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Saturday, 7 March 2015

Planting some Garden Onions, Allium cepa

 Garden Onion Allium cea -
Two red onions and a regular onion

During February while browsing through the selection of bulbs, seeds, seedlings and shoots I came across some packets of onion bulbs. They only had the red and brown varieties but since I tend to use red onions in my salads I picked up a bag of Red Baron seed bulbs.Since it was still cold outside and we'd had hail and generally typical winter weather I thought it best not to plant anything outside. Given the limited room in my bedroom I decided that to give the onions a head start I could try planting them in a cell tray and then transplant them later. That way by the time they had some leaves and a nice healthy set of roots I could transplant them into a bigger container and then put them outside on the roof. By then the weather should be more clement.

Garden Onion Allium cepa
The other thing was that I wanted to try out this mycorrhizal fungi preparation which is supposed to help the plants' growth by developing a secondary set of roots. In a nut shell mycorrhizal fungi have a symbiotic relationship with their hosts. In essence it improved the ability of their hosts to extract nutrients from the soil.
The whole topic is quite fascinating so I will be doing at least one post dedicated to discussing these fascinating organisms and their relationship with plants. That is aside from the other posts I have planned on fungi. So keep an eye out for these.
Garden Onion Allium cepa

A few weeks after I planted the bulbs in the seed tray most had sprouted leaves and when I pulled one up to check its roots I was pleased to discover that it had a nice set. I ended up potting that in a small pot all by itself. Then a few weeks later I got some planting troughs and transplanted the rest. I filled two planting troughs with ten (10) each and popped them out onto the roof.
Onions are in the two plastic terracotta pots on the right.

The handful left got distributed into other pots with other plants which will make things interesting considering I did not keep tabs which post they went into other than that they were mainly with other bulbs. I still have some more bulbs left and have been trying to decide if I should plant them too or at least pop them into a cell tray to at least get them started while I figure out what to do with them or where to put them because at the end of the day what am I going to do with thirty plus onions come harvest time?

Genus Name: Allium cepa
Common names: Onion, Garden onion (English);  (Danish);  (Dutch);  (German);  (French);  (Italian);  (Spanish);(Samoan);

Taxonomic hierarchy: 

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae – Green plants
Infrakingdom: Streptophyta – Land plants
Superdivision: Embryophytea – 
Division: Tracheophyta – Vascular plants, tracheophytes
Subdivision: Spermatophytina – Spermatophytes (seed plants)
Infradivision: Angiospermae – Angiosperms (flowering plants)
Class: Magnoliopsida – Diocotyledons
Superorder: Lilianae – Monocots, monocotyledons
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae – 
Subfamily: Lilioideae – 
Tribe: Amaryllidioeae – 
Genus: Allium – 
Species: Allium cepa

  • I am using the taxonomical classification system used by ITIS (Intergrated Taxonomic Information System). I have decided to use this system in order to avoid confusion as well as because it offers a comprehensive hierarchy from kingdom right through to subspecies whereas other sources only go as far as order or  provide the names of some of the higher taxonomical ranks but only indicate "unclassified" rather than providing the rank.
  • When and where possible I will endeavour to include alternatives classifications although  I may limit this to occasions where an opportunity arises to discuss the reason for the different classifications.
  • Taxonomical data used in this post was retrieved [February 26 2015], from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database,



  • Gianinazzi-Pearson, Vivienne "Plant cell responses to Arbuscular Mycorrhzial Fungi: getting to the roots of the symbiosis" in The Plant Cel, Vol 8, 1887-1883, October 1996. American Society of Plant Physiologists. P




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· Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters):
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