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Author Topic: How long will onion sets keep before planting?  (Read 4116 times)

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JohnB47

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How long will onion sets keep before planting?
« on: October 05, 2010, 19:41 »
Just a general question.

If I was to buy onion sets now for planting in March next year, would they keep? Reason? I've seen some Stuttgarter Giant for sale today and I don't want to over-winter them. I've often found that sets disappear from the shops just when I want to buy them so I was thinking of buying them now and storing them. Is this sensible?

Oh and a related question. The sets were Stuttgarter Giant and the label indicated that they could be planted now or next March and that they 'keep well'. What effects an onions keeping abilities? I thought it was the variety but maybe it's whether you over-winter them or plant them in Spring that makes the difference between one that will keep well (spring planted) and one that won't (over-wintered). Any views on that?


paintedlady

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Re: How long will onion sets keep before planting?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2010, 05:15 »
I have grown Stuttgarter Giant, planted in spring, and they performed very well.  Downside for me is that they are "flatter" than globe onions, and peeling them (or rather chopping off the root plate) made them awkward in the kitchen but don't let me put you off considering them.  The onions stored very well over winter so I imagine the sets would too but bear in mind that the sets are smaller in size than a full size onion.  Garden suppliers tend to have much better controlled facilities to store their sets and bulbs, so it could be a hit and miss - you may be alright, but if stored incorrectly, they might try to throw up shoots before it is time to plant out.

With regards to planting now, I really don't know but I'm almost certain that it is a spring planted onion which surprises me that they are available (are you sure you are not ordering them now and they'll post them after the new year?) - a part of me feels that any planted now, come spring, they would gear up to throwing out a seed head which will shorten their storage capability in the 2nd year. 

Maybe it's worth an experiment - if you do decide to get the sets now, maybe plant a few and keep the rest until spring and see what happens?
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Nikkithefoot

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Re: How long will onion sets keep before planting?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2010, 07:34 »
You could try storing them in a cool, frost free place until the spring if you really wanted to buy them now, however as paintedlady says the garden centres will have far better storage than you. Have you considered asking them if they can notify you when spring stock arrives or even reserve and pay for some now for collection in the spring? It has to be worth a try.
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compostqueen

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Re: How long will onion sets keep before planting?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 09:03 »
you can start off each set in a module of compost if you can't plant them because of wet weather. 

Celtic Eagle

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Re: How long will onion sets keep before planting?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2010, 13:24 »
Stuttgarter are normall planter spring to grow through summer. I have never heard of planting them in autumn. A question were they for sale in a Garden Centre or in a catalogue . If a GC could be old stock might be worth a punt if cheap enough and you can keep them cold but not frozen till say Feb then start them in individual pots. High risk of them bolting to seed though.
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JohnB47

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Re: How long will onion sets keep before planting?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2010, 10:46 »
Thanks everyone.

I saw these at a garden centre - part of a display of onion/garlic/shallots. Not old stock, all new stuff. Seemed a bit odd to me that the packet suggested either Autumn or Spring planting, 'cos I'd read that they are usually Spring planted.

I think I'll wait and buy in the new year. I've not done well in the last two attempts at growing sping planted onions - they seem to start well but just don't want to grow to any size. Maybe next year eh?

Cheers, all.

paintedlady

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Re: How long will onion sets keep before planting?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2010, 10:55 »
I'm surprised - onion sets usually do fine.  Perhaps the soil needs something digging in, or crucially, they don't get enough water?

JohnB47

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Re: How long will onion sets keep before planting?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2010, 19:45 »
Well, perhaps there is a reason. In my first attempt I planted them late - 'cos I got my allotment in late May and had to find it under all the years of rubbish and undergrowth first. Then this year was really dry.

Having said that, my neighbouring plotholder produced some impressive spring planted Stuttgarter Giants without any special preparation or subsequent treatment. He said he just bunged them in and left them to it.

Who knows what will happen this year but I'm going to try what was successful for him.



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