Category Archives: Gardening

Summary of growing onions in San Francisco 2017 – Ailsa Craig onion

Ailsa Craig onion in fabric pot
Ailsa Craig onion in fabric pot

For a history of this story, please see the previous post on planning.

Overall growing onions in the fabric pots was fairly successful.

There was one very obvious issue though: the major temperature swings in San Francisco this summer caused many of the onions to bolt much too prematurely. Some days it was roasting hot and the next it was foggy and freezing again. This unpredictable weather made them panic and go into survival mode rather than continue growing the bulb. Once they started bolting there was no way to stop that process. I naively chopped some of the seed heads off thinking that would stop the process, but the stem just keeps growing bigger as if it still had a purpose.

The sizing of the fabric pots worked quite well. The onions that didn’t bolt grew to nearly the size of the container.  I think I started the long day onions a few months too early and that kept the size down a little. Next year I will start them in January.

The largest one I grew came in at 516 grams (1.1 lbs), and there were a couple others of a similar size. The Ailsa Craig’s can get up to 1 kilo, so these were on the low end of the good range.

I am letting a couple of the onions that bolted go through flowering  so I can collect the seeds and use them next year. They are quite beautiful.

Ailsa Craig onion weighs in at 516 grams (1.1 1b)
Ailsa Craig onion weighs in at 516 grams (1.1 1b)

Gabriella F1 Onion

I started this onion from seed in November and harvested them in June (210 days). It’s a short-day onion, grows from 3-4.5″ in diameter. I grew them in my hand made grow pots custom sized for them. They worked quite well. From this variety I got 5 full sized, 4 medium sized, and 1 runt.

Given that I live in a long day onion zone, but can grow year-round, this year I will start the short-day seeds in September, and try multiple short-day varieties, and start my long-day seeds in January.

Can’t wait to see what happens with the long day onions.

Gaviota – Favorite Kratky Hydroponic Lettuce

Mature Gaviota Lettuce grown in Kratky Method Hydroponics
Mature Gaviota Lettuce grown in Kratky Method Hydroponics
I’ve tried quite a few different lettuces using the Kratky Method, growing them in individual containers, and Gaviota is by far my favorite. Not only does it grow well in the nutrient solution, but it grows fast. The leaves are perfect for salads. If you just rip the end off of it, it breaks down into perfect bite-size pieces. If you were to cut the entire head off at a certain point, all the leaves come apart. No chopping, no fuss, just a single cut. Starting at 3-4 weeks it’s great for cut & come again harvesting. I like to harvest 1/4-1/3 of a plant and put it in water in a bowl in the fridge and overnight it becomes even more crisp.