Onion ‘Stuttgart’ is a late-season variety, originating in the Netherlands where it is called ‘Stuttgarter Riesen’, it can also be found as 'Giant Stuttgart' in the UK and Ireland and 'Stoccarde' in Italy and France. This well-known heirloom variety is traditionally the most popular variety for the home gardener.
Chefs love this onion, the bulbs are large and beautifully round and weigh around 60 to 70 grams. Round with a slightly flattened shape, the skins dry to a vibrant golden-bronze colour. They are deliciously crisp, juicy and sweet with a fine mild flavour, perfect for fresh consumption for marinating and for recipes.
Stuttgart is considered a very good keeper and is suitable for long-term storage, from an August harvest, they will store well throughout winter until spring. They are ready for harvesting in 130 to 145 days, when the bulbs start to fatten up, you can begin harvesting individual onions as needed.
In late summer to early autumn, the leaves on your onion plants will start to flop over. This happens at the ‘neck’ of the onion and it signals that the plant has stopped growing and is ready for storage. All the remaining onions should be harvested soon thereafter.
- Organic Seed.
This seed has been organically produced. The seed has been harvested from plants that have themselves been grown to recognised organic standards, without the use of chemicals. No treatments have been used, either before or after harvest and the seed is supplied in its natural state. It has been is certified and is labelled with the Organic symbol.
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 22 weeks. In cold areas and for exhibition bulbs sow under glass in December to January, harden off in March and transplant outdoors in April.
Sow very thinly in 12mm (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 25mm (1in) then when the seedlings have straightened up to 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4in) apart. Thin autumn sown onion seedlings to about 25mm (1in) in the autumn. Further thin to about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4in) 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 12mm (½in) below the surface. Plant firmly.
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.
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 two weeks and then carefully lift with a fork on a dry day.
Let the onions cure on dry ground for a few days, weather permitting. Always handle them very carefully, the slightest bruise will encourage rot to set in.
Clip the roots and cut the tops back to 2 or 3cm (1in), but leave the tops on if you are planning to braid the onions so that they can be hung.
Inspect the bulbs carefully – all damaged, soft, spotted and thick-necked onions should be set aside for immediate use in the kitchen or for freezing. The rest can be stored and will need to 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.
Avoid storing whole onions in the refrigerator, which has a damp environment. Do not store onions next to potatoes. Both potatoes and onions emit a gas which causes them both to sprout and spoil faster.
Store the whole onions in a dry place, in an area where there is good air circulation. They should also be stored in a cool, dark area to prevent them from sprouting and rotting too soon as a result of light and humidity. A temperature of 4 to 10°C (40 to 50°F) would be ideal.
Store flat in trays or in mesh bags or nylon stockings, otherwise tie or braid to a length of cord as onion ropes and they will keep until late spring.
Lifting Onions for Exhibition:
The onions should be lifted about five to six weeks prior to the show in order to ensure they have reached optimum size. Before you lift them peel back any broken skins as best you can and then leave in the ground for a few more days before lifting so that the bulbs can fill out again. Once harvested place on wire racks in the garden to dry, (in the event of rain cover with polythene and then remove once the rain stops).
Once the roots and tops have withered you can select your chosen sets and trim away the dead roots, cut back the tops to three or four inches and then wash carefully with a cloth using warm water and a dash of washing up liquid.
Once clean, dry the onion bulbs carefully and cover with a liberal helping of talcum powder to facilitate even colour once the drying process finishes. Wrap these bulbs in newspaper or tissue and again store in a safe place until a few days prior to the show.
Before the show simply wipe the talcum powder away carefully and tie the tops with raffia close to the bulb before trimming away the surplus. If you are concerned the skin around the base of the neck will crack when tied, a little water rubbed around this skin will soften it whilst you tie it and prevent cracking. Stand your prepared sets in trays of sawdust until the show day when you can display them according to the show schedule.
- Organic Seed.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 270 Seeds Seed Form Natural - Certified Organic Seeds per gram 270 to 300 seeds per gram Common Name White or Yellow Bulbing Onion Other Common Names Brown Onion Family Alliaceae Genus Allium Species cepa Cultivar Stuttgarter Synonym Also known as ‘Stuttgarter Riesen’ and 'Stoccarde' Hardiness Hardy Biennial Spacing Thin to about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) Position Choose an open, sunny site with good drainage which has preferably been dug and manured in the previous autumn. Time to Sow Sow in Autumn or Late Winter to Spring Germination 21 days Time to Harvest Autumn-sown - 46 weeks, Spring-sown - 22 Weeks Notes Stored seed viability: 1-2 years. Yield from a 10 ft row: 4kg (8lb). Stored seed viability: 1-2 years.