growing IItoi onion in northern climates....

pocketsquirrel69(z5 Ont Can)July 12, 2008


just want to know if anyone out there is growing these little beauties in zone 5 or colder. if so.... what results have you been getting? how much winter kill? how productive? ...etc.

any an all comments appreciated.

thanks folks,


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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

Matti, you coming down for the Buffalo-Niagara Tomato TasteFest 2008? Some are coming from ONT & may be carpooling. It's Saturday September 6th in Grand Island NY.

I'm on my second try here. The first time, they never showed up in Spring when I planted them in November in 12-13" deep containers.

Last year I got more and planted them earlier so they take root & get established. Don't remember exact date but maybe August or September to give them some time.

I planted 7 bulbs almost 10 inches apart each way seeing that they multiply (in my corn bed dumped on my driveway which I used as an allium bed for this year--12 varieties of onions including potato onions, walking onions & various shallots.) I planted another half dozen or so in a circular pattern in a half 55-gallon drum (plastic.)

They started growing nicely last year and returned again this year and divided up (multiplied, maybe 10x.) By Mid-late May, they started falling over, still green but a lighter shade. The tops almost looked splayed out, like an animal laid down on them, though have no pets & live in the city. Then they started drying up.

In the ground right now are pretty much clumps of maybe 10 bulbs in each spot, slightly bigger than green onion bulbs, but not round like pearl onions--more scalloped/curved like certain shallots. No green stalks are left on them, just the narrow bulb part with a dried neck on top. I didn't try any except maybe the tops of one or two in a pinch when I needed onion greens for a meal earlier in the season. At least I multiplied my initial stock! Results were about the same for the ones in the drum.

I take it they will have to be dug and replanted apart, maybe Scott will jump in here with any do's & don'ts...

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 5:48PM
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twosunsaz(z9 AZ)

Hi Matti,
Not much response from the northern growers,huh?
Was hoping to hear their comments.How did YOUR I`itoi perform this year? Mine did great,but I didn`t plant very many. Am not sure if many do`s or don`ts from zone 9 apply to zones 5 and below, but if you got any questions,just ask.

Glad to hear you got them growing. Starting in mid-May, my plants look just as you described. Only much bigger clumps if I don`t divide at least once or twice during the growing season.
Sometimes I leave the browned clump in ground all Summer. Most times I dig em up in late May,seperate, store in old shed, and replant in late Aug thru(believe it or not) Jan-Feb.
I plant at 8-12 in spacing each way into fertile soil and grow about like other multiplier onions.
Propagate by breaking large clumps into smaller clumps of 2 or more scallions each and planting where desired.
For table use , Harvest whole or partial clumps when scallions reach your favorite size.
Good Growing All,
~ Scott ~

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 6:15PM
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