Thursday, September 13, 2012

tropeana lunga onions

Last winter, I ordered some Tropeana Lunga onion seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

So I planted them in starter cells and little black pots in the greenhouse and watched them grow.

Onion seed needs to be planted in winter to get a good start (I plant mine in late January/early February).   But  I  could probably plant them even earlier.  It can be a bit finicky and labour intensive which is why a lot of people prefer to buy sets to plant out. I'm interested in less common types of onions though, so seeds are the only way to get many of them.

In past years, I've had such a tough time getting the little onion plants that are growing in the greenhouse planted out into the garden beds in good time (for me, by late March) because it's just when everything starts getting really busy.  I get overwhelmed with too  many things to do and some things, (like planting the onions) just don't get done.  eeek! what a waste.

But this year, I had wwoofers helping so they did the job and even tho' the transplants were planted out really late (in May), I'm now getting some nice red long of tropeas!  (maybe because they're not a long-day type?...they are an intermediate day length type.....hmmm, I wonder if I should try overwintering these one year?) Seems like I need some more experience before I really know my onions.
I forgot to show my helpers how deeply to plant the wispy little plants so they weren't planted deeply enough, but they still grew.  Transplanted onions have a tendency to push up and bulb up on top of the soil's amazing how I don't think of all the little things to tell folks when I'm asking them to do something!...a whole new set of skills for me to learn.


I had some wwoof help keeping the bed weeded too.  
Here Pascale has moved on to the bed beside the onions.  Onions don't do so well with competition from weeds (just like garlic) but by the end of August, as they were getting bigger, there were lots of weeds again.  The weedy competition can keep the onions from getting as large as they would otherwise.

Just pulled out of the ground.

Tidied up a bit and bunched for the store shelf.
These aren't so great for storing...they'll keep a couple months, but I like them best freshly pulled and sliced into a salad with other just picked summer veggies.   Greek salad, potato salad, cucumber salad, yum yum yum. A fresh summertime eating onion.  It is so nice to have these ready for picking at suppertime!  They go with everything.

I saw these at a farmer's market a couple of years ago...I wondered about them being labelled shallots....maybe there are shallots with that name too?  They sure look similar.

I get inspired to grow things after I see them displayed at farmer's markets and specialty stores....I saw these at Union Square Greenmarket  which turned out to be a hotbed of inspiration for me.  If you're interested, the market has a great facebook page filled with fabulous photos and links.....makes me want to live in nyc!
.....and I have seeds for those lovely cipollinis and will be growing them next year....can't wait!

I got some of these Red of Florence seeds from the Baker Creek folks too.  They seem similar to tropeana lunga and I'll try them out next year.  In case you're interested, Baker Creek has an interesting onion seed selection to browse.


  1. Christina, I took the time to enjoy your lovely blog this afternoon and it is inspiring! I am in awe of the beauty of your land, your gardens and what you create there. As always, I am looking forward to seeing more updates!

  2. Hi Katherine! it's so nice to see you here...thank you for your nice comments, it's nice to know you're following....maybe you can come visit us sometime, you're always welcome! wishing you a happy autumn : )

  3. Thanks for the blog post. I am trying this variety for the first time and was trying to do some research on it. I plan on starting indoors this week and transplanting in the garden when it gets warm enough.