Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Edible and Ornamental Alliums

***Available at The PURE Gardener NOW!
Hand selected varieties of ornamental alliums, red, yellow, & white onion bulbs, garlic, and shallots, Father Dom's Duck Doo, blood meal, and bales of straw.

Fall is upon us and while most of you are putting your gardens to rest for the long winter, Craig and I are preparing ours for our annual planting of alliums. Alliums come in all shapes and sizes. While I believe that they are all beautiful ornamentals, they can easily be divided into two categories: Edible and non- edible. Edible alliums include onions, shallots, and garlic. And within that are many many varieties. The non- edible varieties are loved for their beautiful yet strange flower heads.

But there is something that may not be known about all alliums and that is that they are mostly disease and insect resistant as well as insect, rabbit, and deer repellents. Alliums are good companion plants to roses, lettuce, carrots, beets, parsnips and members of the cabbage family, repelling such pests as aphids, Japanese beetles ( YES, YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT! ) and carrot flies.

We add new plantings of ornamental alliums each year. I like to plant little clusters around existing plants. Not only are they beautiful, but they deter, rabbits, chipmunks, aphids and the dreaded Japanese beetles!

We plant them among all of our flowers and tuck them in around every nook and cranny around our vegetables. In the Fall, we also give them full attention. One of our raised beds is dedicated to our heirloom varieties of garlic, one bed is for our California garlic, and one for a variety of onions and shallots- and this is all in our backyard in downtown Geneva, IL.

I use onions, garlic, and/ or shallots in almost every dish I make. And, knowing that they came out of my own back yard and were not sprayed with mildew or fungus inhibitors or irradiated like grocery store alliums are a plus for my family. The recipes are endless! Here is an excellent recipe for alliums found at Mother Earth News .


Ornamental alliums are planted like any other Fall bulb. Just follow directions included with purchase.

Edible alliums that are planted in the Fall are to be done as follows:

Prepare area to be planted with plenty of organic matter IE: Fall leaves, compost, etc. We like to use a combination of Father Dom's Duck Doo, Leaves, and compost that we made over the growing season in our backyard. The garlic, shallots, and onions should be planted with "points" up and a few inches under ground. We then sprinkle blood meal ( available at The PURE Gardener ) and cover with a few inches of straw ( available at The PURE Gardener ). NOW is the time to plant. We usually shoot for October 15th. That gives the alliums plenty of time to get roots atarted and shoot up a small shoot before the freeze sets in.

Craig and I have been growing alliums for years. If you need assistance or have any questions, stop by the shop and ask for either one of us. We will be glad to help you.


Coolkayaker1 said...

Wow, those are some funny looking Allium plants. I had a giant Allium in my mailbox planting this year, and I can confirm that they are very hearty and disease resistent. It was so much fun to see it growing spaceward.

I'll have to come by your store and check out some of those little fuzzy ones. Thanks for an intersting post.

The PURE Gardener, Inc. said...

You are welcome! We love alliums and have planted many, many bulbs at our home. Of course our favorites are the edible kind!

My Edible Yard said...

Love the blog. Planted my first crop of garlic this year. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

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