They are all topsets no matter what their size. Each variety of the red ones differ mainly in the color or size. I have one which produces topsets up to an inch wide and the topsets have a silvery-blue cast to them. Two red ones differ only in the number of topsets produced with Catawissa producing up to 3 tiers. A third is somewhere in between but differences are enough to show that it is neither Catawissa or Red Egyptian.
Thanks guys for your complements ;D, ;D i'm rather proud of how line of tree onions have turned out after 20 years of selection,they certainly are now double the size from when i first started growing them.
Joseph- the bulbils are sold through the Koanga website of which they take 10 kgs per season
Up to a few days ago i would have thought there was only one type of tree onion,thats why i asked the question to James when i saw his photo,i thought 'mine look so so different to those' ,but now i realize there's more than a few different types ,there's Catawissa that produces small bulblils on the end of the stalks in the second year of the plant's growth,then there's mine that produce them its in the first season and then there's templetons line that doesn't produce bottom onions at all....interesting!! So this now raises many questions - are my bulbils dividing up soon after planting because ive selected them to grow a 12 month growing season period?? or they've changed because for many years ive normally marked the first bulbils that send up shoots and then at harvest time if they meet all the requirement i'm after the biggest bulbils are then replanted straight away,or is this just a variation in type??. I can now see myself doing a bit of experimenting to (1) - leave a clump to see what it does (2) - plant bulbils late autumn and again in spring and (3) - getting some bulbils over to a few of you guys and see how they produce in other parts of the world,templeton- i dont think oz customs will be too happy if i try and send some,but is it worth a go??......anyone keen???
Thanks for the offer Richard, but not at the moment. Tho martin's link to potato onion seed on another thread is most interesting! I'm allowed to import most allium seed, but it has to be from a commercial nursery, not home collected - drat! T
RichardW: Very Nice! How are you marketing the topsets? What is their culinary/agricultural use? I can't sell topsets for nothing. But I sell as many Egyptian onion scallions as I can take to market.
They have found at Koanga that mine grown side by side next to Geralds bulbils grow larger so thats why they sell mine separate to his,on the link below its says to plant shortest day which is not how i do it by planting them 5 months earlier,ive told them that its not the best way to grow them ...but,oh well www.koanga.org.nz/shop/backorders/onion-egyptian-tree-onions-richard-watson
So I'm trying to induce flowering and seed set, by removing the bulbils - the results so far.
Richard, I'm envious of those bulbs on yours. So big! T
If you have enough flowers, try also crossing them to regular onions and to buching onions (A. fistulosum). If possible, both ways as it seems that cepa x fistulosum crosses are not very fertile when fistulosum is the mother.
Been busy on other projects, but it seems the flowers are infertile - will have a good look today. T
Yes i had a close look at there flowers a few seasons ago and i though they only appeared to have under developed male stamans,i was checking the flowers on the tree onions because i had a strange flower head appear in my California Red onion seed crop and someone had suggested that the two had crossed
I s[ent this morning out in the vege patch, rolling bulbils out of flower heads on my topsets. I'm pretty sure all mine are from the same line, which I've been growing out for a decade or so. (I was given some red ones a few years ago, but I think they got eaten, and have disappeared from the garden.)
I've just got a big bed full of these, but there is considerable variation, some are setting relatively dense flower heads, others have sparse flowers intermingled with poorly formed bulbils, and others seem to only be setting bulbils. A quick comparison a few minutes observation showed that the appear to have complete flowers, but sparse anthers, and I couldn't see any anthers sheding pollen. A comparison with the bunching onions in full flower next to them showed only a few anthers at any time were sheding pollen - most were either already withered, ar not yet sheding. The honey bees were after the nectar, not harvesting pollen. The bees were also not visiting the topsets - probably not enough flower action to make it worth the visit.
I tried some pollen transfer from the bunching to the topsets, using a very small soft watercolour brush, but there isn't much pollen coming from these flowers - very hard to see any on the brush.
As a strategy, would harvesting some bunching onion flower stalks, putting in jar of water and intertwining them through sparse flower heads of the topsets work, do you think? Might give it a go this arvo. T
With two months before i normally harvest my tree onion crop ive noticed that a few clumps that have the largest of the bottom onions tend to have very small or no top bulbils,this is something ive not seen before in this line,still,a good sign to see onions of this size even though there bulbils are of no use in selection
Last Edit: Dec 30, 2012 23:47:49 GMT -5 by richardw
Richard, they look like Kelly Winterton's potato onions (google him) - particularly with the flower scape on yours extending from the bottom of the clump, rather than from the middle of the bulb, which is what all mine do.
I've noticed the biggest bulbils I've ever seen on mine this christmas - not sure if this is because I've left them sitting in the one spot for a few seasons (since they are so easy to grow, they are often moved around into spare beds as i do my rotations). Or on reflection, it might be because i removed bulbils to try and induce flowering (which has produced some seeds by the way). less bulbils, more energy per bulbil. Perhaps you guys growing them commercially could get a jump by going round and picking out all but one bulbil per cluster to induce bigger starts? Worth a try? Or too much trouble?
On the seed front, I've got 4 seeds from one seed head, and have bagged another half dozen or so.
And I managed to source some of Kelly Wintertons potato onion seed, so lots of experimenting to come. T