Time tested perennial onions for no-effort, no-fail secure food growth

Time tested perennial onions for no-effort, no-fail secure food growth

Dakota Winter onion lives up to it's name-- a winter hardy, perennial, green bunching type onion! This heirloom onion has been growing in the Podoll’s gardens since the 1950s when William Podoll purchased the farm.

The onion is believed to have been brought over from Prussia by William’s grandparents in the late 1800s. It has survived all the fury of Dakota winters for nearly one and a half centuries. It is one of the first harvestable greens in the spring!

To harvest
We just pinch off the leaves much like you do chives and use them in stir fries and salads— wherever you would use green bunching onions. I prefer the more slender leaves to the bigger fatter ones. I leave the big leaves to feed the plant and pinch off the smaller leaves for eating!

This is not the Egyptian walking onion, which many people are more familiar with here. Dakota Winter onion does not form little bulbs up top when it flowers; it actually produces seed.

Culinary and nutritional star
This is a MUST HAVE culinary and nutritional ingredient! A single stalk of green onion can provide 16–22% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K--important for bone growth, development, and maintenance, helping prevent osteoporosis.

One cup of green onions is a great source of vitamin A, to help boost your immunity.

Onions contain antioxidants that help reduce the risk of heart disease-- fighting inflammation and lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They also contain quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that may help lower blood pressure.

As if that isn't enough-- green onions contain prebiotic fibers that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut! And who doesn't need a boost to improve digestive health these days?

A bee magnet
The flowers are highly attractive to pollinators, especially all species of bees! If you want to know what bees are sharing your space, plant these onions and when they flower, do some bee watching— and recording, if you’re into that! You will be rewarded for your efforts!

Going to seed
As they go to seed, you can collect the seeds and grow a bigger patch. Or just let the seeds fall where they are and reseed themselves. You could also collect the seeds and use them to grow onion sprouts for sandwiches or micro-greens for salads. Or use them like poppy seed on the top of onion rolls. 

To dig on not to dig
You CAN dig up the onions and use them like bunching onions but then they won’t be perennial, of course. ;-) We recommend leaving your main patch as a perennial onion patch. As your patch gets bigger, you may want to keep it in check by digging some along the outer edges, using those like bunching onions! You can also use the seeds you collect to start another ‘bunching onion’ patch, where you dig up the whole plant, leaving your perennial patch intact.

Strong roots or seed production
Another option is to cut the flowers back so you keep the roots from putting too much energy into the flowering process— just like you do garlic. Your choice— stronger roots or seed production. You get to decide! It’s a win-win!

Collecting Seed
If you let them go to seed, you could collect seed sometime in late June, early July— You'll know they’re ripe when the flowerettes dry to a tannish brown color and start to open at the top of the seed head and you can see the little black seeds inside.

When you start seeing black seeds peaking out, just cup the flower head in your hand and cut the heads with a 1-2 inch stem. Lay them out to dry on some window screens out of the sun in an area with good airflow. Fans help!

Once they reach a crispy dry stage and open up completely, place the dried flower heads into a 5-gallon pail, put the lid on, shake them to free the seeds— so they fall out of the flowers. Or you can gently rub out the seeds and screen out the flowers.

Enjoy Dakota Winter onion-- a time-tested perennial treasure! 

Your garden coach,