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Thread: Tree onions

  1. #1
    kitty12345 is offline Sprouter
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    Default Tree onions

    Hello my tree onion bulbs have grown!

    Anyone grown these, and did you enjoy the taste or just for the novelty of it. Thinking of starting a perennial bed with tree onions, chives and elephant garlic.
    mysteryduck and Atta like this.

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    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    I grew some for a while - I can say they did OK but considering the cost of onions in the shops I don't think I'd bother again myself - they were quite small.

  3. #3
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    I grew them once - more as a novelty than a "real" onion!
    Perennial leeks (Babington) and Welsh Onions are good for a perennial bed.
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    happyhumph is offline Cropper
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    I've got some bunching/Welsh onions in a bed with my rhubarb and they're brilliant - went from 10 little ones last year to a tightly packed climb about 30cm across each way in a year.

    Dug a pile up for dinner tonight, gave a bunch to my neighbour for his veg plot, and replanted the rest - I can see them taking over from spring onions in my garden.
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    OH DEAR - YOU'VE SET ME OFF.

    With Walking Onions/Tree Onions/Egyptian onions I use them as scallions. Either divide a patch of them, taking the larger ones to eat and replanting the rest with a bit of space, or cutting off the tops and using them as green onions (a bit of straw mulch around them can increase the length of the white so you can cut the top off at soil level, the bulb will grow back and you have some white of the onion as well as the green).

    A third way is to use the top sets to start off your row of onions to be harvested as scallions/spring onions/bunching options. Use the sets for the first year or two to increase the onion patch (they will also bulk up by dividing the bulb) then you can start off scallions from sets. The top sets are small and I've found that this is the best way to use them.

    The bulbs of the Tree onions are the size of the bulbs for spring onions so aren't really used as bulb onions but some of the bulbs from the first year of the tops sets I've grown have been big enough to pickle.

    There's other types of perennial onions as well. Spring onion types include Welsh Onions, Perutil (a non flowering Welsh Onion which gives it a longer season of use) and Rakkyo (a japanese |type of Welsh onion often pickled).

    I've just planted out a patch of potato onions. These are a multiplier onion similar to shallots where you replant the smaller bulbs each year and they divide and multiply. You'll not get any record breaking championship onions but if you're the type of person who doen't like to put half an onion in their fridge they make bulbs just about the right size to use a couple in a dish. Whereas a single normal set gives you one mature onion a small potato can give two or three large onions and a large potato onion can split into a dozen smaller bulbs.

    When perennial leeks are mentioned the main type you'll hear about in Babingtons Leek. With this one you can either split up a patch and harvest some of the bulbs (they split each year) or cut the stems off at or just below the soil (again a mulch of straw or something similar will lengthen the white part of the leek). These will also send up a 4 foot flower spike which produces bulbils in the same way as the tree onions do which can be replanted and will grow into a mature leek in a year or two.

    Elephant garlic is another type of perennial leek. It's normally grown annually as a form of garlic but it is a leek and can be eaten as a leek. Harvest in the same way as Babingtons.


    Some esoteric leeks coming up next.

    Allium Polyanthum - aka Many Flowered Garlic. This is a plant that grown wild in the vinyards of France and it freely multiplies by bulb division. It's smaller than Babington Leeks but produces masses of babies - just dig up a clump and replant the smaller ones. I came across a photo of this one a few years ago but no one seems to grow it as food so I can claim this as a first for me.

    Oerprie (primordial Leek/Ancester Leek) is a leek species from Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg. It's not grown as much as it used to be and I had to get my brood balls from Belgium. Yes broodballs - thats the official name of the bulbs. This is what they are grown for, letting the plants die back and harvesting the bulbs at the bottom. These have a sweet leek/onion flavour and go great in soups and stews. You can of course harvest them as regular leeks. I have a bed with oerprie set out as an annual harvest and a patch growing to provide me wil a continued supply of broodballs to plant.

    Three Cornered leeks are a type you should keep in a container as they can be invasive. In fact it is "an offence to allow them to grow in the wild" so if you grow these you want to keep them under control. Luckily if you have a smaller container full this is easily done by eating - they are a nice sweet leek with great taste. Their scapes and flower heads are fantastic and they will produce a load of bulbs to start off next year - eat the larger ones whole in soups or stews.

    Sand Leeks - this is a small perennial leek that spreads via top setting bulbils as well. SAmaller than the others it's between chive and spring onion sice and can either be used en masse or as a leeky substitute for chives or spring onions.

    Now here's a thing.

    You've probably been growing perennial leeks for a while now, but you havent realised it. If you let your annual leeks stay in the ground they will form bulbs, die back and resprout next year. They will also produce smaller daughter leeks that will mature int larger leeks. Again either dig up a clump and eath the larger ones (replanting the rest with some space) or trim them around soil level.

    Here's some of my leeks.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIm1iPxYIe0

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  6. #6
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    I've got Tree onions growing in a large tub they're more of a novelty then anything else the bulbs are tiny, but the flowers are pretty.
    Bren

  7. #7
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    Sorry but when I saw the thread title as I've never heard of Tree Onions all sorts of weird images were popping into my head. Had visions of grapes balancing precariously on giant Oak tree limbs tending their onions among the canopy and occasionally falling out and breaking limbs.

    Was thinking what next, Coal mine beans or Cloud Potatoes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddy_Boots View Post
    Sorry but when I saw the thread title as I've never heard of Tree Onions all sorts of weird images were popping into my head. Had visions of grapes balancing precariously on giant Oak tree limbs tending their onions among the canopy and occasionally falling out and breaking limbs.

    Was thinking what next, Coal mine beans or Cloud Potatoes.

    MB - now don't be silly. They are called air potatoes, not cloud potatoes (also air yams) but only some varieties are edible.


    How about a plant that buries it's own flowers and grows it's seeds underground?
    Or a fruit that has it's flowers on the inside?
    Chrissyteacup likes this.

    New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

    ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
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    “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
    ― Thomas A. Edison

    - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

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