In the selection of varieties the following factors should be considered: (1) Time of maturity. Earliness is often an important matter. (2) The size of the bulb. (3) Color of the bulb. The eastern markets prefer yellow and white onions, although a considerable, quantity of red onions is grown and sold in the East. Red onions sell best in the Middle West. (4) The shape of the bulb. Globular-shaped onions are preferred on all markets. (5) The quality of the bulbs. The foreign types are known to be milder and more tender than the domestic sorts. (6) Keeping qualities. American onions keep much better than the foreign types. (7) Soil adaptation. (U. S. D. A. Farmers' Bulletin 354, p. 29.) Yellow and red onions are especially well adapted to muck soils. Red and brown varieties thrive on prairie soils, and all classes do well on sandy loams and light soils. Bermuda, Spanish, and Egyptian types flourish on the deep, rich alluvial soils. (8) The yielding power. Some varieties produce many more bushels an acre than others. (9) Climatic adaptation. (10) Shipping qualities, or the degree of injury or damage sustained from bruises. (11) Purpose for which the onions are grown, whether for large bulbs, pickling or bunching.
Danvers (Danvers Yellow, Round Yellow Danvers, Yellow Globe Danvers) is the most largely grown of the yellow onions. It is produced extensively in nearly all regions where the crop is grown from seed sown in the open ground. The bulbs are solid and of good form, although not so distinctly globular as some other varieties. Danvers is an old sort that has been very popular for many years.
South Port Yellow Globe is grown to a great extent in many sections. The bulbs are larger and more globular in form than Danvers. It is an attractive sort and a good keeper.
Strasburg (Philadelphia Yellow Dutch) produces a somewhat flattened bulb. The variety is widely grown for sets.
Weathersfield has long been a popular red onion, and is valued for shipment to distant markets.
Southport Red Globe is a general favorite wherever red onions are grown from seed sown in the open ground.
Silver Skin (White Portugal) is a well-known white variety grown extensively for sets.
Southport White Globe produces a large globular bulb from seed sown in field or garden.
Silver King is an excellent variety for sowing in the open. The bulbs are large and possess good keeping qualities.
White Pearl is a very early variety. Bulbs are medium sized, mild, pure white and very attractive. They do not keep well, but are valuable for the early market.
White Queen, an extremely early onion, produces small, pure white, very mild bulbs, largely used for pickling.
Early Red is valued as a red, early-maturing variety.
White Barletta is an extra early white onion, which keeps well and is excellent for pickling.
White And Yellow Multipliers (potato onions) are planted extensively for bunching. (544).
The bulbs of Bermuda, Spanish and Italian onions are much larger than those of the American class. They also require a longer season to mature and are not so hardy. The flesh is more tender, and milder, but the bulbs do not keep as well as those of American onions. They are nearly always started under glass in this country, even in southern districts.
Prizetaker seed was first grown in California from a shipment of Spanish bulbs. The variety has become very popular in the United States, especially for the transplanting system of culture. The bulbs are very large, often weighing more than a pound; bright yellow, thin skin; flesh white, fine-grained, mild, with a delicate flavor. They possess only fair keeping qualities.
White Italian Tripoli produces very large, white, flattened bulbs.
Gigantic Gibraltar And Denia produce bulbs similar to those of the Prizetaker, but require more time to mature. They are also milder in flavor.
Red Bermuda, White Bermuda And Crystal Wax are the leading varieties of Bermuda onions.