We used our transplanter that plants 2 rows at once which required 4 people: a tractor driver, two people sitting on the transplanter putting plants in the carousel, and one walking behind fixing plants and carrying additional trays to the tractor. Although it went much faster than transplanting by hand, we were required to fix quite a few plants that didn’t get set properly This is normal for onions using our transplanter. I think if we had a water wheel transplanter it would be fine because one is placing the plants in the dirt with your hand; however, our transplanter drops the plant down from the carousel into the dirt. It uses gravity for dropping the plant down to the ground with us hoping if falls upright meaning that the roots fall into the dirt and the foliage remains above the dirt. Onions don’t have much weight in the form of roots or top growth for the plants to drop down upright which is why we had to fix so many!
After planting each 300 foot bed, all of us walk through the field fixing any plants that were burried alive by the transplanter, or not burried deep enough that the roots are still visible, and filling in spaces where plants are missing. All the while fixing plants, talking of the gorgeous onions harvested in years gone by, making it a mouth watering experience! A few years ago the average weight for each of our “Candy” onions was 1.5 lbs! They were beautiful and we hope to once again harvest onions of that size. Last year we had a crop failure because of too much rain while they were maturing.
Who knows what this season will bring as far as our onion yield. That is the thing with farming; you plant something then hope for the best, never knowing how it will turn out until the end. We are once again praying to harvest some good tasty “Candy” onions and they don’t necessarily need an average weight of 1.5 lbs for us to be happy!