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Friday Favorite: Growing Onions from Seed

February 28th, 2014

I love onions, love love love them. I’m fairly certain not a day goes by that I don’t include onions in my diet. As a result I grow lots of onions. After being disappointed in the varieties of onions available in plant/set, I began starting my onions from seed.
starting onion seeds 1
This year I’m trying a few open pollinated varieties and would like to try producing some of my own seed for the future. That’s one reason I chose to grow ‘Clear Dawn’, which is a stabilized open pollinated version of ‘Copra’ a popular long-storing onion.
starting onion seeds 3
My ‘Redwing’ onions from last year are storing like champs, which is very rare for red onions. I’m growing them again along with ‘Red Bull’ which is supposed to be an open pollinated long storing red onion. I’ll compare how it stores alongside the ‘Redwing’ onions.
starting onion seeds 4
starting onion seeds 5
‘Red Weathersfield’ is considered to be one of the healthiest onions, it contains high levels of antioxidants and other goodness. It’s also supposed to store well, we shall see how it stacks up to the other two red varieties above.
starting onion seeds 6
I’m also starting a few varieties of leeks, they are great when you don’t want too much oniony flavor and they are great for augmenting the onions in the winter since they’re so cold tolerant.
starting onion seeds 2
This is the first year I’ve been able to grow enough onions for my kitchen. My onion harvest is still storing well and I have a good number in the pantry. When the garden thaws I’ll have a few overwintered leeks as well to help make them last until the 2014 harvest comes in.

What’s your favorite vegetable to start from seed?

13 Comments to “Friday Favorite: Growing Onions from Seed”
  1. Joan on February 28, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I’ve never had much luck starting onions from seed, but have had great luck with purchasing onion plants. There’s not quite the variety as starting them myself, but I’ve been very happy with the final product. My redwings store great too – almost as good as Copras. I’m just starting to use my redwings now, having used up all the varieties that don’t store as well first.

    I don’t have growlights, and so don’t have a lot of luck starting things from seed, unless they can be planted directly in the garden. Broccoli started indoors does fairly well for me, and herbs, but tomatoes, peppers, and others I haven’t had a lot of luck with.

    Reply to Joan's comment

  2. Nebraska Dave on February 28, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Susy, up until last year the only seeds I’ve tried to start inside were tomatoes and green peppers. Last year I grew cabbages and broccoli with some success. At least that’s what the rabbits thought. This year the seed starting station is filled with onion starts. I’ve never tried that before but it seems they are doing well so far. I will transplant the cabbages into the two inch fiber pots next week with hope of harvesting at least six or eight cabbages headed for kraut and slaw. I think this year I’ll try some eggplants as well. Of course cucumbers will be under the grow lights as well for a good start but they grow really fast and don’t need too long before they are planted outside. Yes, I love it. The garden season has started.

    Have a great day under the grow lights.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Susy on February 28, 2014 at 11:42 am

      You won’t be disappointed with the onion seedlings, I love how well mine do!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. amy on February 28, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Susy~you are just brilliant how you have figured all of that out! :)

    Reply to amy's comment

  4. gabe on February 28, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Cool, I grow both Copra and Redwing – I didn’t realize there’s now an OP version of Copra. I’ll have to check that out next year!

    I’ll be staying tuned to see how the Red Bull turns out!

    Reply to gabe's comment

  5. Reid on February 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I desperately need more space to start my seeds. I always tend to start too much, but co-workers buy tomato seedlings from me.

    I can never resist trying new tomatoes. Seeds I saved and will start this year are: Tomatoes: Purple Calabash tomato, Dr. Wyches, Indigo Rose.

    Peppers: Chinese Giant, Jimmy Nardello. For the Nardello I saved seeds from a very curled one. It will be neat to see how the babies come out. I love the funky shaped ones, so I selected for it.

    I am starting 4 different winter squash. I am obsessed this year with those. Greek Sweet Red, Peanut Pumpkin, Waltham Butternut, and Long Island Cheese.

    I am starting onion seedlings: North Holland Blood Red. They are flat, very pungent, and supposed to be good for storing.

    At the end of the year I always say I am going to scale back my seeding, but I can never resist. I think, “Is it really worth all of the fuss, when a lot of what I want to grow will probably be available locally?” I have concluded yes. I love seeing the process from start to finish, knowing that I planted the seed, individually brushed each plant to make it strong, and tasted the fruit before harvesting the seeds to do it once again. I love the seed to table concept.

    Reply to Reid's comment

    • Susy on March 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Those red onions sound great, I’ll have to see about growing that variety next year. The pungent ones are the healthiest!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Marcia on February 28, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    This year will be my first starting anything from seed indoors. I’m trying onions (since I heard here that they get bigger), leeks, tomatoes (can’t seem to ever find seedlings for black tomatoes) , peppers and squash. And cabbage. And cauliflower. Oh my! I see this becoming like the garden: every year I say less and end up planting more.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  7. daisy on February 28, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I will be starting onions for the first time this weekend. Scallions, to be exact. I enjoy growing anything from seed. I’m just happy it grows!
    Tonight we had carrots harvested earlier today, and I have to say, it is very gratifying. Enjoy your array of onions!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  8. miravos on March 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Really great to see that so many of us are passionate about onions when so many others consider it just a simple, humble and ordinary vegetable. How wrong they are as this clip demonstrates.

    Reply to miravos's comment

  9. Andrea on March 31, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Could you tell me what planting mix you used for this set of onions? I read your other post about making your own, but this mix looks darker and looks like it might have perilite.


    Reply to Andrea's comment

    • Susy on March 31, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      I usually mix my own but my compost was frozen this year – so I bought some from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Andrea on March 31, 2014 at 8:49 pm

        Thanks. I’m in MI so shipping would be prohibitive. I think I am going to go back to the Pro Mix. Last few I’ve tried have been disappointing. I cannot find anything that works well with onion seedlings, though. It either stays too wet or too dry. Either way they die. :-(

        to Andrea's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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