Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Perennial onions and other alliums

Overwintering onions
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

There are many perennial alliums.  Alliums include garlic, chives, leeks, and onions.  
Garlic, leeks, and onions will continue coming back year after year unless you pull them.  If they are not big enough the first year, leave them and they will come back bigger the following year (scallions in the left photo and onions in the right in our garden right now from last year).
There are also “multiplier” onions like Egyptian walking onions and potato onions.  They continue spreading out from the single bulb you plant.  As long as you leave a few bulbs behind, they will come back the following year.  Egyptian walking onions are not “keepers.”  They are pulled and used fresh.  Egyptian walking onions  Potato onions can be pulled and kept for months until ready to use.
If you grow garlic, you will likely find that the following year you have garlic sprouting again.  Many garlic bulbs will have little “bulbils” that become detached from the bigger bulb when you pull them.  These babies come back up the next spring.
Common chives in bloom in spring
Chives and garlic chives are perennials and can be grown in pots.  They are also invasive so make sure you don’t let their flowers go to seed.  The flowers are edible.  They are a pretty addition to spring salads.

For more on growing onions,  

Alliums are very nutritious, easy to grow, and tasty.  Try some in your garden this year!

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