Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


General information and discussion about cultivating onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 4, 2007   #1
Tania's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Anmore, BC, Canada
Posts: 4,274
Default how hardy the onions are...

I knew the onions are hardy (and they do recommend to plant Walla Walla in the fall here in PNW to overwinter...)

... however, I still was quite surprised to see these tiny onion transplants (that I started from seed and transplanted on Saturday) to survive 2 frosty nights in the row (30F and 26F). They looked totally frozen to me this morning (and I was torturing myself all day thinking 'why didn't I cover them last night???? ), and when I came home from work and checked them again they were healthy and seemed to be quite happy.


my question is - how early (before the last frost) can/should you really plant the onion transplants into the ground? Does that depend on their age/size? Are they affected in any way when they get a few frosts?

In the previous 2 years (I didn't grow onions from seeds before that) I transplanted onions after the frost (~1st week of April), and I didn't get large bulbs. I was under impression that the days got too long here and they started bulbing prematurely. This year I accidentally put them in a week earlier - I'll see what happens.

I grow Walla Walla, Candy F1, Copra F1, and Red Burgermaster F1 this year. Last year my fall planting of Walla Walla failed miserably (lost the battle to slugs... and excessive moisture during PNW winter)

Btw, any recommendations on how to 'feed' onions organically?

Tatiana's TOMATObase
Tania is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 4, 2007   #2
tjg911's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: zone 5b northwest connecticut
Posts: 2,563

bulbs are called sets. they were grown last year as onions, pulled and stored, then you plant them in the spring. sets stink. the best is to start from seed but plants are ok too.

onions tolerate really cold temps and i suspect even snow would not effect them as it would just insulate them from really cold temps.

i start my seeds about 2/22 and plant out around 4/25. my last frost date is 5/31. i think 28 degrees is ok but there is a fair amount of water in the stalk so 20 may just be too much - too cold. the plant greens may die but i suspect the roots would regrow but then you lost a lot of growing time. that's why i wait to 4/20 4/28.

but the sooner you put them out the bigger they get by june 21. day long onions for the northern latitudes need to grow as much as possible before mid june. the longest days trigger bulb formation.

i use neptune's harvest fish and seaweed emulsion. onions do not need a lot of fertilizing. so i fertilize them just 3 times 30 days apart. give them 1" of water per week and keep them weeded, onions do not compete well with weeds.

tjg911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6, 2007   #3
Ruth_10's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: MO z6a near St. Louis
Posts: 1,349

I have had a leek plant out by the compost pile that's survived two winters with temps down into the single digits and no snow cover to speak of. They can be very cold hardy. But I don't know how young plants would do. I don't have mine in the ground yet--had planned on putting them in this weekend, but won't unless it warms up a lot.

We're supposed to get down to 21 F tonight. That will just plain kill a lot of stuff. My strawberries are in blossom--they have two layers of Reemay. (XXX fingers crossed). This might be tough on the peas as well. The radishes and kohlrabi are covered with straw. Hope it works.

And speaking of onions--Copra has always been one of my favorites. This from the Johnny's newsletter:
- Copra onion. I've been telling you that the originator of Copra, Bejo Zaden B.V. in the Netherlands would not be producing seeds again. Well, this bummer has transformed itself into joy, because this week an angel from Bejo called us to say that they had decided to keep producing it!
Glad they're continuing to produce seed, but alarmed that they came close to stopping!

Some say the glass half-full. Others say the glass is half-empty. To an engineer, it’s twice as big as it needs to be.
Ruth_10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7, 2007   #4
Soilsniffer's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: z7, Richmond VA
Posts: 161

I order onion plants from Dixondale Farms almost every year. Unless you tell them otherwise, they ship the onions to you when it's a good time to plant in your area.

This year, they shipped to me last week of February, eight weeks before my 'last frost' date. I planted some 27 Feb, they're close to a foot tall now, very healthy looking.

However, weather expected to hit the 'teens here tonight, the first REAL cold the onions will have had. I don't expect a problem.

But ... I also planted come Candy transplants just the other day, 02 April. They have barely had time to bend vertically and green up just a tiny bit; we'll see how those do this evening.

Identifying garlic is done mostly by consensus. Many are like trying to identify the difference between twins.
Soilsniffer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7, 2007   #5
tjg911's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: zone 5b northwest connecticut
Posts: 2,563

- Copra onion. I've been telling you that the originator of Copra, Bejo Zaden B.V. in the Netherlands would not be producing seeds again. Well, this bummer has transformed itself into joy, because this week an angel from Bejo called us to say that they had decided to keep producing it!

wow that would be horrible! copra is the longest storage onion there is afaik. before they stopped producing seeds i hope there's a comparable onion, i need a storage onin that'll keep until the next harvest. last year my copra where still good 13-14 months after being pulled. my copra this year are in fine shape and i have hardly eaten any instead using the ailsa craigs 1st then the red wings. i'm down to about 5-6 pounds of the red wings, i put them into the kitchen fridge. while going thru them, 1 spouted and 1 was soft both about 4" in size. i lost about 4 or 5 out of 29-30 pounds of red wing. a good keeper.
tjg911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8, 2007   #6
Gimme3's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northeast Georgia, USA
Posts: 348

Tania....i, amazed and appreciative of how a young onion transplant can take on Life, an do Well...against cold.

I have transplanted Yellow hybrid Granex at their tooth-pick diameters before, and recieved in return...wonderful 4 -inch bulbs.

The problem in your locale vs. mine. We both know...that Cultivar brings tremendous specivity to the table. So... lemme jus say this...a very young..Onion seedling is Quite adept at handlin temps down to about 29 degrees an remarklealably be fine.As it gets jus a little can handle temps down to around 26,..then later on...23 ....but as it gets out of it's Youth, an starts gettin an Idea of what it was born to gets a lot less tolerant of temperature idiosynchrosies, an does what nature tells it to do.

In your region, as well as mine, ...cultivar selection for optimum climate/day length is Paramount...but in my thinkin...a very young onion seedling...aint lived long enough to know what it they All...handle cold, Well, when young.

Onions are a than others...but still...a Great one...)))

One other thing to ponder...there is a lot of academic research that indicates that an onion that is allowed to grow in soil temps of less than 50 degrees F. for more than 2 weeks, will be far more apt to bolt an throw out scape...thinkin its in its second year of life. I'm still tryin to figure out if a Yellow Granex operates that way, here, but it seems like its a point of growers North of about 36 degrees L.

Lets keep Learnin...)))
....Can you tell a green Field.....from a cold steel rail ?
Roger Waters, David Gilmour
Gimme3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 10, 2007   #7
montanamato's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,026

Tania....I have been putting onions in the garden the last 4 or 5 years that I started from seed....Problem is, I never get my garden beds prepared in late April for them...Some years they go out the end of May, and then I am impressed at how the little starts can take the heat and wind...I grow about 6 Italian varieties from seed, and get seedlings from the nursery for Walla Wallas....The Walla Wallas have been really nice and large and I get storage until the New Year from them...Must be the low humidity. I don't fertilize, but I do weed them very well....I plant them in an area my husband worked literally tons of corral contents a few years back....I think there is still enough nitrogen in the soil to skip fertilizing...As soon as my cabbage and onions start to get small I will have to fertilize, but the same area grows purple cabbage that is bowling ball size....Wish all my garden was so fruitful...

montanamato is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:43 PM.

★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2017 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★