that area too.
But i think the solar one would conserve heat it says. THought pricey .
i have alot of oak leaves that i planned on using for mulch too.j
using doccat method for potatos. worth a try . :)
do onions do well mulched with a black plastic ? or are they better with none.
I hear you on the goldens and mulch . They seem to always think, " hey lets go see what under the pretty plastic " lololol
that is one big onion :) are you sure Seymour isn't in there ? lol

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

eweed are those cattel panels ? in your pic above
I was thinking of using them as suppports

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Yes in the pic way up

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

good to know
i m giong to get some sunday
start on our garden
lots to do :)
your garden is so pretty ! :)

Bishop, CA

Oldhat, would you please tell me more about frying the Walla Walla's??? Never heard of it, sounds terrific.

Lacey, WA

Hi Maggie,
Sorry it took so long for me to respond. You slice the Walla Walla sweets, and break out into rings. Dip in tempura batter, or now they have regular onion batter you can buy, and then deep fry them. They are so delicious. Depending on the fryer temperature they will be done in about 3 minutes. Don't put to many in at a time or they stick together.
You can also just fry them bare naked in olive oil to a toasty brown and slurp up a dish full. Soooooo good.

Clarkston, WA

old hat, your climate in the Olympia area might be too wet for this type of onion, also, the filtered gray skies will have an affect. Since living in western Washington, moving to the east side the skies are unfiltered blue, hot and long sunny days. At our community garden we grew about 400 Walla Walla sweet onions reaching sizes of 4 to 5 inches in diameter in raised beds. We fertilized with triple 16 in a mulch/sandy soil. We watered them by hand overhead about 15 min per day and was not a problem.

Commercial growers water overhead on this type of onion, add organic fertilizer into a sandy soil around Othello and other parts of eastern Washington. Lots of direct sun, lots of daylight hours, heat and water is good. The soil gets saturated with water. I do not think elevation is an issue other than the start date. Another item I should mention is the onion set should be planted about 6 inches apart, one inch deep or less to cover the onion set roots. It is also important to plant early in February or March to get those roots growing with rain on them. These onions will take a light frost.

Our elevation here in Clarkston is about 570 feet above sea level, an airid climate.

Hope this helps.

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