I decided to plant the onions today. I didn't see them growing any bigger 40 to a tub, and the weather was pretty good. I could have waited a few days, but I didn't want to wait until next weekend.
The rootball slid right out of the tub, and was a large mass. They wrapped around the bottom, nice strong, thick roots.
The first four pictures are Ailsa Craig, a large sweet Spanish-style long-day onion, the bottom one is Cabernet, a red intermediate to long day storage variety.
After sliding them out of the tub, they were gently teased apart while brushing the dirt away. A little bit of root was lost but it mostly stayed intact. For onions that are tangled together, a dip in a glass of water will get them to easily slide apart.
Most only had 2-3 healthy leaves on them. I suspect there just isn't enough nitrogen they were getting in the tubs, and the roots are too constrained. Next time I will go more heavy on the fertilizer. They are very hard to burn. My sister in law is actually an environmental science teacher, and as an experiment her students are giving them extreme doses of Miracle Gro, with no ill effects thus far. I can say though, I was very surprised, they WILL wilt at this stage if the mix dries out. But they had a nice bottom of stem going, and root system, so I hope they will be put out nice new leaves.
The soil for planting was worked with a spade, after adding a dose of compost and a little Espoma fertilizer. After planting some extra side dressing of Espoma was added. They are planting by making a hole with a spade or a finger, and putting the base of them stem just below the soil line -- they should not be planted deep or it will interfere with bulbing. I will add a very light layer of mulch once they get established.
They look so tiny.... I planted the Ailsa Craig's about 5" apart, and the Cabernet about 4" apart.
With my backup onions, if these do well with the transition, I will plant a scallion patch somewhere. Otherwise, I will be glad I had backups! I am going to give them a lot more nitrogen and see what happens.
The leeks are still very small and will need a couple more weeks.
About this site
My name is Peter and I am a gardener in the Lower Hudson Valley. This is my third year growing a very large garden, from seed. This is my journal.