Back to Basics

The best of the best from the 2011 OG Test Gardens.

By Doug Hall

Photography by Christa Neu


shimonita onionOnion


This onion starts out like a typical scallion, or bunching onion, but it just keeps growing, eventually reaching the stocky size of a leek without bolting. Harvest it at any size along the way.

Seed Source: Territorial Seed Company

Growing tip: Barbara Miller, our test gardener in Boulder, Colorado, prefers the quality of onions grown from seeds to those grown from onion sets. “I start all my onion seeds really early, before anything else,” she says. Barbara grows the seedlings in a cool hoop house, but a coldframe or indoor light setup would also work. “When the seedlings are 4 to 5 inches tall and it’s time to transplant them to the garden, I soak them well and use my fingers to unbraid the tangled roots—a process that can feel a bit brutal. Each plant then gets its own hole, 4 inches or so apart, in the garden. The young onions take the rough treatment in stride.”