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can you save onion seeds?

1867 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  SweetSilver
So I have a onion that I missed when harvesting last yr. It came back and we just left it. It now has a "bulb" of seeds on the top. Can we save them for next year? If so how?
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Yes. Wait until the seeds are black, then gently cut off flowers and toss them in a paper bag to dry. Keep top open. Shake occasionally as the flowers dry, then remove. Slowly pour out seed into a container and store in a cool room, not the garage.

If you have no other flowering onions in your neighborhood (ornamental alliums don't count if they are not the same same species as garden onions) you stand a good chance of having your seeds grow true to the variety that was planted.

Onions take two years to get the big bulbs from seeds. Usually you grow them from "sets" which are first-year onions. To make sets, start your seed, then when large enough to handle, replant farther apart. I have no idea on the timing of this. Honestly, I grow good onion flowers, but never big onions! (Clearly I am doing something wrong, but my garden is too small to bother about tricky vegetables. I leave those to the farmers and plant kale and tomatoes and beans!)
Thanks! So this may be a silly question but the onion that has the flowers, can you still eat it or will it be soggy or not good for eating?
Yup, what she said. I'm lazy though, and once most of the seeds inside are black, I just cut off the head, shake into a bowl, and move on. I have so many onion and chive seeds from the last few years it's insane. And those are just the ones I haven't accidentally dropped on the garden bed or kitchen floor. ;) Onions will set seed the second year they grow from seed or starts. No idea on the little bulbs/starts as I haven't used those in years because they do worse for me than just lazy direct-sown onion seeds.

The root/onion won't be soggy, but several of the inside rings will be greenish (since that's where the flower stalk is coming from). I'm pretty sure you can still eat it if you want, but always check/smell things before eating. ;)

Onion size depends on the variety grown, the length of your season, and the length of your days. I can grow long-day onions up here nearish the Canadian border, but the same onions would flop down in Texas. I can get medium sized bulbs in a good growing year, and it's mostly for fun or to have a few smaller ones on hand for mid-summer cooking. I still kinda wait and get a big 25-50lb bag for super cheap at one of my u-pick farms or whatever in the fall. :D
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I wonder..... leeks are fun for self-sowing (we are zone 7). They bloom with their big, floppy, moppy flowers the honeybees love, then tip over and set their seeds in a tidy little circle. The next year, when the sprouts are big enough to handle I just replant further apart. Has anyone done this with onions?
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