Storing Onions

by Donald
(Iowa)

Can I store onions in a refrigerator for winter storage?



ANSWER:

Yes, but for long-term storage it is best to have low-humidity. Onions store best where it is dark, dry, and a cool temperature of 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Good air-circulation is also helpful to keep the onions from getting damp or moldy.

So, you can store them in a refrigerator if necessary, but they might not keep as long as they would in a location that is also cool, dark, dry, and has good air-circulation.

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Potatoes

by Ruth Johnson
(Durham, NC)

I planted some potato sprouts on my deck in a large flower pot. They have now grown up as a plant....I do not have room to add soil to these plants. Will I still be able to harvest potatoes?


ANSWER:

Yes, if all the other conditions are also right for successfully growing potatoes. You can plant seed potatoes in a hole in the ground (or in a container), or you can plant them on top of the ground and add layers of straw, soil, etc. as the plants grow.

It isn't necessary to add soil to the plants as they grow, unless you have "planted" them on top of the ground.

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Growing Mini Pop Sweet Corn in Containers?

Can mini pop sweet corn be grown in containers?



ANSWER:

I have never grown corn in containers, but I hear that it can be done.

Corn is usually planted in blocks or groups rather than single rows, as the plants pollinate each other.

If you plant corn in containers, be sure to plant a group of at least 16 plants. Don't crowd the plants; plant 4 plants per 5 gallon container.

Water every day; water is especially critical when the plants are tasseling and forming ears.

Fertilize every week or two with with a mixture of 12-15-15 fertilizer and liquid seaweed.

Some gardeners help the pollination process of their corn plants by gently shaking the tassels, or using a small brush to hand-pollinate the plants.

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Watering Advice for Potatoes?

by Diana
(Boise, Idaho)

My potatoes evidently had too much or too little water last year.


How deep should they be planted? Is it really a "hill" of potatoes, i.e., above ground in a hump? (ps. Sorry to admit: I live in IDAHO!)

ANSWER:

Potatoes can be planted on top of the ground, and covered with layers of straw or compost. This is a good way to grow potatoes if you have hard clay-like soil.

As the plant foliage grows, continue adding layers of straw, leaving the top 3-6 inches of foliage exposed. Using this method, it is possible to harvest baby potatoes without disturbing the plant.

If your soil is loose and workable, you can plant the potatoes in the ground. After the plant foliage turns brown and dies back at the end of the season, dig the potatoes from the ground. Use care, as it is easy to cut, poke, or damage the potatoes as you are harvesting them. Use any damaged potatoes immediately, as they will not store well.

Potato plants should be watered thoroughly once or twice a week during hot weather. The soil should be kept damp, but not soggy for best results.

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Onions in Garden From Last Year

I have onions in my garden from last year. Do I cut off the tops so they will grow larger or what do I do?


ANSWER:

If you cut off the tops, the onions will stop growing. You can harvest them now, or you can just leave them as they are, and wait until the tops bend over. Once the tops bend, that means that the onions are almost mature and have nearly stopped growing. When the tops turn brown and become dry, wait about two weeks and then you can harvest your fully grown onions.

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How to Prepare Seed Potatoes for Planting?

by Laura
(Lubbock TX)

If I could ask...what kind of potatoes did you use in your potato container garden? Can you explain to me the process of how you got the potatoes eyes to grow? How big should I cut the seed potatoes?

ANSWER:

Buy "seed potatoes" from your local garden center. I try to find the smallest seed potatoes so that I don't have to deal with cutting them into sections. I just plant the small whole seed
potato.

If you buy large seed potatoes, you will want to cut them into sections with one or two "eyes" in each section, let the sections dry and form a skin, and dust them with sulfur powder to help prevent rotting. Then you store the pieces in a paper bag until little sprouts start to grow out of the potato "eyes". When the sprouts are about 1/4" to 1/2" long, you can plant the potato piece in the ground.

This seems like a lot of trouble to me, when you can just by a small seed potato and plant it whole!

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Planting Onion Sets

by Mel
(Balto, Md., USA)

Do I peel the little onions first or stick them in the ground "as is"?

Answer:

Hi Mel,
You do not need to peel the onion sets before planting. Just put them in the dirt with the pointed end facing upward.

I usually cover my onion sets with just enough dirt that you can't see them. But they should be near the surface.

Good luck; hope you get lots of nice onions!

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Sugar Corn/Sweet Corn Problem

I have tried to grow sugar corn (or sweet corn) for two years. It grows well at first then has tiny partially filled ears that I'm unable to harvest. What am I doing wrong?



ANSWER:

It sounds like your corn is not getting adequately pollinated.

Corn is best planted in blocks of at least 4 rows of plants. This is because the corn plants are self-pollinated; the pollen usually being carried or dispersed by the wind.

The corn tassel (on top of the plant) releases pollen which drops onto the silk which is protruding from the top of what will become the ears of corn.

You will notice that the outer rows of corn in your garden will not be as productive as the inner rows of corn. This is because they do not receive as much pollen as the inner rows.

If you are growing a small plot of corn, it will be helpful to make sure to shake or brush some of the pollen from the corn plant tassel onto the silk that is growing from the immature corn ears. This should be done during the dry part of the day if done by hand.

You can tell when the tassel begins producing pollen by gently shaking the tassel. When you see a powdery substance falling from the tassels, that is the corn pollen.

Good luck; let me know how it turns out!

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Bulbing Onions - Trim Leaves?

by Susan
(Texas)

The leaves on my onions are reaching 2 feet tall and are toppling over. Should I trim them or leave them be?


ANSWER:

As onion tops reach maturity, they topple over. You should leave them be. When the tops turn brown and become dry, leave the onions in the ground for another 2 weeks. Then you can harvest your onions.

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Storing Onion Plants Before Planting

by Don
(PA)

I recently purchased some onion plants. However, I am not able to plant these plants for another three weeks or so.

How do I store or care for them until planting time?


ANSWER:

(Note: There are three ways to plant onions; from seeds, "sets", or plants. This question is about planting onions from plants.)

You can store the onion plants in a cool, dry location such as a garage. It is best to take them out of the box (as they might get moldy), and lay them on an old towel or newspaper.

If the plants begin to look wilted, it's ok to put the roots of the plants in water for a minute. You can do this if needed once a week during storage.

You can store them for up to a month if needed before planting.

Before planting the onion plants, you can place the roots of the plants in water for 10 minutes before planting them in the ground.

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Onion Tops

by Ron Amon
(Georgia)

My onions are really tall. When the tops bend over, should I snip them?


ANSWER

When the onion tops bend over, it means that the plants are mature, and have finished growing. You can wait another two weeks after the tops bend over before harvesting your onions.

I wouldn't snip the tops until after the onions are harvested, and the tops have completely dried.

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Fresh Manure on Potato Garden

by Bernadette Mc Fadden
(Strabane, Northern Ireland)

Have I ruined my growing potatoes after putting in fresh watered-down cow manure?


ANSWER:

Using fresh manure on your potato plants can cause them to develop scab disease and other problems as well. I don't know if this is always the result, but you will soon find out!

It's best to mix manure into the soil in the fall, and let it break down over winter before planting your potatoes.

Or you can mix well-aged or composted manure into the soil before planting.

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This Year's Onion Sets

by Glenn
(Essex UK)

Hi
Our local shop is selling off this years onion sets with 75% off original price.
If I bought some would they be ok for next year and if so how do I store them?

Thanks

Glenn

ANSWER:

Hi Glenn,
The onion sets will be fine for next year if you store them properly. They should be stored in a cool, dark, dry location.

A low-humidity compartment in your refrigerator will be a good place. If the sets are exposed to light, moisture, or high-humidity, they may sprout before you are ready to plant them.

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Harvesting Potatoes

by Susan Hall
(Kindred, Tasmania, Australia)

What would be the ideal temperature of potato tubers at digging time, to then put them in cool storage?

ANSWER:

Hi Susan,

Usually when the potato plant foliage turns brown it is best to wait two weeks before harvesting the potatoes. This allows the tubers to fully mature.

Potatoes may be harvested whenever they are mature. The temperature at time of harvest can vary.

Let the potatoes dry for several days in a shady location with good air-circulation.

The temperature can be warm or cool for this process which will allow the potato skins to season and dry before storage.

For long-term storage, after the potatoes are dry they should be stored at cool temperatures of 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit in a dark location with high humidity.

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Growing Next to Onions

by Rachelle
(Burnet Texas)

Can you grow green beans next to onions?


ANSWER:

Yes you can. It should not be a problem for either vegetable.

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How to tell if potatoes are producing?

by Bud Alexis
(North Louisiana)

I have heard that sometimes potato plants can make a bush but not potatoes.

Do I have to dig around the roots to see if they are producing?

How long does it take before they start producing a potato?

Bud

ANSWER:


Hi Bud,

It takes about 90-120 days for potatoes to start producing. Usually when the plants begin to bloom, they will also start sending out small potatoes on the roots.

If you pile some straw about half-way up the growing potato plants, this will help retain soil moisture during hot weather.

Also, when you add dirt or straw to create a mound around the potato plants, they will send out side roots that will produce additional potatoes.

Once the plants begin to bloom, you can pull some of the straw back to see how the potato tubers are growing.

This technique prevents you having to dig and disturb the roots to check on your growing potatoes.



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Growing Sweet Corn in Containers

by Julia
(Wales)

Can I grow sweet corn in pots or containers?


ANSWER:

Hi Julia,

Yes you can. But there are a few important tips to be aware of...

Corn is best planted in blocks or clumps to ensure pollination.

The pollen from the tassels must fall onto the corn silk in order for the corn to produce kernels.

Some gardeners "help" pollinate their container corn plants by gently shaking the tassels, or using a brush to ensure pollination.

Corn plants are "heavy feeders", and will need to be watered every day during warm weather, and will also need to be fertilized every week or two for best results.

Also, it's best to not plant more than 3-4 plants per 5 gallon container, as the plants won't develop properly if they are over-crowded.

Locate your pots in a sunny but sheltered area if possible to prevent wind damage to the corn plants as they grow taller.

Good luck; let me know your results if you can!

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Planting Onions

Can you plant onions in straw like you do potatoes?


ANSWER:

I have not heard of or seen onions grown using this method. I think it is necessary for onions to grow directly in the soil.

Some gardeners apply a straw mulch to their onion plants. This can be beneficial as it helps conserve moisture for the growing onion plants.

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How Long Before Potatoes Ready to Eat?

by Barbara
(Anahuac, Texas)

How long before potatoes are ready to dig up and eat?

ANSWER:

The general answer is 2-4 months. It depends on the weather, variety of potato, growing conditions, etc.

However, if you plant the potatoes on top of the ground by layering straw as the plant grows, you may be able to harvest some early baby potatoes without disturbing the rest of the plant.

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Planting Potatoes and Pumpkins

by Michelle
(Suffolk)

I have read on the internet that you should not grow potatoes and pumpkins near each other.

Please could you tell me how much space I would need to leave between the potatoes plants and pumpkins if I want to grow them near each other?

Thank you!



ANSWER:


Hi Michelle,

There is some chance that potatoes and pumpkins can spread mosiac virus to each other, if one of them carries the virus.

Just try to plant them as far apart as possible in your garden.

There is no exact minimum amount of space that will ensure a healthy crop, as it depends on wind conditions, insects, etc. that vary from garden to garden.

Hopefully neither your potatoes or your pumpkins will have any diseases that could be spread.

Be sure to look for healthy plants or certified seeds when you start your garden.

Keep your garden adequately watered and fertilized to ensure healthy stress-free plants.

Having strong healthy vegetable plants is the best way to prevent diseases from occurring or spreading.

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