Our 2022 garden: starting bulb onion seeds

I needed some garden therapy today, so I got some onion seeds started.

We have seeds for 3 types of bulb onions, 1 of shallots and 1 of bunching onions. Today, I focused on the bulb onions.

Last year, we planted our alliums in Jiffy Pellets, repurposed K-cups and cardboard flats from eggs (don’t use those. They suck. Literally. The cardboard sucked all the moisture out of the growing medium!) before finally using doubled Red Solo cups to try and make up for losses.

This year, we’re doing things very differently. I’m going to try bulk sowing. Here are a couple of videos about that.

This next video shows the transplanting.

Obviously, we are in a much colder zone than he is, so I’m adjusting accordingly.

We already had our small aquarium greenhouse prepped. The first thing I needed to do was see how many seeds we had of each type.

The Red of Florence had the most seeds in its packet. The grey seeds from Veseys are Oneida, a yellow onion. The fewest are the rarer Tropeana Lunga which, like the Red of Florence, are an elongated red onion.

We are using re-purposed trays from the grocery store this year. The smaller ones were from mushrooms. I think the big one was from ground beef. We’ve had it for a while, so I can’t quite remember.

They got a good cleaning, and drainage holes were punched into the bottoms, then they were set into a baking pan.

They were filled with pre-moistened seed starting mix; I just dumped the remains of a bag into my largest mixing bowl and mixed in warmish water until it was evenly damp. Onions don’t need things as warm as other seeds, so no heat mat needed, but our house is on the cold side. I figured slightly warmer water would not go amiss.

The seed starting mix was pressed down just enough to make sure there would be no air pockets.

Then it was time to scatter the seeds.

Gosh, it feels so weird to sow them this densely!

I like that the grey seeds of the Oneida are so nice and visible. 🙂

The seeds got a very fine misting at this point.

Then they were topped with about a quarter inch of seed starting mix, again gently pressing to get rid of air gaps. The tops got another misting, and water was added to the baking tray and left to be absorbed, while I cleaned up.

Finally, they went into the small aquarium greenhouse. The three trays fit perfectly in the oven liner tray folded into the bottom. More water was added to the oven liner tray, to water from below.

This tank has aluminum foil around the sides because the light we have for the tank is not as bright as on the big tank, and all that reflective light will help keep them from getting leggy. At least, that’s the theory!

This leaves the shallots to start next. Their days to maturity is a bit shorter than for the bulb onions. The Red Baron bunching onions need only 60-65 days to maturity, so they can be started much later.

I’m not sure how we’re going to be able to work it with the shallots, as far as space in the aquarium greenhouses goes. We’ve got some time to figure it out before they need to be started, but not much.

As for the other seeds we have in the big aquarium greenhouse, they seem to be doing fine, so far. Nothing has germinated yet, of course, so it’s too early to tell if the heat mat is making a difference. We just keep checking and adding water to the tray and misting the tops, as needed. The tray over the mat has been needing refills regularly, but today is the first time I added more water to the outer cups of the Wonderberry.

We need to get the rest of those Cup of Moldova tomato seeds started, since we want to grow a lot more of the paste tomatoes. I’ll likely start those using the doubled Red Solo cups, though we’d have to find a cat safe place to move the aloe vera pots, to make room for more seed starts. Which is a shame, because they are doing so well under the lights of the tank! So are my daughter’s orchids, one of which is blooming very enthusiastically right now, but we should be able to leave those in the tank until it gets warm enough to safely hand them in front of a window again. The aloe, however… the cats just love digging them up! 😦

Ah, well. We’ll figure it out. The main thing is that the bulb onions are started.

Plus, garden therapy was done its job. I’m feeling much more positive, now. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

One thought on “Our 2022 garden: starting bulb onion seeds

  1. Pingback: Our 2022 garden: sprouting onions, and can spring get here already? Please? | The Re-Farmer

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