Sunday, March 17, 2013

I LITERALLY cannot cook without onions and use 2 three pound bags of yellow onions per month. So maybe 6 years ago I started obsessing on achieving onion self sufficiency by trialing quite a few types that are perennial in colder climates, like the INCREDIBLY productive strain of Egyptian Walking Onion my clients and I grew in Denver (MUCH bigger than a leek!) but that failed quickly each of the several times I brought clumps to Tampa. Allen Boatman had gotten a strain that we THOUGHT liked it here and shared it freely but now they all seem to be in a fatal decline as they enter year four in the gardens. I trialed MANY forms of Allium fistulosum (aka "bunching onion") and found one that IS perennial after three years here in balmy south Tampa, divides at the base AND sets vast amounts of viable seeds.....people who bought it from me report good success short term (see video I shot a couple years back). Last year I learned of "Potato Onions", which are a selected form of shallot that comes in white, yellow and red bulbs. I bought white ones from a Texas grower (see pic of bulbs in the box they came in). Short term they are THRIVING in large Water Wise Container Gardens on my back patio, multiplying at their bases, some as thick as the base of my thumb, at this point looking like giant scallions though it is my understanding that at some point the tops will yellow and collapse, signalling harvest time of the clumps of bulbs. The flavor of the leaves is wonderful.

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