Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

Winter Onions and Garlic

Blackberry Farm has a good collection of winter onions and garlic that we grow here at the farm.

Everyone is familiar with the numerous varieties of onions that we see at the market throughout the year, but many people are not familiar with the many types of winter onions that gardeners once commonly grew.

There are a number of multiplier or bunching onions that can still be found here in Tennessee, but especially in the deep South. At Blackberry, we have two types of multiplier onions, which produce eight to twelve green onions. When a single onion set is planted it divides and forms additional bulbs, which send up the green onions that are enjoyed by our chef’s in their immature stage of development.

Two other varieties of multiplier onions that we plant are potato onions and tree or walking onions. When a single bulb of the potato onion is planted it will divide and produce ten to twelve onions, which range from large to medium in size, along with a cluster of small bulbs which are used for replanting the following October.

The tree or walking onions produce four or five shallot-sized bulbs and form red-purple top sets. When the stalks dry out and fall over, the top sets take root and produce a new clump of onions. When the green stalks are at a tall stage of growth they are referred to as “tree onions,” and when the top sets land some distance from the original clump, they are referred to as “walking onions.”

All of our garlic at the farm is planted in October. The garlic cloves send up new growth in late fall and early winter, and are ready for the harvest in late June to mid July.

John Coykendall, Master Gardener