Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

It’s about time for all you onion lovers to plant your onion transplants.

Onions are one of the most ancient food sources on the planet today. The history of onion plants dates back at least 5,000 years. Onions were being grown all over the United States as early as the 1600s.

Today, onions are a very important part of our diets. Onions are easy to grow; they store well; they’re cheap and they add lots of flavor to many of our foods. Onion plants grow well in most climates, in most soil types and in most gardening zones. Today, the U.S. is the third-largest producer of onions in the world.

Paintings of onion plants have been found on the inner walls of some Egyptian tombs. Some tombs contain bodies of different royalty, where onion plants were placed within the coffins with the dead bodies.

During World War II, Russian soldiers were very grateful for the ability of onion plants to prevent infections. Onion juice was applied to battle wounds as an antiseptic like we would use aloe vera plants today. As onion plants were soon grown all over the world, their medicinal uses soon became very useful wherever grown.

Onions are in the allium family, which is a group of similar-tasting, onion-like plants. Onions are the most pungent of this group.

Shallots are another member of the group, but milder and similar tasting to garlic, which is also in the allium group. Green onions are also a milder tasting onion member, but more like a younger underdeveloped onion. Leeks, another member of the group, are like oversized green onions. Alliums are a very useful and different group of plants that are both used in traditional medicine and in our everyday foods.

Until next time, let’s all try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

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Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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