Onion lessons!


Date:31 Oct 2023

Blog Type:Vegetables

One thing I love about these blogs is we can see what we did when, aswell as who did it aswell, with different results, and we can learn why or where what went wrong. 

There are some great results with onions so far, aswell as some that have had some issues. I am one of the later where my earliest onions are bulbing up and going to seed.. Hmmm.. Why? 

I have a few at different stages, some sown and planted out in March, some in July, and some planted out today.

I have tried a few varieties, but with some winter heavy rains, the tags are not as accurate as I would like. "Red" and "yellow spanish" are easy to identify, but "white spanish' and galladon are a bit difficult.

NZ is a relatively small country by population for a large variety of seed, and we go from latitude 34' S to 47' S  Hence we have very different needs between far North and deep South!

Bulbing onions are in 3 groups. The first is short day onions, they mature in 10 to 12 hours of daylight and are best between latitudes 25 to 35'S. These are not suitable for NZ, as only a very small amount of land which is not well populated would need these.

Intermediate onions are our most popular onions, and are easily available. 12 to 14 hours light is what makes them bulb up and mature! Best for 32 to 42'S they cover most of the Populated NZ.

They long day onions need 14 to 16 hrs daylight to bulb up, best from 37 to 47's only the Deep South and Steward Island  would benefit from them. There are a few varieties available, but not researched them as AKL is 37'S and slap bang in the middle of the intermediate zone.

So what went wrong? Well I started  in March with 13 hours daylight, hoping that we would get a good start to the growth before they slow over winter and then take off again in spring and bulb up at 12 to 14 hours daylight. Generally they bulb up in December for me, though not very well 😂 hence my trials at different timing. What I knew but didn't take into account is that onions are biannual, They grow leaves till day length is reached, the base of each leaf then fatens up causing rings creating a bulb, they go dormant over winter then seed in the second summer. With then starting at full day length, they went dormant over winter and now we have more than 12 hours daylight, they are in hurry up mode as they need to seed, hence a half hearted effort at bulbing, but going to seed as they should! 

Onion lessons!