I had one go and one go only at growing conventional brown onions. While I think it was reasonably successful (so long ago, I don’t really remember), I gave up the idea because, a) I don’t use a lot and b) I don’t have the room, or at least I would rather use what room I have to grow more of what I use a lot and like.
I took to growing leeks instead. They take up less room (vertical growth, so can be grown closer together) and can be picked and used at any stage from spring onion size to baseball bat. They’re easy to grow from seed which germinates quickly and you don’t have to worry about day length varieties as you do with onions (and they don’t make you so tearful when you cut them). I usually plant seed in spring and transfer to small pots for growing on, before planting out when the cooler weather arrives. Here’s my current batch of leek seedlings waiting for planting time :
Getting back back to onions, I found seed of this variety, Rossa Lunga di Firenze and thought I’d give them a go because they looked pretty :
I sowed them in a large pot filled with chook poo compost, in late July and they took 20 days to germinate. I intended to thin them out, but as usual, didn’t get around to it, and now they look a bit of a mess :
But they are starting to bulb out so I’m thinning by picking :
They’re OK fried but I’m using them as a salad onion. The flavour is mild, but I’m not into strong onion flavour anyway. I’ll definitely be growing these again, with a little more care in thinning out next time, although come to think of it, since they don’t start forming bulbs till much later, it would be possible to grow them as I do leeks….. sow, then pot into small tubes and plant at the required spacing. No worries remembering to thin. Yup, that’s what I’ll try next time.