I had several Allium projects going this year, one was a biennial bulb onion, Allium cepa trial which managed to be massacred by a voracious legion of cutworms, leading to several replantings with heavy losses and a vow to try again next year.
The other was multiplier onion, Allium cepa aggregatum. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of shallot type to the same voracious cutworms forcing me to collar (protect each seedling) the replanting. Finally the darn things subsided and I got some growth, including regrowth of some that had, had their tops toppled. Like 2015, and all the years before, the multiplier onions were significantly more robust for me than the biennial bulbing onions, even those bulb onions that made it through the cursed cutworms with extra wide spacing (since all their neighbours had been eaten).
I'm pretty sure that the lesson here is to focus on multipliers though the stubborn streak in me means I have some promising biennial onion seeds, that I've been collecting, to try again.
Back to multipliers. My goals are two-fold. Firstly, I'd like a nest of four or more mid sized bulb onion with an easy to use shape that stores well over winter and has a pungent, pleasant taste. I'd like to maintain good seeding on top of nesting in order to continue to select. Secondly, and more fancifully, I'd like to mix up the colours a bit more with some reds, whites, roses and whatever else comes along.
I've been receiving a wide array of multiplier seeds for a number of years now. Included are seeds from Kelly Winterton's project, any seeds I could get from the usual potato onions floating around, seed grown (Allium cepa) shallots and a number of other more mysterious ones just labelled 'multiplier.'
Though I did have a few that had white skins and a few others with a touch of rose, most of mine are golden like these below. More variation was seen in the shape and orientation of the bulbs in the nest.
I had a good harvest this year considering the drought. Seed set was adequate. All the best candidates were fall in some large rows with wide spacing in order to maximize harvest of both bulbs and seeds for 2017. I am planning on adding more variety in the base population, especially to replace material lost to those nocturnal chewers.
All about growing, selecting and using edible plants in the Ottawa valley.