Multiplier Onions?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by twind59, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. twind59

    twind59 Well-Known Member

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    I have some multiplier onions on order for this year. Can anyone tell me about how to plant and care for them? Also, how much will these produce? Thanks.
    Barry
    Indianapolis
     
  2. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    I do nothing special for mine. I tossed them in a shallow trench, covered them, and left them to their own devixes. They seem to have faired well. The only probelm is crowding if you don't pick enough of the top bulbs....a problem I can live with! So much eaier than regular onions. :D
     

  3. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Barry, with a huge number of multiplying onion varieties around, it may help to know which type you are getting. There are the tree onions, Egyptians and Catawissas, which call for one set of growing instructions. (The instructions given by Sue would be best applied to the tree onion types but only if planted as actual bulbs and not the bulbils.) There's the various topsetting white pearl onions which grow wild in the South. Then the Heritage Sweets would be somewhere between those two types. There are also the shallots and potato onions which are separate again. Finally down to the non-bulbing multipliers such as I-itoi. You'll find all of the above in my gardens!

    Martin
     
  4. twind59

    twind59 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Sue and Martin. These are potato onions. I'm hoping that I can grow enough to use for myself over the coming winter with enough left for spring planting.
    Barry
     
  5. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    LOL I don't even know what I have....they were sold as "walking onions"
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the laugh, Sue! Walking onions indeed would have been either Egyptian or Catawissa tree onions. Those are the most "idiot-proof" of all the multipliers as you can not accidentally kill them, one must be deliberate in order to do so!

    Barry, potato onions are a different story. For one thing, they have always been the only long-keeper that can be grown in the South. They'll last a year if need be. And there's probably a good reason why a northerner wouldn't know how to grow them. It's because they are not commonly grown in the North for various reasons. One is that we can grow much bigger long-keeping onions without all of the extra work involved. And, they are not very winter-hardy. I lost mine during the winter of 2003-2004 despite mulch and had to start over. Thus early spring planting is advised for the northern zones.

    For planting, go with a minimum of 8" spacing although up to a foot is better if you have the space. The leaves will be growing out at angles from the base rather than up like an ordinary onion. Hence they need plenty of elbow room. Plant the bulbs with the tips just barely covered. Bulb growth and division will take place right at soil level so you will end up looking down into a "nest" of onions as they mature.

    When the plants have finished their growth, the leaves will die and dry up. Then it's time to lift and cure the bulbs. Curing is simply spreading them in a shady but well-ventilated area for several weeks. After that, they will last for a year.

    Also, there is never a guarantee as to what the results will be. Normally they will divide to produce up to 8 or 9 bulbs. Sometimes they fail to divide and just become a much larger bulb. They will never produce seeds or bulbils so you must save the smaller ones for planting back each spring.

    Good luck!

    Martin
     
  7. twind59

    twind59 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Martin! You mentioned growing bigger onions in the north without the extra work. Can you give me some examples? I tried a variety of onion last year from seed...it was called "Candy". I started the seeds indoors early in the spring and transplanted to the garden when it warmed up. They didn't amount to much. It was a learning experience, I guess!
    Barry
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Barry, you hi-jacked your own thread so I suppose it's OK to change the topic to regular onions!

    There are a number of long-day onion varieties which will store well. Big Daddy, Mars, Copra, Sweet Sandwich, and First Edition are 5 offered by Dixondale Farms and which store for 8 months or more. The common red and yellow set onions will also easily last that long and have been around for 100 years.

    You quite probably didn't do anything wrong in order to not have any decent Candy harvest. In Wisconsin and Michigan, last year was terrible for onions. Too much rain at the wrong time caused at least a 50% less than usual harvest here. I often think that drought summers are actually better since the water can then be better controlled. Candy is one which does better in warmer and dryer areas and doesn't like wet conditions.

    Martin
     
  9. athome in SD

    athome in SD Well-Known Member

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    Isnt homesteading today just wonderful!!

    I have been gardening for years and yet I read these
    posts and feel like a newbee. Which is wonderful by
    the way, I love learning!

    So back to this post-

    are multiplier onions what we call green onions
    here in the midwest??

    And is we are straying to regular onions, ok maybe i will
    just start a new thread and ask that question.

    How do you store multiplier onions so that you have them
    after summer? Or can you do that at all??

    Christina
    athome in South Dakota
     
  10. twind59

    twind59 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Martin,
    I'm getting the feeling that perhaps I just started my seeds too late in the year. While it seems to me that multiplier onions will be easier for me, I think I would still like to try onions from seed....just for kicks. Do you know exactly how early one should start onion seeds indoors for planting in zone 5?
    Thanks
    Barry

     
  11. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Early to mid February is the best time for starting onions from seed in Zone 5. Best results would be to have the plants be 8 to 10 weeks old at transplanting time.

    Martin
     
  12. twind59

    twind59 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Martin,
    In the past few days I've done a lot of internet searching and found a picture of these potato onions...very interesting! I can't wait to try them. From what I've read and seen, I would think this would be a very desirable and popular onion. Perhaps I am still smarting from my previous failure with onion seeds. It will have to be next year before I try onions from seed again, but I'll do it!
    Barry
     
  13. bowdonkey

    bowdonkey Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm presently looking into planting shallots or potato onions this spring. Where is a good source and what type would grow best in a cold zone 3? I so enjoyed the walking onions last year [care free] I thought these may be fun to try also.
     
  14. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Shallots: we find that here on the high plains (nominal z4), they do not winter well, even with a good mulch. So we always plant them in the spring.

    The ones from seed grow HUGE, compared to the ones from sets. Also, the ones from seed tend to divide under one skin, while the set-grown ones divide to make a shallot "nest." I believe that Martin once said these are actually 2 different types of shallots.
     
  15. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    The two types of shallots are true shallots and hybrid onions which resemble shallots. True shallots don't often bloom and when they do they seldom produce seeds. Those can only be propagated from bulbs. If a large bulb is planted, one usually gets a lot of small bulbs. If a small bulb is planted, one usually gets fewer but larger bulbs. Jung's has Golden and Holland Red and can be planted as soon as the ground may be worked. Those available from seed are always hybrids and each seed will only produce a single bulb. They must be started well in advance of planting time just as one would do with onions from seed. And the time to start them is in February and should already be emerging now.

    Martin
     
  16. derm

    derm Well-Known Member

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    Me too. Anyone have a seed source? I love the walking onions and these look perfect to try.
     
  17. thejerseylilly

    thejerseylilly Member

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    I was just given some shallots to plant last weekend. They are some that have been saved and saved over the years from my husbands grandparents. But were given to us by an aunt.

    I remember some kind of onion making the seed things on top (bloom) When they done this...Granny would save those to plant next year. Are those shallots? or am I thinking of another variety? She's gone now...and I can't ask her. :(
     
  18. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Jung's has both shallot sets and seeds.

    www.jungseed.com/dc.asp?c1=Shallots&c=609

    They would have been onions, not shallots.

    Martin
     
  19. thejerseylilly

    thejerseylilly Member

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    This is very similar to what she had.....

    http://dirthappy.blogspot.com/2009/10/plant-seed-giving-best-gift-of-all.html

    third picture down....where it shows the "bulbettes" She always called them shallots after planting these, and harvesting them to eat.

    This website refers to them as "walking onions"

    ??? And what I was given look pretty much like this...some in clusters like that.
     
  20. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Walking onions don't produce seeds. But they are onions nevertheless except that they don't make edible bulbs. The topsets, incidentally, can be peeled and used for pearl onions or cooking.

    Martin