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Onion advice please

NanabooNanaboo Posts: 1,057
edited June 2019 in Fruit & veg
Never grown onions before so don't know what to expect. I have noticed one of my onions has a long shoot on it with a bulge at the top the others seem fine although don't seem to be getting very big at the bulb end. What should I do with the long shoot and can I do anything to improve the size of the onion but not more top groth.
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  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Hampshire Coast 100m from the seaPosts: 1,089

    Because onions are a cool weather plant, hot temperatures or other stress conditions like irregular watering in dry times can cause the plant to bolt (go to seed). The bulbing tip can be snapped off and the onion grown on, but it will not store well so should be marked for use once harvested.

    The trick is to not over water them. They are shallow-rooted and once established they do not need much water. They also do not compete well with weeds at any time, particularly when young. 


    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • NanabooNanaboo Posts: 1,057
    Hamppshire_Hog, thank you, I water at the base of everything and then hoe to stop the weed. I thought all that rain last week would have seen the bulb part get bigger but no, should I give then a general fertilizer feed? The veg patch has had nothing gown in it for the last 8 to 10 years, well apart from weeds.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,579
    Give them another 3 months, I’m sure they’ll grow. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • NanabooNanaboo Posts: 1,057
    edited June 2019
    Have I got the veg gardeners bug Lyn. I don't want to wait I want it now ;) Thank you think I'm just to impatient.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,579
    First rule of gardening.....patience,  it’s a waiting  game, people them make the mistake of chucking a load of feed stuff at them to make them grow quicker, thus upsetting the balance of the soil, patience is the answer. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • NanabooNanaboo Posts: 1,057
    Lyn, yes I understand the feet need to grown to support the body of the plant. It just that I've never grown onions before and didn't know what to expect. I've only been watering them do I need to give them anything other than water? I found some Buddleia cuttings tucked away that I'd taken last year and forgotten about, I knocked them out to find the roots had filled the pot so potted them on. There is much more root growth than top growth which means they'll be fine in the ground, good anchorage.
  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Hampshire Coast 100m from the seaPosts: 1,089
    @NannaBoo     The soil ideally should be light to medium density, must be well-drained, and have some rotted manure or compost dug in the previous autumn but not be overly rich. Potash can be added as ashes or in fertilisers.

    The onion’s famous potency is due to the sulphur content as well as how you grow your onions such as the type of soil you have, what hummus you incorporate, water content, weather conditions, and the type of feed or fertilisers you use.

    Like all plants, onions need potash; the more potash they have available the less sulphur they absorb. Using low potash fertilisers will result in smaller, but stronger tasting onions.

    If you have any Growmore or any other make chuck a handful or so of that around that will help.


    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • NanabooNanaboo Posts: 1,057

    Hampshire_Hog Many thanks for the above advice. I grew green manure over the entire veg patch last year and it was turned in this spring. I put cardboard down after that just to stop the weeds from growing till I was ready to start planting. When the cardboard came off I lightly turned in 5, 120 ltr bags of shop bought compost and raked that in. I've only been using BFB, Chicken pellets and and Epsom salt. Finding somewhere here that sell horse manure at a reasonable price is impossible here, half a bag the size of a compost bag is from £8 depending where you go. I have been making my own compost this year so next year thing should grow better. It's really just the onions and peas that don't seem to be doing much, the runner beans have gone off like a rocket and the tomato are not to bad all the brassicas are slow but I don't expect them to do much at the moment. I water every evening unless like last week we have lots of rain. Give me a flower or shrub and I can grow them like weeds even propagating them but this veg grown is a battle but I'll get there. Again thank you for the above advice.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,823
    It always amazes me how much people fertilise their onions, a case of what works for you, I guess. I have never fertilised onions, ever, until inadvertently this year by topping up the bed with compost as it was a bit low. This year my onions all developed fat necks and were far too lush, at the expense of the bulb! Usually, when the bulbs begin to fatten up and the tops die back, I let the weeds grow rampant to soak up any excess nutrients and force the bulbs to complete their fattening process. This was Bob Flowerdew’s advice. I know I have a different climate, but BF doesn’t! Maybe his soil is really rich and with me it’s the sun, but his technique has always worked for me in the past...
  • NanabooNanaboo Posts: 1,057
    Nollie, as you say if it works for you that's the way to go. I added the compost as we have heavy dark clay here only about 4 inches down. I have been hoeing around them every day so will now just how half and leave half and see it one is better than the other. Your onions sound like mine fat necks and not much bulb. We live on a hill so when it rains it runs from the gardens up the road down to us and then into the lake but if it's dry the soil cracks open which is the clay drying out. Thank you for the info will see if I can find something on line re Bob Flowerdew.
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