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Morning! In originally posted this in the problem solving discussions but received no replies.  Posting again the fruit and veg section in the hope someone may have some answers 😕

Heres hoping!

“Morning everyone,  Every August bank holiday we have a village show and a number of villagers compete for the biggest onion (😳) This year, my dear old dad has grown some absolute corkers but with only about a month to go til the show, he has just rung to inform me that they are beginning to split ..... I’ve tried googling it but can’t find cause or remedy - if indeed there is one. I’m guessing it’s weather related? 

Any onion growers out there who can offer some advice on what can be causing it and if there’s anything we can do to prevent it.

Thanks in advance 👍🏻“


  •  I would guess it is a weather problem combined possibly with erratic watering routine. The heat will, I think, cause the outer skins to harden. If they are then watered, the internal tissue takes up the water, swells and the hard outer layer has to split to accommodate the internal growth. I have been growing about a dozen onion plants, grown from seed, for the first time this year and they are all doing well. I have been worried I might be over watering them as they can rot off with too much water, but it sounds as if I have got away with it.

    I wait fir my theory to be shot down in flames as I am a novice onion grower and will bow to any experts who happen to know better than I do.

  • AllyblueeyesAllyblueeyes Posts: 411
    Joyce, thank you,  that does make sense.  Dad waters regularly but not sure at what time of day.  I guess then it's probably better that he waters first thing in the morning rather than evening?  Thankfully it hasn't affected all of them.  I wish you well in your onion growing endeavours!  
  • I think possibly your Dad may have waited a bit too long before beginning regular watering which gave the skins time to set if he grew them from seed and he waited until the weather began to heat up the skins will have toughened. I am growing Bedfordshire Giant, mine are nowhere near giants but bigger than I have ever grown before. I used to exhibit and know growing large veg. is an art in itself. The only way to get large onions is to grow them from seed using specialist seed which can be phenomenally expensive, same as largest marrow etc.

    Good luck to your Dad with his competition.

  • AllyblueeyesAllyblueeyes Posts: 411
    Thanks Joyce. I will definitely pass this info on to dad for next year. He’s grown some from seed and some from sets (I think).  He was so worried, he’s actually lifted them already 😕  The ones that haven’t split do look good but typically it’s the bigger ones that aren’t perfect!  Thank you so much for your advice and I will let you know how he gets on.  
  • If your Dad is going to try again next year can I suggest he goes on line to the RHS web site and types in "Growing onions for exhibition". It can be printed off and contains lots of useful info. on soil requirements, feeding etc., It will probably frighten the life out of your Dad and put him off trying again! I know you are supposed to sow onion seed in Jan, I believe New Years Day is the traditional date for sowing onions so not long to go.

  • AllyblueeyesAllyblueeyes Posts: 411
    Thank you Joyce, I will certainly do that. Dad has been growing onions successfully for many years, but this is the first year they have been splitting. Certainly haven’t had heat/sun like this since he’s been growing them. We’ve managed to get together 5 lovely onions to put in the show so all is not lost ...... lots of lovely onion soup for the autumn too! 😋 
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited July 2018
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,721
    I would also check.. are they just splitting or have the bulbs divided? Some years (like last year) a good 50% of my onions decide to divide, it's always the big ones that do it too!
  • AllyblueeyesAllyblueeyes Posts: 411
    Thanks Bob, yes I did see the responses to the original post but they came in after I posted the new one under fruit & veg. Very helpful all the responses were too. 

    Skandi, that’s interesting and something I will need to check with Dad. I’m sure they are splitting but if it’s the bulbs dividing, is that weather/watering related too do you think?

  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,721
    I do not know why they do it unfortunately.
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