April 2022 Onion Patch Newsletter
While the little flower stalk shooting out of your onion is pretty, it is something you hope to prevent. What is bolting, and why does it happen? Understanding the process can help to prevent it. We hope this month’s newsletter clears up any questions you may have about the bolting process.
Onions and other commercially cultivated alliums are biennial plants, which means that it usually takes them two growing seasons to go from seed to seed. However, this process can be altered by temperatures, transplanting or both. An onion plant’s first life begins in the seed beds. When transplanted, the onion begins its second life. Given a certain set of environmental conditions, onions can be tricked into believing they have gone through two growing cycles during their first year. Instead of finishing with a well-cured bulb, ready for the market, a seed stalk can develop prematurely, causing onions to be unmarketable. While it is impossible to control the weather, planting at the correct time for the variety in question is the most important factor to limit premature bolting. Over-fertilizing can also contribute to bolting – if onions are too vigorous, too early in their development, bolting can result. Onions bolt as a reaction to cold weather stress. Temperatures under 45F may cause the onion to bolt when the plant has five or more leaves. Some onions are more or less susceptible to bolting than others and the process is not completely understood. Once it attempts to start a growing again (its third life) and the temperatures rises, the plant believes that it is going to die, so it tries to reproduce and grows a flower. Occasionally other factors, such as excessive stress, may cause bolting, which explains why only a few plants may bolt in the entire field. Should this happen the onion is perfectly edible, but the ring associated with this leaf will rot, so it is best to eat the onion right away. Don’t bend or break the onion top; the leaf is hollow and is more than likely the center of your onion.
We have Leeks and White Onions available
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Recipe of the Month
Around the Farm
Thank you for being so supportive; we are out of season for most of our onion varieties due to the overwhelming support. We will fulfill all reserved orders; make sure to put your orders in early next year so you will have full availability of all varieties. Thank you again for supporting our Dixondale Family.