Onion Classes in Shows

28th Jan 1997

Most shows these days have classes for onions eight ounces (227g) or under and are probably one of the most popular of classes as most growers don't seem to find it too difficult to stage a set. however to stage a winning set at national level, you must start some of them off now so that they have plenty of time to grow as well as allowing plenty of time to harvest them so that they are in their peak condition from around mid August onwards.

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This class was introduced some years ago so that there wouldn't be any disputes between the grower and judges when schedules used to ask for onions from sets. In such a class you could have staged onions from seed with a fairly good chance of getting away with it as most judges couldn't tell the difference between onions grown from set and those grown from seed. You can therefore today stage onions from sets or from seed in the 8 ounce and under class.

Incidentally you can usually tell if the onions have been grown from sets or seed by looking closely at the root plate. Onion sets are nothing more than onions that have been grown from seed the previous year, harvested and stored under ideal conditions so that when re planted the following Spring, they continue their growth cycle. These onions will therefore have a small hard core inside the root plate which is in effect the very small root plate from the previous years growth. Onions grown from seed and harvested when fully grown will have just the one root plate so close scrutiny makes it relatively easy to tell them apart.

A problem can arise though when the grower has removed perhaps two or three layers of skin and then cut through the protruding root plate which leaves a clean white flesh as he would naturally have trimmed above any roots. In this case it would be very difficult to tell which had been grown from set or from seed, so the above class does away with this problem.

These onions have a maximum points value of fifteen and five of those points are awarded for condition, so they must be staged at their peak as they can equally loose points for being under condition as well as being over conditioned and showing wrinkled or split skins.

This year is going to be a problem for me as the Welsh Championships and the National championships are a month apart so to have the same set of onions in peak condition for both shows will need an element of luck and as standards today are getting increasingly higher, there is no room to play about with lady luck; you have to plan ahead. This year therefore I shall have three sowings, this weekend I shall sow the recently introduced Toughball in my heated greenhouse, broadcast sown in half trays using Levington F1 seed compost. This won most of the top shows for Bill Hughes from Swansea last year, and has a beautiful globe shape with a nut brown skin colour.

The next sowing will be Juno towards the middle of this month and then towards the end of February I shall start off the onion sets Centurion in Plantpak 40s inside the greenhouse. They will, in a short space of time, need transplanting into Plantpak 15s or 3 inch pots and then into 5inch pots. From these 50% will be potted on into 7inch pots using Levington M3 and grown on inside the greenhouse throughout, the remainder will be planted under cover. I have done this over the past few years and none have gone to seed and they are always ready for staging in good condition for the August shows.

If you have a problem getting hold of any of the above varieties, they are listed in my full colour specialist vegetable seed catalogue.

 

Points that can be awarded for onions of 8 ounces (227g) or under

Condition

5 points

Size

3 points

Shape and colour

3 points

Uniformity

4 points

Total

15 points


Most shows these days have classes for onions eight ounces (227g) or under and are probably one of the most popular of classes as most growers don't seem to find it too difficult to stage a set. however to stage a winning set at national level, you must start some of them off now so that they have plenty of time to grow as well as allowing plenty of time to harvest them so that they are in their peak condition from around mid August onwards.
Other 1997 articles of interest

· Sowing Dates so that Vegetables...
· Degree of Difficulty in Growing...
· The Horticultural Show Handbook
· Potato Growing in Polythene...
· Geenhouses, Hose Pipes and...
· Artificial Lighting -...
· Pointing System in Classes of...
· Timing Blanch Leeks for...
· Aiming for Success with Celery
· Parsnips and Tomatoes for the...
· Blanch Leeks
· Long and Short Carrots -...
· Heated Greenhouses
· Chitting Parsnips and the Onion...
· Welsh Seedling Leeks

View All Articles from 1997
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Prize-winning exhibition vegetable seeds give you the advantage whether growing for show or just for the family. You can see our range of top quality selected seeds and horticultural sundries in our online shop