October begins onion planting time, and I just put in some Walla Walla seedlings. Next week I’m going to sow Ringmaster seeds. These are “long-day” varieties, meaning they are said to be best adapted to northern latitudes, places that have long summer days, places like Walla Walla, Washington. In other words, I’m planting the wrong types of onions, on purpose, for the second time.
Last year, in a moment of rebellion or in the spirit of scientific inquiry (I don’t remember which), I decided to deliberately flout expert advice and attempt to grow the long-day variety Ringmaster, and just the other day we cooked up our last giant Ringmaster bulb. They grew very well — perfectly, I’d even say. So this year I’m trying another round to see if it was a fluke.
I will also plant Texas Grano onions, which is a short-day variety and is the recommended type for Southern California. It has produced well for me too, for many years in a row now. Texas Grano is a sure bet; Ringmaster and Walla Walla are somewhat experimental.
UPDATE, July 2016:
Looks like it wasn’t a fluke. Both of the long-day varieties, Ringmaster and Walla Walla, produced excellent bulbs, once again. Their production was just as good as the short-day Texas Granos. The only difference between the long-day varieties and the Texas Granos was that the Texas Granos were ready for harvest earlier, in June, but the long-day varieties weren’t ready until July.
I’m now of the opinion that every variety of onion is worth trying here in Southern California, regardless of whether a seed company, nursery label, or book calls it short, medium, or long day.