2014 Giant Onion Growing Attempt
This years annual attempt at trying to grow a 10 pound onion.
Plus my regular exhibition show onion growing.
Here we go again, the annual exhibition onion growing diary plus my attempt at finally growing a ten
pound giant onion, last year I came close with 9lb 10. Let's see what this year brings.
I've got another T5 growlight to start the big onions off under this year.
So I' have more room than last year, and hopefully the plants won't be as crowded.
This year I managed to get some seed from Peter Glazebrook.
These were sowed in a seed tray and kept at 70F.
Success !!, a week after sowing and it seems that almost all have germinated.
I'll keep these at 70f until they all germinate and then once they are at the "crook" stage they will be pricked out into 3" pots of F2+S compost with a bit of vermiculite added.
Well, 2 weeks after sowing the onion seedlings are ready to transplant into 3" pots.
They are now at what's known as the "crook" stage where the seedling is at a right angle.
This is ideal for transplanting as the roots haven't developed much so there won't be any disturbance.
I planted them into a mixture of Levingtons F2+S with some vermiculate and a bit of seaweed meal added.
These are now under my small growlight for 12 hours a day at a minimum of 50f and a max of hopefully 65F.
I did a video of the process below, Click to play.
Well, Boxing Day and a good excuse to get out of the house and burn a bit of the Christmas Dinner off.
The main onion bed in the polytunnel needed digging over and manuring.
This year I decided to double dig it and add some well rotted horse muck deep down in the bottom 2 feet of soil.
This is pretty hard work and takes a while but really improves the soil to a greater depth.
Simply take out a trench about a foot deep at the start of the bed and keep the soil separate, then add a good layer of muck into the bottom and fork into the lower foot of soil, then fill in the trench with the next row of soil and repeat the process the whole length of the bed.
Once you get to the end use the first row of soil dug to fill in the final trench.
As well as being called "Double Digging", this is called "Bastard Trenching" for good reason !
So after the double digging I then added another layer of horse muck onto the surface and dug this into the top foot of soil.
After levelling it out I should have a good 2 feet of soil now well manured.
I'll give this a good watering, leave it until the start of March and then give it a good rotovating ready for planting in April.
I sowed the seed for the Onions that will be planted in this bed on December 18th and they've really germinated well and are almost ready to prick out into 3 inch pots.
These are the Exhibition Own strain Kelsae onions that I show and will hopefully get to around 4-5 lbs by mid August.
This is my own seed I harvested this year from the 2012 onions, so hopefully it should be good stuff.
About another 3-4 days when the seedlings start to straighten out is ideal for transplanting.
Over on the Giant onion front, the seedlings I planted out earlier have all taken well and some now have 4 leaves on and no problems as of yet.
That's about it at the moment.
Did a video of me sowing the Exhibition onions earlier, click below to play, Cheers.
A bit of an update on the onion front.
This is how it looks at the moment, things seem to be going well.
The Own strain Kelsae plants that were sowed just before Christmas are all now with about 3 leaves on in their 3" pots.
The lights are close to the tips but just out of reach to stop any scorching.
The giant onions from Peter Glazebrooks seed have now been potted into 1.5 litre pots and have 4-5 decent leaves on.
I potted them into a new soil mix of 3 parts levingtons F2 : 2 parts John Innes to 1 part Perlite with a bit of calcified seaweed added.
This is to get them used to a more soil based compost before planting out into the tunnel in April.
Did a video of the progress below, click to play.
The giant onion plants are now about 18" tall with 6-7 leaves on and still growing away well.
I've just repotted the strongest 38 exhibition plants into 1.5 litre pots as these have 5 leaves on and a decent root structure but were in need of a bigger pot.
So, all in all things are going OK, no problems so far and in about 7 weeks they'll be planted in the polytunnel.
Did a video of their progress and the repotting below, click to play, cheers.
As you can see things are flying along.
A bit too quickly really.
With another month at least until I plant out I'm having a job keeping the lights above the tips resulting in a bit of tip burn.
Started to prepare the onion beds in the polytunnel and did a video of me using my new little electric £60 tiller.
Click to play.
Final update before planting out time in early April / late March in the polytunnel.
Things still growing very well.
Did a quick video tour of the plants below, click to play, cheers.
Decided to mix the growing media for the Giant onions in their 60 litre pots.
Did a quick video explaining exactly what goes into it including the fertilizers and other bits & pieces.
Click below to play.
Well, after 4 months of growing under lights the onions are all planted in the polytunnel.
30 Kelsaes, 20 in one bed and 10 in another.
10 of the Giants in pots from 40 - 60 litres.
So that's it, all done.
Did a video of the planting process, click to play.
Just a quick belated update.
So far so good.
The Kelsaes haven't had any problems so far.
I'm watering them at a rate of 50 litres every 5 days for the whole bed of 20 plants.
The giants are growing well too, this is the biggest of the 10 but all are about the same size.
A fortnight on and things are growing quickly.
These are some of the giant ones in the 65 litre pots.
The Kelsae show ones are doing well so far too.
And the biggest of the big ones.
Another update and things still growing well.
The Kelsaes just starting to bulb up now.
So too the Big 'uns.
A fortnight on and they are really starting to bulb up now.
The Kelsaes are still growing well.
And so is Mr Big.
Kelsaes bulbing up nicely.
As is mr Big.
Harvested all the onions this week.
Quite a few in the 4.5 lb range but I have pink root disease in my onion beds now so this reduces the size significantly.
I think in the next month once they dry, ripen and the necks shrivel I should be able to make a few decent sets for the shows.
I did a video of the harvest and what I do to prepare them below, click to play.
Show onions ripening and drying nicely so far.
2 weeks to go until my first show and a few days longer until Harrogate.
Harvested the giant onion as it had stopped growing.
Did a video of the weigh in below, did I finally get to 10 pounds ?
Harrogate Show Sept 2014.
I went to the Harrogate show with the set of 6 exhibition onions not hoping for much in the National Onion Championships.
I ended up with 6th place which I was very happy with.