Me onions are going orf!

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JohnB47

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Me onions are going orf!
« on: November 07, 2011, 20:42 »
Grew some really good Stuttgarter this spring (grown from sets) but the bunch I've had hanging in my kitchen are starting to all go soft - I had to throw three out today. I have another bunch hanging in the garden shed and they seem to be OK. I think I dried all of them carefully before plaiting and they were definitely firm before I hung them up.

What am I doing wrong? Don't Stuttgarter keep well?

Perhaps I have to grow a lot more than I think if this is a normal level of loss.


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sarajane

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 20:53 »
Onions need to be kept in a relatively dry atmosphere hence those in the kitchen could be more damp than those in the garage.  That said, some of mine are also starting to rot in my garage.  I believe I harvested mine a little too soon (some of the tops had nt bent over naturally but we were going away and I didn't want to leave them in the ground any longer). 

Did you allow yours to dry before harvesting?.  If not, stem rot can occur

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Ice

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 21:12 »
Had any of them flowered?  Onions that have bolted don't store well.
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JohnB47

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 23:10 »
Ta.

Well, I'm not an experienced onion grower, so I can't really say that they dried properly. Let's say they looked really dry, the stems were a good balance (I think) between being not too young to plait and not too old that they were brittle. Necks nice and papery but with some flexiblilty. Not having an 'old timer' to guide me , it's a bit difficult to guage really.

Yes, a couple had flowered but I'd read enough to know that those would not store, so I ate them first. Also a couple of thick neck ones, which I also ate early.

Pitty really. They seemed perfect, then they went soft for no apparent reason.

To ask again - does Stuttgarter store well, or badly?

Here's the thing - I've noticed that some of the onions I grow badly, ie that don't get beyond golfball size, last a long time. Whereras these large ones don't seem to be lasting at all. Seems odd to me.

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Salmo

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2011, 23:41 »
Although a string of onions looks nice in the kitchen it is probably too warm. Better to just bring a few in at a time.

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Trillium

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 02:41 »
I was thinking the same as Salmo - the kitchen might be just a bit too warm and/or damp for good storage for onions.

Also, the larger a storage onion gets (and yes, normally Stuttgarters do store well), the more water it contains, and the shorter its storage time. I'd go easy on the watering next season (but don't let them go dry) so you get those smaller sized ones which will definitely store better. You might need to grow more of them, but they'd keep well for you.

For this reason I've gone more to shallots which store over a year for me with no problems.

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JohnB47

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 11:50 »
Thanks everyone. Some good ideas there.

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Cabbie37

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 17:48 »
I've suffered exactly the same problem. I grew red onions, white (Bedfordshire Champ) and Banana shallots - all from seed - this year. All grew well to a good size. I had to throw away *all* the reds yesterday and virtually every white I cut open has a brownish-purpl'ish rot to the outer rings - I'm lucky if I can get a 2" centre section out to cook with.. Shallots on the other hand seem fine (and fortunately, onion sized). I ripened them off by lifting ad laying them out on the ground at the allotment. Next year I think I'm going to make an elevated frame covered in chicken wire. I think my problems are due to not drying them off well enough, but am not really sure?

Any comments?

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cooperman

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2011, 22:50 »
generally rotting off is due to insufficient drying.  Before you harvest onions/shallots they do really need to LOOK as though they need pulling.  I always air dry mine on frames that are shielded from the rain but fully open to the air - once they are fully dry (no green showing at all) then I plat then and hang in the shed.
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JohnB47

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2011, 20:53 »
.... virtually every white I cut open has a brownish-purpl'ish rot to the outer rings...

Yep, same here.

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JayG

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2011, 11:20 »
Despite taking every effort to dry my shallots properly (short of desiccating them in the oven!) I lose quite a few globe types to rot, this year being no exception.

In almost every case the bulbs which rot turn out to be two or more "bulblets" joined together, each of which has its own skin which makes them almost impossible to dry out.

Unfortunately this is not visible from the outside - I'm tempted to pass on globe types and stick with the slimmer varieties which seem less prone to sub-divide in this way, although I do prefer globe-sized bulbs which I use instead of onions.
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Goosegirl

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2011, 14:50 »
I seem to have the same problem most years - I get thick-necked ones, and some (though not this year) that try to flower. I had several onions and shallots that had two bulbs that didn't dry out and started to rot; also with the onions, I was late in lifting them and they really had gone over properly, so I think the fact that it was a wet season meant that the stems couldn't dry out properly whilst in the ground then, when you lift them, they still have a lot more drying out to do. You live and learn!
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Trillium

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2011, 15:11 »
I think the UK generally suffers more with rotting onions than we do since our summers are usually pretty dry. The only years we have poor onions is when we've had a wet summer, which, thankfully, are few.

If you do get a lot of rainfall, then try putting up row cloches so the onions don't get so much water and leave them up until you feel the onions finally need some water, then replace the row covers. (don't mean fleece, but the actual rigid covers) Do leave the ends open for good air flow.

Also, try to keep onions growing on higher spots, never low areas where water can pool. Its a lot of fussing but if you want good onions, you'll need to really pay attention.

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JohnB47

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2011, 20:15 »
I think the UK generally suffers more with rotting onions than we do since our summers are usually pretty dry. The only years we have poor onions is when we've had a wet summer, which, thankfully, are few.

If you do get a lot of rainfall, then try putting up row cloches so the onions don't get so much water and leave them up until you feel the onions finally need some water, then replace the row covers. (don't mean fleece, but the actual rigid covers) Do leave the ends open for good air flow.

Also, try to keep onions growing on higher spots, never low areas where water can pool. Its a lot of fussing but if you want good onions, you'll need to really pay attention.

Thanks Trillium but I should point out that this Summer, down here in East Devon, has been very dry. OK, it's bucketing down now but earlier in the year was worryingly dry. So the argument that my problem was probably caused by wet conditions doesn't hold water  ::).

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Trillium

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Re: Me onions are going orf!
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2011, 20:32 »
Definitely not for you, John, but perhaps for others. I wonder if the infamous onion rot hit your crop?  It's the only other answer I can think of. A lot of UK folk had trouble with it this past year, regardless of rain or dryness.



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