The Veg Plot

Bunch of fives: Welsh onions

growing Welsh onions

Besides testing out a few methods of growing regular onions on the plot we’ve also had a dabble with a heritage variety of Welsh onions. Sown under fleece in late March they’ve been steadily growing with little fuss. Here are five reasons why we’re warming to these antique alliums…

1. Multiple bulbs
Unlike the usual one seed equals one bulb varieties, these Welsh* wonders produce several bulbs on a single plant.

2. Perennial producers
You can treat the onions as an annual, but leave a few plants growing over winter and they’ll multiply.

3. Kitchen versatility
Trim the leaves to use like chives or treat the whole plant as you would with spring onions. Larger bulbs can be used in cooking where a mild oniony flavour is required.

4. Hard to buy
You’re unlikely to find them in your local supermarket or even farm shop so you’ve got to grow your own to appreciate their appeal.

5. Protect our heritage
Seeing as supermarkets are doing their best to obliterate historical veg in favour of blander, continental grown imports it’s up to us allotment owners and gardeners to preserve these vintage veg.

Seeds sown: Onion Ciboule (Welsh Onion) Red Skinned, Thompson & Morgan

*Despite their name, Welsh onions are not really Welsh. They’re Asian. They got their name from the German word ‘welsche’, meaning ‘import’. In Wales they’re known as ‘shiboons’. Which is a variant of the French word ‘ciboule’, meaning ‘onion’. Now you know your onions…


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