Short Day Bulb Onion Project Mississippi

Hey group,

I am developing a strong interest in short day bulb onions or the possibility of day neutral bulb onions. I am curious to know who else is interested in this crop or who else is already doing a project on it.

Please feel free to share here.

Also, I’ve read about the possibility of day neutral bulb onions not influenced by day length. I’ve also read other sources saying it’s just a synonym for intermediate day types, which are influenced by day length like other bulb onions. I’d actually prefer to grow bulb onions that just bulb up regardless of the time of year.


I’m interested in this crop, and would find a short day/day neutral useful since we livein NE US. DH and I were just discussing the amount of onions we should plant for our needs. New to the crop though, so I’m interested to hear more of what you’re looking for.

I’ve currently got 9 varieties of short day bulb onion packets and 2 varieties of day neutral.

My goals are to do variety trials this spring to summer. If I notice a couple varieties are superior, I will focus on them moving forward.

I will then do a full test with cross pollination efforts starting with a fall direct seed with 2025 seed harvest.

Onions are one of the top vegetables my family buys. I figure I need to start growing and breeding them. My goals are to produce big bulbs that taste good without using inputs. I would like shelf life too but is a lower priority.

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Daylight Hours.pdf (84.4 KB)

I have attached a PDF of the daylight hours where I live. It is broken down by the month and week.

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My success rate with onions is pathetic. 1015s and granos should be top notch, since I’m at about the same latitude. Alas, in 3 years, I’ve never had one get bigger than a golf ball. This year I didn’t plant any and just put out more greens.

I’ll still follow along with interest. For now all I plant is green onions: potato, bunching, Egyptian walking, etc. Its all low maintenance and just go out and snip a bit from each plant to bring inside and use leaving them in the ground to continue growing.

Who knows maybe one day I’ll get good at bulbing.

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So you are going to grow them from October to March?

We also buy a lot of onions, and this year I grew a lot of them. Only the ones that I grew in summer made bulbs, all of the others were very stunted, they did not grow at all, very small, even when watering them. They are still planted maybe in spring they will revitalize or we will eat them small.

I planted those 20 seeds x 12 varieties in a small experimental section of a bed. I planted 1 variety per row and marked each row with a stick in the ground.

Those were planted on 2-3-2024. This is my variety trial for size, taste, and storage.

The long term plan is to produce a tasty, large bulbing onion grex that bulbs out regardless of day length.

I am also trying to use caveman level simplicity. All of my notes are on this topic for me to track the differences in varieties. If the 7th row has the only big bulbs, I can follow the image above to determine the name of it.

I get 10 to 14 hours of day length depending on the month. That goes from the short end of short day range to the short side of long day range.

If I want to get really serious about day length, I might have to leap into the 21 century and pull out some grow lights.

Hopefully I will see differences in these varieties when it comes to size. I will report everything here. So we can turn you back into an onion grower.

These are the same varieties I am testing. But in this litter box, I have mixed them all up. I will pull these apart and transplant them out in the garden in maybe a month.

I had planted some short day bulb onions and leeks during the early fall last year. The images above are my selection.

I pruned them, top and bottom - just because I think it will help. I have no idea really. I’ve never tried it the other way before.

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They were originally scattered across the bed with the trellis. I had planted many more seeds. Many didn’t do well. I needed to consolidate these down to make room to plant something else. Also, this close spacing should significantly increase cross pollination if these make it that far.

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I’ve just realized I need to bury the stem right above the line where the yellow, white or red part connects to the green stem. The coloration is where the bulb forms. Since I don’t really know that much about what I am doing, I have to take a step back and make sure I don’t make these rookie mistakes.

I am about to put more dirt there.

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I bought these hybrid short day bulb onions from a coop in Alabama. They had them labeled, which is unusual from what I’ve seen so far. Since they were labeled, it was enticing for me to buy them.

I will plant these in 3 separate rows, close to each other and close to each row. I will also separate each kind by their diameter, planting the larger diameter together and smaller diameter together. I suspect the larger diameter ones will produce flowers this year. I will inspect the flowers for male parts and rub them against a q-tip to see if pollen is produced.

This is where I planted my short day onion trial seed, I had grown ground cherries last year in this same place. I have already weeded the ground cherries twice already. I am about to weed the ground cherries for a third time. For anyone who is thinking about planting something else where ground cherries previously grew, take this as a free lesson. You may want to wait until the ground cherry volunteers are done germinating so you can weed efficiently first before planting something else.