Onion Obsession

I got most of my onions seeded into a flat tonight. Three types – Copra, a hybrid yellow storage onion that I’ve grown for years. It is extremely reliable and an excellent keeper. Redwing, a red storage hybrid. This is a new one for me. I had been growing a red onion called Mars, but Fedco Seeds dropped it, I think because the seed all comes from Seminis, a Monsanto owned company. Monsanto is on Fedco’s do not buy list, which is fine by me. Monsanto is from the dark side. And lastly, Prisma, a hybrid shallot that I’ve grown before with great success. Prisma is big for a shallot and it keeps almost forever.

I have yet to start leeks and another onion seed that Fedco has backordered, a sweet onion called Expression. I’ll start those when the backorder shows up. Plus some scallions and a new for me onion called Crystal White Wax Onion which is supposed to be a direct seed into the pea bed. Those plus the perennial chives and Egyptian onions and the already started garlic make up our edible allium crop.

I do not start my onions the way most people do, which is to just scatter them into the flat or starting pot. I actually make tiny rows or furrows one centimeter wide and plant the seeds one centimeter apart. It’s a little time consuming but I like the advantage of the easy separation when its time to plant the starts and I think I get a better seed yield and more uniform plant size.

I use a calibrated T-square and a drywaller’s taping spatula to make my rows. I put the seeds into a bowl and use tweezers to pick out the little onion seeds and place them into the furrows using the centimeter marks on the T-square for a guide. Obsessive? Yes, but I almost always get an excellent onion crop, and I now have 440 Redwing, 396 Copra and 172 Prisma seeds in the flat, watered, and, with any luck, on their way to becoming part of the wonderful harvest of home grown food that we will enjoy this year.

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