Perennial edible alliums

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svalli
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Perennial edible alliums

#1

Post: # 62870Unread post svalli
Thu Feb 10, 2022 9:05 am

I have some edible alliums growing in my garden as perennial plants and I have been looking for more species, which I could grow.

Currently I have regular chives (A. schoenoprasum), garlic chives (A. tuberosum), Siberian chives (A. nutans) and Egyptian walking onion (A. × proliferum). I had bunching onions (A. fistulosum), but those grew as biennials and vanished next year after flowering.

Last fall I traded garlic bulbils to bulbils of sand leek (A. scorodoprasum), which I planted to my flower bed and pots buried in the raised beds.

Now I found a German website selling seeds for many edible alliums, so I had to place an order. My order contained lop-sided onion (A. obliquum), Chinese chives (A. Odorum), German garlic (A. Senescens) and Welsh onion (A. fistulosum). Since I had all those seeds coming in, I also ordered leek seeds from them, even I have usually purchased them as plants at spring from a nursery.
Allium seeds.jpg

I think that there are many more edible perennial alliums, but our long and cold winters limit what I can grow.

Sari
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#2

Post: # 62871Unread post Tormato
Thu Feb 10, 2022 9:25 am

Are you ready to join our loosely knit club in the hunt for Fleener topsets? ;)

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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#3

Post: # 62875Unread post Uncle_Feist
Thu Feb 10, 2022 10:22 am

These tater onions have been passed down through the family for generations. It's spiritual to eat the very continuation of the same food as my great grandparents did more than a century ago.
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#4

Post: # 62895Unread post svalli
Thu Feb 10, 2022 2:42 pm

Tormato wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 9:25 am Are you ready to join our loosely knit club in the hunt for Fleener topsets? ;)
I had to search about the Fleener topsets and those seem quite fascinating onions. If the bulbs really grow as big as described, those would be great to grow. Unfortunately it is very unlikely that I find those in this side of Atlantic.
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#5

Post: # 62898Unread post svalli
Thu Feb 10, 2022 3:04 pm

Uncle_Feist wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 10:22 am These tater onions have been passed down through the family for generations. It's spiritual to eat the very continuation of the same food as my great grandparents did more than a century ago.
Image
My mom used to grow potato onions when I was kid, but unfortunately she lost that variety. Potato onions used to be commonly grown here before the garden centers started selling onion sets. Potato onions are not sold in stores, but I have been able to get two varieties, which I am now multiplying. Potato onions cannot be left in ground here, so I did not consider those as perennials, even that is what those actually are. I am hoping that some day I would have enough potato onions to be self sufficient and do not have to buy the sets anymore.

Sari
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#6

Post: # 62900Unread post Uncle_Feist
Thu Feb 10, 2022 4:08 pm

svalli wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 3:04 pm
Uncle_Feist wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 10:22 am These tater onions have been passed down through the family for generations. It's spiritual to eat the very continuation of the same food as my great grandparents did more than a century ago.
Image
My mom used to grow potato onions when I was kid, but unfortunately she lost that variety. Potato onions used to be commonly grown here before the garden centers started selling onion sets. Potato onions are not sold in stores, but I have been able to get two varieties, which I am now multiplying. Potato onions cannot be left in ground here, so I did not consider those as perennials, even that is what those actually are. I am hoping that some day I would have enough potato onions to be self sufficient and do not have to buy the sets anymore.

Sari
These multiply fast! A large bulb planted in the fall will divide into 9 or 10 plants. I pulled the crop last summer and replanted last fall for the first time in the last 3 years. I tried to plant only quarter sized bulbs and they have divided into 5-7 plants.
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#7

Post: # 62913Unread post Bower
Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:31 pm

Do they ever flower and set seed, @Uncle_Feist ?

I want to get some hybrid onion seed to grow this year, so that I can keep some and get it to flower next season, just to see if the perennial "shallots" I'm growing are truly A. cepa, if so they'll cross with the (male sterile) hybrid onion and make seeds. I think they probably are. They don't bulb at all, but really multiply a lot. They are earlier than my Egyptian onions, hardier than the A. fistulosums I grow, and are way more than I can eat, so it has become part of my farm friend's early spring CSA, along with the lovage. The 'shallots' flower around midsummer and produce a ton of seeds every year. I'm saving some for Tormato this season, so if anyone else wants some, say the word.
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#8

Post: # 62915Unread post Uncle_Feist
Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:40 pm

Bower wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:31 pm Do they ever flower and set seed, @Uncle_Feist ?

I want to get some hybrid onion seed to grow this year, so that I can keep some and get it to flower next season, just to see if the perennial "shallots" I'm growing are truly A. cepa, if so they'll cross with the (male sterile) hybrid onion and make seeds. I think they probably are. They don't bulb at all, but really multiply a lot. They are earlier than my Egyptian onions, hardier than the A. fistulosums I grow, and are way more than I can eat, so it has become part of my farm friend's early spring CSA, along with the lovage. The 'shallots' flower around midsummer and produce a ton of seeds every year. I'm saving some for Tormato this season, so if anyone else wants some, say the word.
I have read that multiplier onions can flower under the right conditions, but in my life I have never seen these flower.

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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#9

Post: # 62917Unread post Tormato
Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:50 pm

svalli wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 3:04 pm
Uncle_Feist wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 10:22 am These tater onions have been passed down through the family for generations. It's spiritual to eat the very continuation of the same food as my great grandparents did more than a century ago.
Image
My mom used to grow potato onions when I was kid, but unfortunately she lost that variety. Potato onions used to be commonly grown here before the garden centers started selling onion sets. Potato onions are not sold in stores, but I have been able to get two varieties, which I am now multiplying. Potato onions cannot be left in ground here, so I did not consider those as perennials, even that is what those actually are. I am hoping that some day I would have enough potato onions to be self sufficient and do not have to buy the sets anymore.

Sari
One can build up a stock of potato onions, and then lose them all to long term soggy soil from weeks and weeks of rain. I've learned my lesson. If I ever get such rains again, the onion bed will get covered with plastic, at times.

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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#10

Post: # 62919Unread post rxkeith
Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:01 pm

i ordered potato onions several years back, and learned that they don't winter over up here. just not hardy enough.
my catawissas that i got originally from martin, do very well here. they have a permanent spot that i have to reduce every few years.
i sent some to glenn at sandhill preservation. he seems to like them better than the egyptian onions. if anyone wants topsets in the fall,
let me know. i can send some to gary for fall planting as part of the swap if that is desired. i always have more than i can use.



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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#11

Post: # 62923Unread post Tormato
Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:26 pm

Bower wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:31 pm Do they ever flower and set seed, @Uncle_Feist ?

I want to get some hybrid onion seed to grow this year, so that I can keep some and get it to flower next season, just to see if the perennial "shallots" I'm growing are truly A. cepa, if so they'll cross with the (male sterile) hybrid onion and make seeds. I think they probably are. They don't bulb at all, but really multiply a lot. They are earlier than my Egyptian onions, hardier than the A. fistulosums I grow, and are way more than I can eat, so it has become part of my farm friend's early spring CSA, along with the lovage. The 'shallots' flower around midsummer and produce a ton of seeds every year. I'm saving some for Tormato this season, so if anyone else wants some, say the word.
Are these the "diverse shallots" with lots of diversity, seed all kept separated by their characteristics?

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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#12

Post: # 62925Unread post Bower
Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:38 pm

@Tormato I separated them into groups with traits in common when I put them in permanent places. If you're interested in one trait or another, I can post some pics and comments about the groupings on my old thread when spring comes. Too easy to save separately (granted that a cross is always possible, regardless of the distance - as the bumblebee flies).
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#13

Post: # 62926Unread post Tormato
Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:40 pm

rxkeith wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:01 pm i ordered potato onions several years back, and learned that they don't winter over up here. just not hardy enough.
my catawissas that i got originally from martin, do very well here. they have a permanent spot that i have to reduce every few years.
i sent some to glenn at sandhill preservation. he seems to like them better than the egyptian onions. if anyone wants topsets in the fall,
let me know. i can send some to gary for fall planting as part of the swap if that is desired. i always have more than i can use.



keith
We'll have to work out the details on this. Do you know if the topsets will last until a spring planting? Perhaps with refrigeration? I do know that if they are shipped right after harvest (Egyptian walking onions, here, is about the second week of August) in a sealed baggie, their moisture content causes them to sprout both greens and roots.

Some people have requested things like mint, which could be dug and shipped at the same time. Input from anyone, interested in a fall swap, is welcome.

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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#14

Post: # 62927Unread post Tormato
Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:45 pm

Bower wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:38 pm @Tormato I separated them into groups with traits in common when I put them in permanent places. If you're interested in one trait or another, I can post some pics and comments about the groupings on my old thread when spring comes. Too easy to save separately (granted that a cross is always possible, regardless of the distance - as the bumblebee flies).
I'm interested in EVERY trait you have, with seed being mixed together, or possible crossing (actually hoping for that), OK.

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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#15

Post: # 62929Unread post rxkeith
Thu Feb 10, 2022 8:26 pm

gary,

i think the only way the catawissas would keep till spring would be refrigerated or in a really cool basement.
most of mine that don't get planted are pretty much dried up by spring time, but then spring time takes its sweet
ole time getting here. people in the south where the ground never really freezes could plant in december, january, february
i reckon, and get onions. here, we could have a foot of snow on the ground by the end of november.
we have time to come up with a plan.


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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#16

Post: # 62939Unread post Shule
Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:00 am

A. fistulosum should multiply and continue indefniitely if you don't pull them up to eat the bulbs. I recommend Crimson Forest and He Shi Ko. I've tried them both, and they would multiply regularly (not as much as shallots and potato onions, probably, but they would multiply). I just grew them for the greens, though (not for the bulbs, although Crimson Forest does bulb; He Shi Ko doesn't; Crimson Forest's bulbs have a very mild flavor).

As far as flavor goes, these two varieties have excellent-tasting greens, but both are very different in taste from each other (and different than standard green onions in flavor). Crimson Forest's greens are excellent in raw salsas and things. He Shi Ko is great for cooking.
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#17

Post: # 62940Unread post svalli
Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:02 am

Tormato wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:50 pm
One can build up a stock of potato onions, and then lose them all to long term soggy soil from weeks and weeks of rain. I've learned my lesson. If I ever get such rains again, the onion bed will get covered with plastic, at times.
I grow potato onions like the regular A. cepa sets, by lifting and curing them in end of summer and keeping them indoors through the winter. We will eat the bigger ones and the medium sized ones get planted back in end of May when ground is workable again. The small ones are also eaten, if I do not plant them or someone wanting to start growing potato onions. I learned that I should plant the medium sized ones, from the old gentleman who sent the starts to me.

My first year of growing potato onions I had saved all small ones for planting and kept the ones for eating in the cool garage, which stayed above freezing. When spring came, I read the old man's advice to plant the medium size ones to get bigger onions and I took some onions which were stored in the garage and planted those too. Three of the ones stored in cool location grew flower stalks, but unfortunately the season ended before the seeds matured. I have had a plan to keep few bulbs in the refrigerator before planting and grow the onions in greenhouse to get longer growing season and get some seeds, but I do always forget that. Maybe next fall I should try planting couple of potato onions in my city garden, where I can better protect them from rainy fall weather before ground freezes and see if they survive winter in ground and grow flowers following season.

Sari
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#18

Post: # 62941Unread post svalli
Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:26 am

Shule wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:00 am A. fistulosum should multiply and continue indefniitely if you don't pull them up to eat the bulbs. I recommend Crimson Forest and He Shi Ko. I've tried them both, and they would multiply regularly (not as much as shallots and potato onions, probably, but they would multiply). I just grew them for the greens, though (not for the bulbs, although Crimson Forest does bulb; He Shi Ko doesn't; Crimson Forest's bulbs have a very mild flavor).

As far as flavor goes, these two varieties have excellent-tasting greens, but both are very different in taste from each other (and different than standard green onions in flavor). Crimson Forest's greens are excellent in raw salsas and things. He Shi Ko is great for cooking.
It was quite weird what happened with them. I got the seeds for a perennial green onion and Hardy Evergreen from Bower and first year the tine tiny seedlings grown indoors started multiplying already by end of summer when planted outdoors. Since I had planted those to a big tub, I pulled them in the fall and we ate some of them as scallions while others I planted in a raised bed. The planted ones survived winter well and next summer all of them grew flower stalks. None of the flowering onions multiplied and when fall came all of the onions rotted away. I was so surprised that all of them died like that and I had not even collected seeds from them.

Sari
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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#19

Post: # 62943Unread post Tormato
Fri Feb 11, 2022 4:05 am

My experience with potato onions is that if you plant the largest one, you get many small ones from it. If you plant the smallest one, you get one large one from it. I have no idea of what the medium ones do, as I plant the large and small.

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Re: Perennial edible alliums

#20

Post: # 62947Unread post Uncle_Feist
Fri Feb 11, 2022 7:17 am

Tormato wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 4:05 am My experience with potato onions is that if you plant the largest one, you get many small ones from it. If you plant the smallest one, you get one large one from it. I have no idea of what the medium ones do, as I plant the large and small.
My experience as well. If you need to multiple fast plant the larger ones, if you want larger bulbs, plant the smaller ones.

I use the really small bulbs as a pearl onion substitute in soups and stews.

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