Friday, 5 November 2010

Growing Welsh Onion

  • A member of the Onion family, Welsh onion are well worth cultivating in the vegetable and flower garden. 
  • They take up very little space, and the whole plant can be eaten from top to bottom.
  • Welsh onion are cultivated both for their culinary uses and their ornamental value; the violet flowers are often used in ornamental dry bouquets.
  • Welsh onion are perennial evergreen plants, and keep their leaves in most winters. 
  • In colder winters, the leaves may die back completely, but don't despair - their roots are still alive and they will begin new growth next spring.

How to grow Welsh onion - Crop rotation

  • Welsh onion is a member of the onion family, and it is suggested that it should not be planted in soil that has grown a family member in at least the last three years.

How to grow Welsh onion - Position and Soil

  • Welsh onion thrive in well drained soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH of 6-7 and full sun. 
  • However, Welsh onion will grow in almost all soils. 
  • Work in a handful or two of bonemeal per square metre (yard). 
  • Full sun or partial shade suit them equally well.
  • Although they are fairly tolerant of drought, don't plant them in very dry places. 

How to grow Welsh onion - Propagation

How to grow Welsh onion - Sowing seed

  • Welsh onion can be grown from seed and mature in summer, or early the following spring. 
  • Sow the seeds indoors using normal potting compost in March time (or directly outside in April) . 
  • Typically, Welsh onion need to be germinated at a temperature of 15°C to 20°C and kept moist. 
  • The seedlings will appear a week to ten days later. 
  • Transfer them outside a month after sowing with 10cm (8in) between each plant.

How to grow Welsh onion - Propagating by Division

  • Welsh onion are very similar to other onions, in that they have a bulbous root and green leaves. 
  • The bulbs multiply quickly over a few years and this bounty of new bulbs provides the easiest method of propagation. 
  • Simply dig up the clump of bulbs in March or October, carefully separate them into individual bulbs and replant with the tips of the bulbs level with the soil surface. 
  • They thrive on this method of propagation, because it relieves the congestion in the bulb clumps.

How to grow Welsh onion - Care & Cultivation

  • Welsh onion are not greedy feeders, so it is not necessary to feed throughout the year if the soil has been prepared as described. 
  • In cold regions, Welsh onion die back to the underground bulbs in winter, with the new leaves appearing in early spring.
  • Welsh onion starting to look old can be cut back to about 2–5 cm. 

How to grow Welsh onion - Harvesting

  • Either lift the whole onion, as above, or just use the leaves.
  • Cut the chive leaves with scissors when required, starting with the outside leaves (those nearest the edge of the pot) and working your way inwards. 
  • When harvesting, the needed number of stalks should be cut to the base.
  • The leaves rapidly grow back and can be cut several times in the growing season, so giving a continuous harvest. 
  • Plants grown from seed should be left alone (although remove the emerging flower heads) until July in the first year to allow a good root system to establish itself. 

How to grow Welsh onion - Kitchen Notes

  • Welsh onion should be used fresh and uncooked, otherwise they loose almost all their flavour. 
  • When used with cooked foods, add them after cooking. 
  • Welsh onion can be used to add flavour to a huge range of food, probably best known for adding to baked potatoes with butter. 
  • Foods it goes well with include mixed vegetables, egg dishes, salads and dressings, broiled poultry, stews, casseroles and baked fish.

How to grow Welsh onion - Storage & Preserving

  • They can be dried, but their is little point because they then have no flavour. 
  • One way to store them is to chop the leaves into 1cm (half inch) lengths and place them in ice cube containers with some water. 
  • Freeze them, and then defrost an ice cube or two when need to use them. 

How to grow Welsh onion - Pests and Disease

  • They are almost completely free of disease, but they occasionally suffer from onion fly, however this is almost always because they have been planted near onions which have been attacked - the solution is not to plant Welsh onion near onions.

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