[Market-farming] Starting Onions in the Ground

Pam Twin Oaks pam at twinoaks.org
Fri Jan 4 15:22:02 EST 2013


Chris, I'm unsure how to answer your questions. When did you start your
flats? And then when do you transplant them in the field? Exactly what
happens Feb 1st?? Transplanting in the field? Or are you moving the tunnel
off the onions, as Jay is?

We sow bulb onions directly in the soil in the hoophouse, 11/10 and 11/20.
We don't add potting soil on top. We weed them and look at them all winter.
We transplant them out in the field March 1st or as soon as we can after
that. We harvest in early June. We like Frontier, Gunnison, and Patterson
for storing. Seed companies keep pulling the onion-variety-rug out from
under us. Frontier is at Osborne Seeds, but not many other places that I've
found. Johnny's just discontinued Gunnison once we'd learned to like that.
We liked Olympic for a quick-growing non-storing kind, but that got pulled
too.

Before we started on this method, we tried sowing in plug flats in January,
we tried sowing in coldframes in September and over-wintering for
transplanting in the field in spring. Neither of those worked well.

Richard - On the question you asked about day neutral varieties, let me
know if you succeed in harvesting in September. I'm not sure if it will
work. I did grow Candy years ago, and they finished up the same date as
others. But that was from January sowing. I do think the daylength effect
is very strong. Do you have much humidity to deal with, where you are?
Candy isn't a good storer, I do remember that.

What about Walla Walla which takes 125 days? It doesn't store at all, but
it does take longer to get to (large) final size. . .

No wonder there's that phrase about "knowing your onions" - sure is a
tricky crop. At our latitude anyway.

Chris said:> I should have include more specifics. We are farming in
central Iowa.
> Last year we started the seed in 200 cell flats and we started over 400
> flats.  We just purchased a movable high tunnel and I would I would like
to
> do some in ground transplants and onions seem to be a good choice.
>
> Pam we usually start about the same time maybe a week earlier ( feb 1st).
>
> Should you start earlier or later than usual ( feb 1) with this method?
> Are you planting directly into the soil or adding potting soil to the top?
> We use row cover in the fall do you do this for the in-ground
> transplants?
>
> thanks
> Chris Corbin
> Tabletopfarm.com <http://tabletopfarm.com/>

Pam
-- 
Pam Dawling

Author of Sustainable Market Farming, Intensive Vegetable Production on a
Few Acres
http://www.sustainablemarketfarming.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming
http://www.newsociety.com/Books/S/Sustainable-Market-Farming
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