Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Onions of Spring

I still have a few yellow onions stored in the cellar. I've found Copra onions, purchased as plants from my local garden center (they'll be in next week, they said), keep very well when well-cured in the fall, and grow well in my climate in my regular summer garden. Those (and shallots - my own, set out in the fall) are my winter-time storage cooking onions.

For lunch, I had a package of imitation-crab surimi, so I decided I'd make some crab salad to put on a bagel. I diced up some celery to mix in, but it still needed something. It's starting to feel like Spring, and I'm starting to crave Spring foods. I needed some green onion. So I headed out to the garden to forage.

I have to admit - I'm a lazy gardener. If I can get my plants to grow themselves instead of me starting them from seed each year, I'll do it. Luckily, onions and other alliums are so easy to keep going that I have a special perennial bed just for them around one corner of the garden. The bunching onions are up, but I want to give them a chance to multiply. I'll eat those in the summer. In very early Spring, I go for the walking onions (sometimes called top-set or Egyptian).

Last fall, I planted the little top-set bulb bunches in spaces left by those I'd harvested. They're just now starting to grow (left side, below the hose). But I also leave some big clumps alone every summer. Right now, the big clumps I didn't touch last year have multiplied - each onion making two or three new ones - and they're already up and growing strong. Later when the heat of summer gets here, each onion will be more than an inch thick. Then, they'll start to get tough and really hot-tasting, and send up stalks topped with little bulbs. But right now, peeling away the tough red outer skin reveals a sweet little scallion - just what I needed.


Annodear said...

Awesome! You had onions clear through the winter, and now, just a few days from the Spring Equinox you've got fresh ones ready to eat growing in your garden :-)

That's SO COOL!!!

Sue said...

I love the Copra onions, I've grown them for years. I'm down to a dozen in the cellar, and haven't had a bad one in the bunch.
I didn't know you could keep an onion patch going...thanks for the idea. I'll try it for sure

Anonymous said...

Amazing! The onions just keep coming, fresh onions throughout, I love it. How did you find out about this?

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! said...

I am also a lazy gardener, I will have to put in some onions.

Doyu Shonin/Risa Bear said...

We do this too, and also have leeks and elephant garlic through the winter. The two are related (flat leaves instead of tubular) and we have enough of the "garlic" to use some as leeks from December through April, dicing up the stems. Sometimes I will put diced garlic stalks and kale through the hand grinder and use in a mess of eggs, or even in loaves of bread.