Five New Onions for the Holidays

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It was 59 degrees and sunny in the garden today, at the end of December. I couldn’t resist planting something and the onions were first in line. I saved seeds from last year’s onions, several different varieties of them–all in the same grocery bag. I didn’t even realize my mistake until I wanted to get the early white onions started. Oops. Turns out seeds for white onions look pretty much like seeds for every other kind of onions. I forced myself to make a trip to the local garden store for seeds I could identify. ;-)

Planting onions from seedI chose ‘Walla Walla Sweet’ from Nichols, even though I probably should have planted them much earlier for overwintering. They will still be delicious even if they are small. Mike the Gardener sent me some ‘White Sweet Spanish’ onion seed. It’s a long-day variety, and my garden is pretty much on the dividing line where you should grow short-day onions south of my house and long-day onions north of my house, so I figure I might get away with either one. The ‘Ailsa Craig’ onions from Seed Savers Exchange are another long-day variety that I’m hoping will work for fresh eating through the summer. I’m also trying ‘Yellow Granex’ from Botanical Interests. It’s a short day onion that should have been planted in the early fall, but some years that just doesn’t happen. I’m going to try it anyway and see how it fares compared with the ‘Walla Walla Sweet’. Hopefully one of them will be happy enough to bulb.

I’m also experimenting with ‘Copra Hybrid’ storage onions. The seed is old, packed at Territorial Seed for 2009. No hard feelings if it doesn’t sprout. I know onion seed isn’t supposed to keep well. The other storage onion I’m thinking about trying is the ‘Gold Princess’ onion, but it’s a cipollini onion and they seem to need space around them to develop well. I’m going to wait until things warm up again before making a good spot for them.

What’s the first thing you’ll plant for the 2012 garden? I think my next project will be beets, then it’ll finally be time to get some of the tomato and pepper seeds going.

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