Here at Chiot’s Run we LOVE onions and eat alliums of some form almost every day. There’s no way I would ever have enough room to grow a large enough patch of bulb onions that we could eat all year long. It would also be hard to be able to store the onions for as long as we would need to.
As a result I’ve been learning to grow and love other alliums like leeks, bunching onions, potato onions, scallions, shallots, potato onions, and perennial leeks. Most of these alternative alliums fill in the time between the last onion from the pantry and the first bulb onion harvest from the garden. I’m happy to report that since last spring we’ve been able to use our homegrown alliums almost exclusively.
This year I’m growing a few different types of long storing onions trying to find one that stores the longest.
Here are the types I’m growing:
‘Copra’ – Uniform, “rock-hard” storage onion with early maturity. These medium-sized, dark yellow-skinned storage onions have the preferred blocky round shape with thin necks that dry quickly. Firmness and skin are superior. Copra remains one of the best in our yearly storage trials, staying firm and flavorful after most other varieties have sprouted. Highest in sugar (13°-14°) of the storage onions. Adaptation: 38°-55° latitude. (source of seeds and plants: Johnny’s Seeds)
This variety was recommended by many of you and a few local friends. I started seeds in January and transplanted them to the garden in March. I also direct seeded them in the garden in March as well. One bunch of plants arrived in mid-April and they were planted shortly thereafter. The reason behind the three different growing methods is to see which ones size up the best and store the longest. There will definitely be another bog post or two about this.
‘Red Zeppelin’ – Medium to large, globe-shaped bulbs with deep red color. Red Zeppelin will store for six months or more under proper conditions. Adaptation: 38°-45° latitude. (source of seeds and plants: Johnny’s Seeds). I planted 3 bunches of these in mid-April the day they arrived and have high hopes for them because we love red onions and it can be difficult to find long storing varieties.
‘Stuttgarter’ – The old standby for yellow storage onions from sets. 2”- 3” diameter bulbs are flat bottomed and have a nice strong flavor. Excellent storage into June. For the best yields, plant as soon as the ground can be worked. (source: Maine Potato Lady) This variety of onion is raved about by Gertrud Franck in the book Companion Planting: Successful Gardening the Organic Way which I’m thoroughly enjoying right now.
‘Red Baron’ – A really nice red onion with flavor not too pungent. Great raw in salads and sandwiches. Though not as large or high-yielding as Stuttgarter, Red Baron is a nice addition to your onion bin. I’ve experienced good storage, easily into May. (source: Maine Potato Lady)
My hope is with all these different varieties our onion baskets in the pantry will still be providing bulb onions until the ‘Forum’ onions I talked about yesterday are ready to harvest. I most certainly will be happy if I can be eating caramelized onions and potatoes from the pantry next May!
What’s your favorite way to eat onions?Filed under Around the Garden | Comments (15)