Red Baron is a well known and very popular mid to late maturing variety. It is extensively grown for its for its attractive 'blood red' colour. Easy to grow and an excellent cropper, it produces beautiful globe shaped, firm well flavoured bulbs. With good skins and thin necks, Red Baron is popular for over-winter storage they will keep until your new crop is ready to harvest. Maturing 24 weeks from sowing. An attractive addition in the salad bowl, they are also perfect for roasting and are of such good quality you may even be tempted to exhibit a few at your local show! This variety has been trialled tested and is recommended by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany. Onion 'Red Baron' has also been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Preparation: Choose an open, sunny site with good drainage which has preferably been dug and manured in the previous autumn. Do not plant or sow on freshly manured bed. Lime if the soil is acid. Avoid planting in an area where the previous crop was of the onion family. Many exhibitors grow their show onions in a permanent bed in order to build up fertility, but in the kitchen plot it is a much better idea to change the site annually. Apply a general fertiliser if needed and rake the surface when the soil is reasonably dry. Tread over the area and then rake again to produce a fine, even tilth.
Timing: Sow in Autumn or Late Winter to Spring Seeds can be sown direct in autumn to be harvested in 46 weeks to produce large bulbs (not advisable in very cold areas) Otherwise sow in February under cloches or direct March to April and harvest in 24 weeks. In cold areas and for exhibition bulbs sow under glass in January, harden off in March and transplant outdoors in April.
Sowing: Sow very thinly in 1.2cm (½in) deep drills, leaving about 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12in) between rows. Water very gently if the soil is dry, and cover with soil. When large enough to handle, thin the crop in two stages. Close spacing will give smaller onions than wider spacings. Lift the seedlings carefully – the soil should be moist and all thinnings removed to deter onion fly. (They may be used as spring onions)
Thin spring-sown seedlings first to 2.5cm (1in) then when the seedlings have straightened up to 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4in) apart. Thin autumn sown onion seedlings to about 2.5cm (1 inch) in the autumn. Further thin to about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) between plants in the Spring. Seedlings raised under glass should be transplanted 4in (10cm) apart, leaving 9in (23cm) between the rows. The roots must fall vertically in the planting hole and the bulb base should be about 1cm (½in) below the surface. Plant firmly.
Cultivation: Hoe carefully or weed by hand – dense weed growth will seriously affect yield. Water if the weather is dry (not otherwise) and feed occasionally. Feed an autumn-sown crop in March. Mulching is useful for cutting down the need for water and for suppressing weeds. Break off any flower stems which appear. Stop watering once the onions have swollen and pull back the covering earth or mulch to expose the bulb surface to the sun.
Harvesting: When the bulb is mature the foliage turns yellow and topples over. (Some gardeners bend over the tops as the leaves start to yellow). Leave them for about 2 weeks and then carefully lift with a fork on a dry day.
Storing: Inspect the bulbs carefully – all damaged, soft, spotted and thick-necked onions should be set aside for kitchen use or freezing. The rest can be stored. The onions which are not for immediate use must be thoroughly dried. Spread out the bulbs on sacking or in trays – outdoors if the weather is warm and sunny. Drying will take 7 to 21 days, depending on the size of the bulbs and the air temperature.. Store in trays, net bags, tights or tie to a length of cord as onion ropes. Choose a cool and well-lit place; they will keep until late spring
Nomenclature: Prior to Linnaean taxonomy the Onion family was spread over four genera. The bulb Onion, Shallot and Welsh Onion were found in the Cepa genera. Garlic was placed in the Allium genera, Leeks were listed as Porrum and the Chive was classed as Schoenoprasum, its current species name. The genus name, Allium comes from the Celtic "All," meaning pungent, the species name, cepa, is from the Roman "cepae," or onion. The common name onion seems to come from the Latin "Unio," or one, signifying that the bulb is of one unit.
The Red Baron: Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (1892 to 1918), widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) during World War I. He is considered the ace-of-aces of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories, more than any other pilot. Richthofen was a Freiherr (literally "Free Lord"), a title of nobility often translated as Baron. This title, combined with the fact that he painted his aircraft red, led to Richthofen being called "The Red Baron" or "der Rote Baron" in Germany. During his lifetime, however, he was more often described in German as Der Rote Kampfflieger (variously translated as The Red Battle Flyer or The Red Fighter Pilot). Richthofen's other nicknames include "Le Diable Rouge" ("Red Devil") or "Le petit Rouge" ("Little Red") in French, and the "Red Knight" in English. Though several other flyers had painted different sections of their planes special colours, Richthofen noticed that it was difficult to see these during a battle. To get noticed, from the ground and from the air, Richthofen decided to paint his plane bright red. Ever since Boelcke had painted the nose of his plane red, the colour had been associated with his squadron. However, no one had yet been so ostentatious as to paint their entire plane such a bright colour. One day, for no particular reason, I got the idea to paint my crate glaring red. After that, absolutely everyone knew my red bird. If fact, even my opponents were not completely unaware. Richtofen was shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France in an all-red Fokker Dr.1 on April 21, 1918. The Fokker Dr.1 Triplane, the most famous airplane of World War One. Developed by Anthony Fokker one of the first ones was assigned to Richtofen. Later, he flew one that had the camouflage green wash but had the upper wing, nose, wheels and tail painted red. Richtofen flew several Dr-1s issued to his Jadgstaffel. The Fokker triplane that Anthony Fokker first gave him, he lent to a friend Curt Wolff, who was killed in it during combat with Sopwith Camels. In the beginning of 1918, Germany held their trials for new aircraft designs for government contracts. One of these was the Fokker D VII and Richtofen was asked to fly it and give his recommendations. He liked the plane and help win the contract for Anthony Fokker, but he didn't live to fly it in combat. Richtofen would be dead by the time the production model was made available.
The Sopwith Camel: Snoopy is one of the most recognisable Peanuts characters. One of Snoopy's most famous alter-egos is as the World War I Flying Ace, first seen in 1965 he often seen battling his arch-enemy, Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. When assuming this personality, Snoopy would don goggles, a flying helmet and a scarf and climb on top of his doghouse, which he claimed was a Sopwith Camel. A successor to the Sopwith Pup, the Sopwith Aviation Company produced the famous Sopwith F.1 Camel, which accounted for more victories than any other aircraft in World War I. The Sopwith Camel was a high strung animal, difficult and dangerous to fly. Deadly in the hands of a novice, many a student was killed while learning to fly the Camel, but in the hands of a skilled pilot, able to take advantage of its temperamental flying characteristics, it was an extreme dog-fighter that could out maneuver any contemporary airplane with the possible exception of the Fokker Dr.1 Triplane. Credited with destroying at least 1,200 enemy aircraft, the Sopwith Camel rightly deserves to be called one of the best fighter planes of all time.
|Average Seed Count||200 Seeds|
|Common Name||Mid to Late Variety, Red Bulbing Onion|
|Other Common Names||Exhibition variety.|
|Natural Flower Time||No|
|Spacing||Thin to about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches)|
|Time to Harvest||Autumn-sown - 46 weeks, Spring-sown - 24 Weeks|
|Position||Choose an open, sunny site with good drainage which has preferably been dug and manured in the previous autumn.|
|Harvest||Yield from a 10 ft row: 4kg (8lb).|
|Time to Sow||Sow in autumn or late winter to spring|
|Notes||Viability for correctly stored seed: 1 to 2 years.|