Not that impressed with Onion sets.

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by silu, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. silu

    silu gardening easy...hmmm

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    I bought some Onion sets for the 1st time to try as before I'd grown Onions from seed. Quite a few of the set type Onions are beginning to bolt (flower) and haven't really grown that big/well in comparison to the seed sown ones which while not going to win the giant Onion competition:), are going along nicely and show no signs of bolting. I was expecting superior results from the sets but I'm not. Is this unusual as if not I don't see the benefit of growing sets?
     
  2. JWK

    JWK Gardener

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    This is the problem with sets, I usually have a few that bolt and its seems to have got worse the past few years. I used to put it down to planting too early but having delayed till after the frosts I still get some that bolt. This year I got a few sets from Morrisons and they have been perfect, the ones from Van Meuwen were tiny scraggly things and these have not been so good.

    You can 'heat treated' sets which have the flower embryo killed off by the treatment, so should never bolt. I've never tried these myself, just learnt to live with a few bolting.

    Bolting onions won't get any bigger and don't store so best to pull them up and eat them straight-away if big enough.

    I think seed grown is better but more time consuming than just plonking in sets, although I get an occasional few seed grown ones bolting from time to time too.
     
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    • Scrungee

      Scrungee Well known for it

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      Only about 8 out of about 60 of my overwintering onion sets bolted this year, and not a single one of about another 60 spring planted sets bolted. All grown through Mypex.
       
    • silu

      silu gardening easy...hmmm

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      I planted mine in the middle of April from memory, is that a bit early? I'm not so fussed about the bolting it's more the fact that they aren't very big at all and way smaller than my seed sown ones. Maybe I just didn't get good seed ones. They were about the size of a Ferrero Rocher......not that I am really that familiar with those bad boys:). They are a bit bigger now and hoping they will put on a bit of girth before the leaves keel over.
       
    • burnie

      burnie Gardener

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      I used to grow both "Mammoth" seed onions and various sets, including red, I also tried growing french shallots. The mammoth were huge and mild, Spanish type, whereas the sets produced stronger flavoured cooking onions. Sadly my soil is too thin up here and onions are not very good. Next year I shall grow only mammoth seed grown onions in containers., these are eaten raw, I'll buy my cooking onions from the farmers market.
       
    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      Stopped using sets about five years ago.
      At that time I also grew bedfordshire champion and kelsae from seed.

      Too many ran to seed, now only grow from seed, and lets face it you get more choice.

      Not really that much fiddling around as I use the cell trays and sow about four seeds to a cell, get some really nice useable sized onions that way.

      Dont bother with the kelsae anymore, they get too big and I found they didn't store that well.
       
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      • JWK

        JWK Gardener

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        Not too late. Mine were planted late April but I had got them off to a reasonable start in seed trays.

        Well I don't know how to explain that, assuming your seed grown and sets have been treated in the same way. I only ever grow Sturnon these days as these store much better than others, they don't get massive - maybe tangerine sized.
         
      • silu

        silu gardening easy...hmmm

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        Thanks @JWK, really odd because both sets and seed grown are within about 6ft of each other. Same soil,sun or not!! and the sets I'm growing are Sturnon too. Have lost the seed packet of the sown ones and can't remember the variety :doh:but know they were not the great big mild jobs just what would hopefully store well and have a good strong flavour. Good idea re seed trays tho. Do you plant them really close together in the trays in your greenhouse?and how long before planting out?
        You may have given me a reason for the poor results come to think of it. The sets took ages to actually start into growth although did get 100% growing. The seed grown I had in the greenhouse for a fair while before planting out so they were well on in comparison. The seed grown had plenty of top growth when we had a great 6 week spell of weather while the sets had not started until the end of the lovely spell.
         
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        • JWK

          JWK Gardener

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          I started my sets in late March in a heated greenhouse, packed together as close as possible in seed trays. Then planted a month later outside after hardening off for a week. By then they have a really good root system and a about 4 inches of top growth. I've used this method for a while now and does seem to get them off to a fast start - and the birds don't seem to pull them up so easily.
           
        • silu

          silu gardening easy...hmmm

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          Super will give the set jobs another go next year and do what you do.Definitely sounds a great idea, many thanks.
           
        • JWK

          JWK Gardener

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        • HarryS

          HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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          Is this Google photo a good representation of bolting ?
          I grow from Wilkos sets , planted late April , and don't think I have had a problem up to now . Had better check them when I get home !

          red-creole-onion-bolting-30mar13.jpg
           
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          • JWK

            JWK Gardener

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            Yes that's them bolting. I nip off the flower bud as soon as possible otherwise the plant puts all its energy into that and not the bulb.
             
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            • Ystalyfera

              Ystalyfera Apprentice Gardener

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              Harry5 - I also bought some onion sets from Wilkos and planted early May and a good few have bolted for me too - had to google why my onion had an onion growing on top of it (haha)!

              Whats best plan of action, I had read once bolted it wont produce an onion in the ground of any size? I cant see any flower on top yet though?
               
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              • JWK

                JWK Gardener

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