Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Gardening News! June 5, 2011 Potato Onions!

I wanted to talk today about potato onions. If you've never heard of these amazing and delicious onions it's not a surprise. They are getting hard to find now but still available online or, you may be extra lucky and have a neighbor or gardening friend who will hook you up with some starts.
Wikipedia says...

The potato onion (also known as multiplier onion) is a variety of the 'Aggregatum group' of Allium cepa, similar to the shallot, although producing larger bulbs. It is remarkably easy to grow, keeps better than almost any other variety of onion, and is ideal for the home gardener with restricted space. It was very popular in the past, but like many old varieties, it has been passed over in favor of types more suitable for mechanical harvesting and mass marketing.

I got my starts two seasons ago from a fellow in town. I paid good for them but, they were every bit worth it.
My dad used to grow these and we always had onions. Always.
He planted his in the fall and come summer, would harvest them and hang them in bunches in the shed. He had a long row of bunches of these onions that we would use and plant the left overs.
The beauty of these onions is that once you get a mess growing, you don't have to worry about buying onion sets or seeds again.

The ones I have now, I planted last November on the 8th. That was dad's birthday so I can remember it easy.
Already this season, I've taken several pounds of onions that had pushed themselves up out of the ground!
Each little onion bulb will produce several more bulbs. Some will be pretty big. I have some about 3" across, and some will be smaller.
I use a variety of sizes when I replant and generally eat the big ones.
They store surprising well. Like the Wiki article says, they will store longer than any other onion.
I agree with that. The ones I stored I just hung in a sack in the corner and when it was time to plant they were just fine.
I started originally with about 8 bulbs and have not eaten very many so that I could increase my supply of onions. I'll get a few more for coooking this season and have plenty now for planting out this fall. I'm very excited about that too.
We're big onion eaters around here so these little guys will be the answer to our prayers!
Basically, if we work it right, we'll have free onions for life!

So, if you live in an area where you think these will grow, and that's a big area actually, then see if you can find a source now for a start of these later this year. (be sure and check ebay, someone will have them I'm sure)  They can be a little hard to locate as they get bought up pretty quick soon as they become available. I'll try and remember to remind folks again later this summer because these are tailor made for small gardens and doomer gardens especially.

here are  a few links.
Veggie Gardening Tips: Potato Onions
Garden Desk: Potato Onions
Southern Exposure: Potato and multiplier Onions for Sale
they say... and sell them for 11.50

[A 1982 SESE reintroduction of an heirloom strain dating prior to 1790.] Produces onions up to 4" in diameter under good conditions, and 3" in diameter under average conditions. Flavorful, yet not strong. This has always been a popular variety with our customers. The 'Yellow Potato' onion has good drought resistance, pink root resistance, and is widely adapted for different growing regions, except Florida and southern Texas. Especially valued for the keeping quality of the small- and medium-sized bulbs, which keep 8-12 months under good conditions. We've kept small bulbs up to 18 months under ideal conditions. Some old-timers grow this heirloom onion exclusively because it provides all the onions they ever need. Starter Package: 8 oz. (8-12 bulbs, depending on crop.) Cannot ship bulbs outside the U.S.
I hope you guys will try these little onions and help keep this strain going.
Happy gardening!


  1. Thank you for the reminder about these onions Pam, just ordered mine (now hopefully I can get them to grow =)

  2. hey Sue! good luck with them. They are super easy to grow and seem to like all kinds of weather and soil.
    I have to watch about moles getting at mine but other than that they seem pretty tough.

    thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. Wow, thanks, Pam. I'd never heard of these. Will have to try them this fall.

  4. I think you'll really like them Linda. You're in a similar climate to here aren't you?
    I'll bet you would have good luck with them there.
    It's a good doomer garden plant to have I think, and tasty too! :D