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Save Your Onion Seeds

onion going to seed
Aug 02, 2010

Saving onion seeds

The onions in the picture are Walla Walla’s and they are an open pollinated variety that produces a sweet early onion. We save our best keepers and replant them in the late fall or early spring with lots of mulch over their tops.  The next season they produce a seed head and we collect their seeds when they are black and fall easily from the plant.  It is easy to save onion seed, all you have to do is wait until the flowers begin to dry out and the seeds are ready to fall. Don’t wait to long or you will loose your seeds to the earth.

When the onions seeds are black and they fall out easily harvest the flowers and put them in a bag or on a tray and rub those until the seeds fall out. If the onion seeds are not black and if the seeds do not fall out easily then the onions are not ready to harvest.

Onions can also be hybrid or open pollinated and you need to save seed from open pollinated varieties if you want them to be true to seed. Open pollinated seeds will produce off spring with the same characteristics as the parent plant. Hybrids produce unpredictable seeds.

Plant a seed and watch it grow! The mystery of life you will know!

Farmer Dave


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Onion roots are concentrated in the area just below the bulbs. Make deep planting trenches and line them with rich compost and/or composted organic fertilizer. This technique, called banding fertilizer, places a cache of organic riches where the onions can utilize it early on, during the plants' most active period of growth. Providing bioactive compost is important when growing onions, because onions take up much of the phosphorous they need through partnerships with soil-borne mycorrhizal fungi.

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