Planting Fall Perennial Onions and Shallots

Plant these interesting, easy-care fall perennial onions and shallots and bulbing leeks in the fall to ensure a bountiful supply for years to come.

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    Clockwise From Top: Shallots, a form o multiplying onion, are favored by chefs for their distinctive flavor, described as a blend of onion and garlic; a harvest of Japanese multiplier 'Swensen's Small'; 'Yellow' potato onions grow in a distinctive pattern.
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    Planting fall perennial onions reaps the rewards of years of good crops. These Egyptian or walking onions produce bulblets at the tops of tall stems each spring.
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    Perlzwiebel, also called Portuguese onion, is a kind of bulbing leek.
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    Elephant Garlic
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    Onion Tips

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Fall perennial onions include multiplying onions, shallots and bulbing leeks, all of which supply years of good crops.

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Most kitchen gardens contain at least one row of onions, usually planted in the spring. Less well-known are the fall-planted onions, including multiplying onions, shallots and bulbing leeks.

They offer several advantages over their spring counterparts. Fall-planted perennial onions need to go in the ground when few other garden chores demand to be done. They also tend to be more reliable and productive, less day-length sensitive and less subject to the depravations of pests and diseases than the more-familiar onions of spring.

Other than garlic, these autumn onions mostly fall into the Allium cepa var. aggregatum group, although notable exceptions include bulbing leeks (A. ampeloprasum) and the perennial Rakkyo (A. Chinese). By and large, all multiply primarily through the formation of new bulbs, which is called vegetative propagation. Most alliums do not produce seed.

Identifying autumn onions can be confusing because the same common name often is used to describe different plants. For instance, potato onions sometimes are called Egyptian onions, which actually are in the top-setting Proliferum group.

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