Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Garlic Cultivation

Scientific classification
Kingdom            : Plantae
clade                  : Angiosperms
clade                  : Monocots
Order                 : Asparagales
Family                : Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily           : Allioideae
Genus                : Allium
Species              : A. sativum
Binomial name    : Allium sativum

The word "Garlic" comes from the Old English "Garleac" which means "Spear Leek". Garlic has a long history and it is used all over the world as one of the ingredients in food recipes. It not only adds flavor to our food but it also has many health benefits.
garlic field

The scientific name of garlic is "Allium Sativum" and it belongs to the family of onion. Garlic has been regarded as one of the nature’s wonder medicine. This is because of its natural antibiotic properties and antioxidants. It contains preventive anti-cancer compounds. Garlic has a very strong flavor and is often use as one of the ingredients in food cuisines.

Origin and major types

The ancestry of cultivated garlic is not definitively established. A difficulty in the identification of its wild progenitor is the sterility of the cultivars", though it is thought to be descendent from the species Allium
flowering garlic

longicuspis, which grows wild in central and southwestern Asia. Allium sativum grows in the wild in areas where it has become naturalised. The "wild garlic", "crow garlic", and "field garlic" of Britain are members of the species Allium ursinum, Allium vineale, and Allium oleraceum, respectively. In North America, Allium
garlic mustard

vineale (known as "wild garlic" or "crow garlic") and Allium canadense, known as "meadow garlic" or "wild garlic" and "wild onion", are common weeds in fields.One of the best-known "garlics", the so-called elephant garlic, is actually a wild leek (Allium ampeloprasum), and not a true garlic. Single clove garlic (also called pearl or solo garlic) originated in the Yunnan province of China.

European garlic

Italian garlic PDO (Aglio Bianco Polesano)

There are a number of garlics with Protected Geographical Status in Europe; these include:

Aglio Bianco Polesano from Veneto, Italy (PDO)
Aglio di Voghiera from Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (PDO)
Ail blanc de Lomagne from Lomagne in the Gascony area of France (PGI)
Ail de la Drôme from Drôme in France (PGI)
Ail rose de Lautrec a rose/pink garlic from Lautrec in France (PGI)
Ajo Morado de Las Pedroñeras a rose/pink garlic from Las Pedroñeras in Spain (PGI)


While botanists classify garlic under the umbrella of the species, Allium sativum, there are also two main subspecies.

Ophioscorodon, or hard necked garlic, includes porcelain garlics, rocambole garlic, and purple stripe garlics.
Sativum, or soft necked garlic, includes artichoke garlic, silverskin garlic, and creole garlic.

Bulb garlic is available in many forms, including fresh, frozen, dried, fermented (black garlic) and shelf stable products (in tubes or jars).

Pearl or Solo garlic
solo or pearl garlic or single clove garlic

Single Clove Garlic / Solo Garlic is not much cultivated around the world and more costly.Where as multi
clove garlics are widely cultivated  and are available and relatively lower price .Single clove garlics are rarely  found .
solo or pearl garlic or single clove garlic

Not much known about this  variety . Being a rare variety this should be encouraged for cultivation around the world to make it popular .The place of origin of this variety is claimed to be  the Yunnan province in China.

Typically around 3 centimetres onwards in diameter, single clove garlic or solo garlic are white or purple in color . While it seems as if the flavor is stronger than normal garlic, it is actually quite mild and perhaps even slightly nutty. Some say it can also be used as a prophylactic for bird flu!

In  the high mountain area of Yunnan Province, it is grown with organic fertilizers without chemical pollution. The sizes are 3cm up or 3.5cm up. The harvest time is February to March every year. It is purple and white in color. It has good-looking appearance, unique flavour and prophylactic for bird flue. It has a strong fragrant taste compared with multi clove regular garlic. It also has a high nutrition content. Its price is higher than regular multi-clove garlic but those people who buy it simply love it. It is delicious!

Single Clove Garlic:

1) Size: 2.5-3.0cm, 3.0 - 3.5cm, 3.5 - 4.0cm, 4.0 - 4.5cm, 4.5 - 5.0cm
2) Supply period: March to June (fresh); July to February (cold storage)
3) Packing :100g/bag, 150g/bag, 200g/bag, 250g/bag, 500g/bag, 1kg/bag, 10kg/mesh bag,20kg/mesh bag,
    5kg/ctn, 10kg/ctn

Elephant garlic

Scientific classification

Kingdom                                                      : Plantae
(unranked)                                                   : Angiosperms
(unranked)                                                   : Monocots
Order                                                          : Asparagales
Family                                                         : Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily                                                    : Allioideae
Genus                                                         : Allium
Species                                                       : A. ampeloprasum
Subspecies                                                  : A. ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum
Trinomial name                                         : Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum 

Elephant garlic  is a plant belonging to the onion genus. It is not a true garlic, but actually a variant of the species to which the garden leek belongs. It has a
elephant garlic flower

tall, solid, flowering stalk and broad, flat leaves much like those of the leek, but forms a bulb consisting of very large, garlic-like cloves. The flavor of these, while not exactly like garlic, is much more similar to garlic than to
elephant garlic plants

leeks. The flavor is milder than garlic, and much more palatable to some people than garlic when used raw as in salads.

elephant garlic flowers
elephant garlics
Elephant garlic or Allium ampeloprasum is a variety of garlic with very large cloves and a tender, mild, slightly sweet flavor. Some consumers enjoy elephant garlic because it can be eaten raw and used in cooking for a hint of garlic flavor without being overwhelming. Others turn their noses up at elephant garlic, claiming that it is too weak to be considered a true garlic. Many grocers stock elephant garlic when it is in season, and it is also very easy to grow at home.

Technically, elephant garlic is not garlic at all. It is actually a leek, although it looks distinctly like garlic since garlic is a member of the leek family. Unlike leeks, elephant garlic has been bred to producer larger edible cloves underground, with less of a focus on the green stalks of the plant. When allowed to fully mature,elephant garlic can develop cloves which are as big as cloves of regular garlic.

The large size tricks some consumers into thinking that elephant garlic will have a large flavor. In fact, the flavor is actually quite delicate and complex, but it is also very mild, without the biting burn associated with
leek plants looks similar as elephant garlic plants

true garlic. However, this mild flavor can be used to advantage, as elephant garlic is great raw in an assortment of foods, and it can be added to dishes at the last minute for a garlicky note.
harvested elephant garlics

Elephant garlic  has a shorter shelf life than other varieties such as the pungent American garlic, so it should be kept under refrigeration and used in a timely fashion.
flowering elephant garlic plants

To grow elephant garlic, plant out separated bulbs in the fall months. Garden supply stores often sell cloves specifically for planting, although garlic from a market can be used as well. After overwintering during the fall, the elephant garlic will produce small shoots in the early spring, and the heads of garlic will mature in the mid to late summer.


The mature bulb is broken up into cloves which are quite large and with papery skins and these are used for both culinary purposes and propagation. There are also much smaller cloves with a hard shell that occur on the outside of the bulb. These are often ignored, but if they are planted, they will the first year produce a non-flowering plant which has a solid bulb, essentially a single large clove. In their second year, this single clove will break up into many separate cloves. Elephant garlic is not generally propagated by seeds.

The plant, if left alone, will spread into a clump with many flowering heads. These are often left in flower gardens as an ornamental and to discourage pests.

Field Garlic

Field garlic (Allium oleraceum) is a bulbous perennial that grows wild in dry places in northern Europe, reaching 80cm in height.
Field garlic

It reproduces by seed, bulbs and by the production of small bulblets in the flower head (similarly to the Wild Onion Allium vineale).

Unlike A. vineale however, it is very rare with Field garlic to find flower-heads containing bulbils only.

In addition, the spathe in Field garlic is in two parts.

Field garlic is native to temperate Eurasia.

It is native to Britain and is found in dry, grassy places, usually steeply sloping and calcareous soils, and on open sunny banks in river floodplains.

It favours altitudes of 0-365m. A. oleraceum is scattered throughout England and very scattered in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Erosion of coastal areas leads to a reduction in the available habitat for this species, leading to population declines.

This plant prefers partial or full exposure to sunlight.
Field Garlic tends to grow in slightly moist, heavy clay-like soil, although it will grow just fine in other soils.
This plant spreads quickly, much like a weed, and can be difficult to get rid of.

An easily grown plant, it prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil.
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply.
Seed is rarely if ever produced in Britain.

The plant usually produces many small bulbils in the flowering head and these can spread themselves freely around the garden. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other.
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.


Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates. While sexual propagation of garlic is indeed possible, nearly all of the garlic in cultivation is propagated asexually, by planting individual cloves in the ground. In cold climates, cloves are planted in the fall, about six weeks before the soil freezes, and
garlic cultivation using polethene sheets

harvested in late spring. Garlic plants are usually very hardy, and are not attacked by many pests or diseases. Garlic plants are said to repel rabbits and moles. Two of the major pathogens that attack garlic are nematodes
garlic flowers 

and white rot disease, which remain in the soil indefinitely once the ground has become infected. Garlic also can suffer from pink root, a typically nonfatal disease that stunts the roots and turns them pink or red.

Garlic plants can be grown close together, leaving enough room for the bulbs to mature, and are easily grown in containers of sufficient depth. When selecting garlic for planting, it is important to pick large heads from
garlic field

which to separate cloves. Large cloves, along with proper spacing in the planting bed, will also improve head size. Garlic plants prefer to grow in a soil with a high organic material content, but are capable of growing in a wide range of soil conditions and pH levels.

There are different types or subspecies of garlic, most notably hardneck garlic and softneck garlic. The latitude where the garlic is grown affects the choice of type as garlic can be day-length sensitive. Hardneck garlic is generally grown in cooler climates; softneck garlic is generally grown closer to the equator.
garlic field

Garlic scapes are removed to focus all the garlic's energy into bulb growth. The scapes can be eaten raw or cooked.

Harvesting of garlic

Garlic can be harvested when leaves starts becing brown .

Production trends of Garlic output in 2005

Garlic is grown globally, but China is by far the largest producer of garlic, with approximately 10.5 million tonnes (23 billion pounds) grown annually, accounting for over 77% of world output. India (4.1%) and South Korea (2%) follow, with Egypt and Russia (1.6%) tied in fourth place and the United States (where garlic is grown in every state except for Alaska) in sixth place (1.4%). This leaves 16% of global garlic production in countries that each produce less than 2% of global output. Much of the garlic production in the United States is centered in Gilroy, California, which calls itself the "garlic capital of the world".

Top 10 garlic producers — 11 June 2008
Country                      Production (tonnes) 
China                                    12,088,000
India                                          645,000
South Korea                              325,000
Egypt                                         258,608
Russia                                        254,000
United States                             221,810
Spain                                         142,400
Argentina                                   140,000
Myanmar                                   128,000
Ukraine                                      125,000
World                                    15,686,310


Culinary uses

Garlic being crushed using a garlic press

Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment.

The garlic plant's bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. With the exception of the single clove types, garlic bulbs are normally divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. Garlic cloves are used for consumption (raw or cooked) or for medicinal purposes. They have a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.

Other parts of the garlic plant are also edible. The leaves and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are sometimes eaten. They are milder in flavor than the bulbs,and are most often consumed while immature and still tender. Immature garlic is sometimes pulled, rather like a scallion, and sold as "green garlic". When green garlic is allowed to grow past the "scallion" stage, but not permitted to fully mature, it may produce a garlic "round", a bulb like a boiling onion, but not separated into cloves like a mature bulb.Additionally, the immature flower stalks (scapes) of the hardneck and elephant types are sometimes marketed for uses similar to asparagus in stir-fries.

Inedible or rarely eaten parts of the garlic plant include the "skin" and root cluster. The papery, protective layers of "skin" over various parts of the plant are generally discarded during preparation for most culinary uses, though in Korea immature whole heads are sometimes prepared with the tender skins intact. The root cluster attached to the basal plate of the bulb is the only part not typically considered palatable in any form.

Garlic is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various regions, including eastern Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America. The flavour varies in intensity and aroma with the differe, are common weeds in fields.One of the/tbod
y best-known . When green garlic is allowed to grow past the nt cooking methods. It is often paired with onion, tomato, or ginger. The parchment-like skin is much like the skin of an onion, and is typically removed before using in raw or cooked form. An alternative is to cut the top off the bulb, coat the cloves by dribbling olive oil (or other oil-based seasoning) over them, and roast them in an oven. Garlic softens and can be extracted from the cloves by squeezing the (root) end of the bulb, or individually by squeezing one end of the clove. In Korea, heads of garlic are fermented at high temperature; the resulting product, called black garlic, is sweet and syrupy, and is now being sold in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Garlic may be applied to breads to create a variety of classic dishes, such as garlic bread, garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini and canapé.

Garlic being rubbed onto a slice of bread

Oils can be flavored with garlic cloves. These infused oils are used to season all categories of vegetables, meats, breads and pasta.

In some cuisines, the young bulbs are pickled for three to six weeks in a mixture of sugar, salt, and spices. In eastern Europe, the shoots are pickled and eaten as an appetizer.

Immature scapes are tender and edible. They are also known as "garlic spears", "stems", or "tops". Scapes generally have a milder taste than the cloves. They are often used in stir frying or braised like asparagus. Garlic leaves are a popular vegetable in many parts of Asia. The leaves are cut, cleaned, and then stir-fried with eggs, meat, or vegetables.

Mixing garlic with egg yolks and olive oil produces aioli. Garlic, oil, and a chunky base produce skordalia. Blending garlic, almond, oil, and soaked bread produces ajoblanco.

Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic. If used as a substitute for fresh garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to one clove of garlic.


Domestically, garlic is stored warm [above 18 °C (64 °F)] and dry to keep it dormant (so it does not sprout). It is traditionally hung; softneck varieties are often braided in strands called plaits or grappes. Peeled cloves may be stored in wine or vinegar in the refrigerator. Commercially, garlic is stored at 0 °C (32 °F), in a dry, low-humidity environment. Garlic will keep longer if the tops remain attached.

Garlic is often kept in oil to produce flavoured oil; however, the practice requires measures to be taken to prevent the garlic from spoiling. Untreated garlic kept in oil can support the growth of Clostridium botulinum which causes the deadly botulism illness; refrigeration will not assure the safety of garlic kept in oil. To reduce this risk, the oil should be refrigerated and used within one week. Commercially prepared oils are widely available. Manufacturers add acids and/or other chemicals to eliminate the risk of botulism in their products. Two outbreaks of botulism related to garlic stored in oil have been reported.

Historical use

Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating at least as far back as when the Giza pyramids were built. Garlic is still grown in Egypt, but the Syrian variety is the kind most esteemed now .

Garlic is mentioned in the Bible and the Talmud. Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder, and Dioscorides all mention the use of garlic for many conditions, including parasites, respiratory problems, poor digestion, and low energy. Its use in China was first mentioned in AD 510.

It was consumed by ancient Greek and Roman soldiers, sailors, and rural classes , and, according to Pliny the Elder , by the African peasantry. Galen eulogizes it as the "rustic's theriac" (cure-all) , and Alexander Neckam, a writer of the 12th century , recommends it as a palliative for the heat of the sun in field labor.

In the account of Korea's establishment as a nation, gods were said to have given mortal women with bear and tiger temperaments an immortal's black garlic before mating with them. This is a genetically unique, six-clove garlic that was to have given the women supernatural powers and immortality. This garlic is still cultivated in a few mountain areas today.

In his Natural History, Pliny gives an exceedingly long list of scenarios in which it was considered beneficial . Dr. T. Sydenham valued it as an application in confluent smallpox, and, says Cullen , found some dropsies cured by it alone. Early in the 20th century, it was sometimes used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis or phthisis.

Garlic was rare in traditional English cuisine (though it is said to have been grown in England before 1548) and has been a much more common ingredient in Mediterranean Europe. Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at crossroads, as a supper for Hecate . A similar practice of hanging garlic, lemon and red chilli at the door or in a shop to ward off potential evil, is still very common in India. According to Pliny, garlic and onions were invoked as deities by the Egyptians at the taking of oaths. The inhabitants of Pelusium, in lower Egypt (who worshiped the onion), are said to have had an aversion to both onions and garlic as food.

To prevent the plant from running to leaf, Pliny  advised bending the stalk downward and covering with earth; seeding, he observes, may be prevented by twisting the stalk .

Medicinal use and health benefits

In in vitro studies, garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. However, these actions are less clear in vivo. Garlic is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer. Garlic is used to prevent certain types of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers. In fact, countries where garlic is consumed in higher amounts, because of traditional cuisine, have been found to have a lower prevalence of cancer. Animal studies, and some early research studies in humans, have suggested possible cardiovascular benefits of garlic. A Czech study found garlic supplementation reduced accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls of animals. Another study had similar results, with garlic supplementation significantly reducing aortic plaque deposits of cholesterol-fed rabbits. Another study showed supplementation with garlic extract inhibited vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol. The known vasodilative effect of garlic is possibly caused by catabolism of garlic-derived polysulfides to hydrogen sulfide in red blood cells (RBCs), a reaction that is dependent on reduced thiols in or on the RBC membrane. Hydrogen sulfide is an endogenous cardioprotective vascular cell-signaling molecule.

A randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2007 found the consumption of garlic in any form did not reduce blood cholesterol levels in patients with moderately high baseline cholesterol levels.According to Heart.org, "despite decades of research suggesting that garlic can improve cholesterol profiles, a new NIH-funded trial found absolutely no effects of raw garlic or garlic supplements on LDL, HDL, or triglycerides... The findings underscore the hazards of meta-analyses made up of small, flawed studies and the value of rigorously studying popular herbal remedies". In an editorial regarding the initial report's findings, two physicians from Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, pointed out that there may "be effects of garlic on atherosclerosis specifically that were not picked up in the study".

Allium sativum has been found to reduce platelet aggregationand hyperlipidemia.

In 2007, the BBC reported Allium sativum may have other beneficial properties, such as preventing and fighting the common cold. This assertion has the backing of long tradition in herbal medicine, which has used garlic for hoarseness and coughs. The Cherokee also used it as an expectorant for coughs and croup.

Garlic is also alleged to help regulate blood sugar levels. Regular and prolonged use of therapeutic amounts of aged garlic extracts lower blood homocysteine levels and has been shown to prevent some complications of diabetes mellitus. People taking insulin should not consume medicinal amounts of garlic without consulting a physician.

In 1858, Louis Pasteur observed garlic's antibacterial activity, and it was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II. More recently, it has been found from a clinical trial that a mouthwash containing 2.5% fresh garlic shows good antimicrobial activity, although the majority of the participants reported an unpleasant taste and halitosis.

Garlic cloves are used as a remedy for infections (especially chest problems), digestive disorders, and fungal infections such as thrush. Garlic can be used as a disinfectant because of its bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal properties.

Garlic has been found to enhance thiamin absorption, and therefore reduces the likelihood for developing the thiamin deficiency beriberi.

In 1924, it was found to be an effective way to prevent scurvy, because of its high vitamin C content.

Garlic has been used reasonably successfully in AIDS patients to treat Cryptosporidium in an uncontrolled study in China. It has also been used by at least one AIDS patient to treat toxoplasmosis, another protozoal disease.

Garlic supplementation has been shown to boost testosterone levels in rats fed a high protein diet.

A 2010 double-blind, parallel, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, involving 50 patients whose routine clinical records in general practice documented treated but uncontrolled hypertension, concluded, "Our trial suggests that aged garlic extract is superior to placebo in lowering systolic blood pressure similarly to current first line medications in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension."

Other uses
The sticky juice within the bulb cloves is used as an adhesive in mending glass and porcelain in China.

Adverse effects and toxicology

Garlic is known for causing halitosis, as well as causing sweat to have a pungent 'garlicky' smell, which is caused by allyl methyl sulfide (AMS). AMS is a gas which is absorbed into the blood during the metabolism of garlic; from the blood it travels to the lungs[citation needed] (and from there to the mouth, causing bad breath) and skin, where it is exuded through skin pores. Washing the skin with soap is only a partial and imperfect solution to the smell. Studies have shown sipping milk at the same time as consuming garlic can significantly neutralize bad breath. Mixing garlic with milk in the mouth before swallowing reduced the odor better than drinking milk afterward. Plain water, mushrooms and basil may also reduce the odor; the mix of fat and water found in milk, however, was the most effective.

The green, dry 'folds' in the center of the garlic clove are especially pungent. The sulfur compound allicin, produced by crushing or chewing fresh garlic, produces other sulfur compounds: ajoene, allyl sulfides, and vinyldithiins. Aged garlic lacks allicin, but may have some activity due to the presence of S-allylcysteine.

In a rat study allicin was found to be an activator of TRPA1. The neurons released neurotransmitters in the spinal cord to generate pain signals and released neuropeptides at the site of sensory nerve activation, resulting in vasodilation, as well as inflammation. Allicin is released only by crushing or chewing raw garlic and cannot be formed from cooked garlic.

Some people suffer from allergies to garlic and other plants in the allium family. Symptoms can include irritable bowel, diarrhea, mouth and throat ulcerations, nausea, breathing difficulties, and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis. Garlic-sensitive patients show positive tests to diallyl disulfide, allylpropyldisulfide, allylmercaptan and allicin, all of which are present in garlic. People who suffer from garlic allergies will often be sensitive to many plants, including onions, garlic, chives, leeks, shallots, garden lilies, ginger, and bananas.

It thins the blood (as does aspirin); this had caused very high quantities of garlic and garlic supplements to be linked with an increased risk of bleeding, particularly during pregnancy and after surgery and childbirth, although culinary quantities are safe for consumption.

Several reports of serious burns resulting from garlic being applied topically for various purposes, including naturopathic uses and acne treatment, indicate care must be taken for these uses, usually testing a small area of skin using a very low concentration of garlic.On the basis of numerous reports of such burns, including burns to children, topical use of raw garlic, as well as insertion of raw garlic into body cavities, is discouraged. In particular, topical application of raw garlic to young children is not advisable. The side effects of long-term garlic supplementation, if any exist, are largely unknown, and no FDA-approved study has been performed. However, garlic has been consumed for several thousand years without any adverse long-term effects, suggesting modest quantities of garlic pose, at worst, minimal risks to normal individuals. Possible side effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, sweating, dizziness, allergic reactions, bleeding, and menstrual irregularities. The safety of garlic supplements had not been determined for children.; some breastfeeding mothers have found their babies slow to feed and have noted a garlic odour coming from their baby when they have consumed garlic.

Garlic may interact with warfarin, antiplatelets, saquinavir, antihypertensives, calcium channel blockers, quinolone family of antibiotics such as Cipro,and hypoglycemic drugs, as well as other medications. Members of the alium family might be toxic to cats or dogs.Some degree of liver toxicity has been demonstrated in rats, particularly in extremely large quantities exceeding those that a rat would consume under normal situations.

Garlic, rawNutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy                                       623 kJ (149 kcal)
Carbohydrates                          33.06 g
- Sugars                                       1.00g
- Dietary fiber                               2.1 g
Fat                                               0.5 g
Protein                                       6.39 g
- beta-carotene                             5 μg (0%)
Thiamine (vit. B1)                       0.2 mg (17%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)                   0.11 mg (9%)
Niacin (vit. B3)                          0.7 mg (5%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)             0.596 mg (12%)
Vitamin B6                             1.235 mg (95%)
Folate (vit. B9)                              3 μg (1%)
Vitamin C                                31.2 mg (38%)
Calcium                                    181 mg (18%)
Iron                                           1.7 mg (13%)
Magnesium                                 25 mg (7%)
Phosphorus                               153 mg (22%)
Potassium                                 401 mg (9%)
Sodium                                       17 mg (1%)
Zinc                                         1.16 mg (12%)
Manganese                             1.672 mg
Selenium                                   14.2 μg

When crushed, Allium sativum yields allicin, an antibiotic and antifungal compound (phytoncide). It has been claimed that it can be used as a home remedy to help speed recovery from strep throat or other minor ailments because of its antibiotic properties. It also contains the sulfur-containing compounds alliin, ajoene, diallylsulfide, dithiin, S-allylcysteine, and enzymes, B vitamins, proteins, minerals, saponins, flavonoids, and Maillard reaction products, which are not sulfur-containing compounds. Furthermore, a phytoalexin (allixin) was found, a nonsulfur compound with a γ-pyrone skeleton structure with antioxidant effects, antimicrobial effects, antitumor promoting effects, inhibition of aflatoxin B2 DNA binding, and neurotrophic effects. Allixin showed an antitumor promoting effect in vivo, inhibiting skin tumor formation by TPA and DMBA initiated mice.Analogs of this compound have exhibited antitumor promoting effects in in vitro experimental conditions. Herein, allixin and/or its analogs may be expected useful compounds for cancer prevention or chemotherapy agents for other diseases.

The composition of the bulbs is approximately
                              84.09% water,
                              13.38% organic matter, and
                                1.53% inorganic matter,
while the leaves are
                              87.14% water,
                              11.27% organic matter, and
                                1.59% inorganic matter.

The phytochemicals responsible for the sharp flavor of garlic are produced when the plant's cells are damaged. When a cell is broken by chopping, chewing, or crushing, enzymes stored in cell vacuoles trigger the breakdown of several sulfur-containing compounds stored in the cell fluids. The resultant compounds are responsible for the sharp or hot taste and strong smell of garlic. Some of the compounds are unstable and continue to react over time. Among the members of the onion family, garlic has by far the highest concentrations of initial reaction products, making garlic much more potent than onions, shallots, or leeks. Although many humans enjoy the taste of garlic, these compounds are believed to have evolved as a defensive mechanism, deterring animals such as birds, insects, and worms from eating the plant.

A large number of sulfur compounds contribute to the smell and taste of garlic. Diallyl disulfide is believed to be an important odor component. Allicin has been found to be the compound most responsible for the "hot" sensation of raw garlic. This chemical opens thermotransient receptor potential channels that are responsible for the burning sense of heat in foods. The process of cooking garlic removes allicin, thus mellowing its spiciness.

Because of its strong odor, garlic is sometimes called the "stinking rose". When eaten in quantity, garlic may be strongly evident in the diner's sweat and breath the following day. This is because garlic's strong-smelling sulfur compounds are metabolized, forming allyl methyl sulfide. Allyl methyl sulfide (AMS) cannot be digested and is passed into the blood. It is carried to the lungs and the skin, where it is excreted. Since digestion takes several hours, and release of AMS several hours more, the effect of eating garlic may be present for a long time.

This well-known phenomenon of "garlic breath" is alleged to be alleviated by eating fresh parsley. The herb is, therefore, included in many garlic recipes, such as pistou, persillade, and the garlic butter spread used in garlic bread. However, since the odour results mainly from digestive processes placing compounds such as AMS in the blood, and AMS is then released through the lungs over the course of many hours, eating parsley provides only a temporary masking. One way of accelerating the release of AMS from the body is the use of a sauna.

Because of the AMS in the bloodstream, it is believed by some to act as a mosquito repellent, but no clinically reported evidence suggests it is actually effective.

Spiritual and religious perceptions

Garlic has been regarded as a force for both good and evil. According to Cassell's Dictionary of Superstitions, there is an Islamic myth that considers that after Satan left the Garden of Eden, garlic arose in his left footprint and onion in the right. In Europe, many cultures have used garlic for protection or white magic, perhaps owing to its reputation as a potent preventative medicine. Central European folk beliefs considered garlic a powerful ward against demons, werewolves, and vampires. To ward off vampires, garlic could be worn, hung in windows, or rubbed on chimneys and keyholes.

In connection with the odor associated with garlic, Islam views eating garlic and subsequently going to the mosque as inappropriate because the smell from the mouth will irritate the fellow worshippers.

In both Hinduism and Jainism, garlic is considered to stimulate and warm the body and to increase one's desires. Some devout Hindus generally avoid using garlic and the related onion in the preparation of foods for religious festivities and events. Followers of the Jain religion avoid eating garlic and onion on a daily basis.

A belief among some sections of Hindus is that when Devas and Asuras fought for nectar during churning of the ocean of milk (Samundar mathan) in the other world, two Asuras were able to get access to nectar and had some quantity in their mouths in stealthy ways. Knowing Asuras' foul play the God made a cuff on heads of those Asuras before they could swallow it and as a result nector fell down on the earth from their mouths in drops which later grew as garlic and that is why the vegetable has such wonderful medicinal properties.

In some Buddhist traditions, garlic - along with the other five "pungent spices" - is understood to stimulate sexual and aggressive drives to the detriment of meditation practice.

Nutritional Value of Garlic :

1. High in Manganese, Vitamin B6 and C.
2. Low in saturated fat, Sugar and Sodium.
3. High in Calcium, Phosphorus and Selenium
4. No Cholesterol

Though garlic is relatively safe to eat and use as medicinal property, certain precautions should be taken by people when using garlic or garlic supplements. People with digestive problems should be cautious about their intake of garlic as high doses can irritate the intestinal tract. It is always wise to check with your doctor.
There are garlic pills available in the market just in case one  does not want to eat raw garlic. But  some people may be allergic to garlic.

Garlic has been considered as one of the oldest medicinal herb. It has properties that can cure many ailments. Researchers and Scientists have been studying its health benefits for quite a long time.

Health Benefits of Garlic

1. The most common ailment such as cold or flu can be treated with garlic. You can consume raw, fresh,
    crushed garlic to give boost to your natural defence system in your body.

2. A study has shown that garlic helps in lowering cholesterol level in our body.

3. Garlic helps to relieve acidity and gas.

4. Garlic can reduce your High Blood Pressure by 5 to 10 percent. 2-3 garlic cloves a day is good.

5. Garlic promotes the well being of the heart by minimising the risks of heart attack or stroke.

6. Garlic helps to strengthen your body against allergies since it has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
    It can prevent and cure skin problems.

7. It thins the blood and helps us to prevent blood clots in our body.

8. Regular intake of garlic helps to lower the risk of colon cancer.

9. Garlic regulate the blood sugar levels by increasing the release of insulin in diabetics.

10. Garlic has been known to reduce inflammation such as Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis in
       people making it beneficial.

11. It is nutritious and rich in Vitamin B6.

12. Helps to expel intestinal parasites & worms from our body.
nbsp; 5

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Onion cultivation

Scientific classification

Kingdom         : Plantae
clade               : Angiosperms
clade               : Monocots
Order              : Asparagales
Family             : Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily        : Allioideae
Genus             : Allium
Species           : A. cepa
Binomial name : Allium cepa

The onion (Allium cepa), also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion (A. fistulosum), Egyptian onion (A. ×proliferum), and Canada onion (A. canadense). The name "wild onion" is applied to a number of Allium species.

The vast majority of cultivars of A. cepa belong to the 'common onion group' (A. cepa var. cepa) and are

usually referred to simply as 'onions'. The 'Aggregatum group' of cultivars (A. cepa var. aggregatum) includes both shallots and potato onions.

Allium cepa is known only in cultivation, but related wild species occur in Central Asia. The most closely related species include Allium vavilovii (Popov & Vved.) and Allium asarense (R.M. Fritsch & Matin) from Iran. However, Zohary and Hopf warn that "there are doubts whether the A. vavilovii collections tested represent genuine wild material or only feral derivatives of the crop."


Variety Selection

The size of the onion bulb is dependent upon the number and size of the green leaves or tops at the time of bulb maturity. For each leaf there will be a ring of onion; the larger the leaf, the larger the ring will be. The onion will first form a top and then, depending on the onion variety and length of daylight, start to form the
tree onion

bulb. Onions are characterized by day length; "long-day" onion varieties will quit forming tops and begin to form bulbs when the daylength reaches 14 to 16 hours while "short-day" onions will start making bulbs much earlier in the year when there are only 10 to 12 hours of daylight. A general rule of them is that "long-day" onions do better in northern states (north of 36th parallel) while "short-day" onions do better in states south of that line.

Onions From Seed

Mid to late October is the best time to plant seed of the super sweet, short-to-intermediate daylength onion . Seeds can be sown directly into the garden, covered with one-fourth inch of soil and should sprout within 7- 10 days. If planted thickly, plants can be pulled and utilized as green onions or scallions for salads or fresh eating in 8-10 weeks. However, most gardeners want to grow an onion bulb as large as a basketball. To do this, the onion plants must be thinned by next February until they are at least 2-3 inches apart to insure adequate bulb expansion. The removed plants can be used for scallions or for transplanting into another area of the garden so that these too will have adequate space in which to enlarge into large bulbs.

Fertilization of onion plants is vital to success. Research findings indicate that onion growth and yield can be greatly enhanced by banding phosphorus 2-3 inches below seed at planting time. This phosphorus acts as a starter solution which invigorates the growth of young seedlings. Banding phosphorus, such as super phosphate (0-20-0), 2-3 inches below the seed involves making a trench 3 inches deep, distributing one-half cup of super phosphate per 10 row feet, covering the phosphate with soil, sowing seed and covering lightly with one-half inch or less of soil. Once established, onion plants should receive additional amounts of fertilizer (21-0-0 - Ammonium sulfate or Ammonium nitrate) as a side-dress application every month.

Flowering causes a decrease in bulb size as well as a central flower stalk which enhances decay during storage. This is exactly what will happen to those who are planting onion transplants or sets in October or November with the hope of large onions next spring. The onion bulbs which produce a flower stalk may be large but they will be light-weight (one-half the weight of a comparable size, non-flowered onion bulb) and prone to decay. The best way to insure success is to either plant the onion seed from October 1 until November 15 or plant transplants from January through February  .


After  receiving live plants, they should be planted as soon as possible. If  plants are not  planted right away,
the onion plants are to be removed from the box and spread them out in a cool, dry area. The roots and tops may begin to dry out but need  not be alarmed, the onion is a member of the lily family and as such will live for approximately three weeks off the bulb. The first thing that the onion will do after planting will be to shoot new roots.

Preparing the Soil

Onions are best grown on raised beds at least four inches high and 20 inches wide. Onion growth and yield can be greatly enhanced by banding a fertilizer rich in phosphorous (10-20-10) 2 to 3 inches below
onion seeds

transplants at planting time. A trench is to be made on the top of the bed fours inches deep, distribute one-half cup of the fertilizer per 10 linear feet of row, cover the fertilizer with two inches of soil and plant the transplants.


Plants to be set out approximately one inch deep with a four inch spacing. On the raised bed, two rows on each bed to be set , four inches in from the side of the row. If some green onions are  to be  harvested during the growing season as green onions, then plants  may be  planted as close as two inches apart. Every other one is to be pulled out, prior to them beginning to bulb, leaving some for larger onions.

Fertilization and Growing Tips

Onions require a high source of nitrogen. A nitrogen-based fertilizer (ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate) should be applied at the rate of one cup per twenty feet of row. The first application should be about three weeks after planting and then continue with applications every 2 to 3 weeks. Once the neck starts feeling soft do not apply any more fertilizer. This should occur approximately 4 weeks prior to harvest. Always water immediately after feeding and maintain moisture during the growing season. The closer to harvest the more water the onion will require. For weed control a pre-emergent herbicide (DACTHAL in USA) should be applied prior to planting. This will provide weed control for approximately one month after planting. Other products such as GOAL and BUCTRIL, can assist in weed control during the growing season.  For organic gardeners a rich compost high in Nitrogen should be incorporated into the soil.  As the onion begins to bulb the soil around the bulb should be loose so the onion is free to expand.

Disease and Insect Control

The two major diseases that will affect onions are blight and purple blotch. Should the leaves turn pale-green, then yellow, blight has probably affected the plant. Purple blotch causes purple lesions on the leaves. Heavy dew and foggy weather favor their rapid spread, and when prolonged rainy spells occur in warm weather, these diseases can be very destructive. The best cure is prevention: use only well-drained soil, run the rows in the same direction as prevailing wind and avoid windbreaks or other protection. Should conditions persist, a spray with a multipurpose fungicide such as daconil(in USA) can be applied on a 7 to 10 day schedule.

The insect that causes the most damage is the onion thrip. They feed by rasping the surface of the leaves and sucking the liberated juices. They are light-brown in color and are approximately 1mm long. The most available insecticides are Malathion or Diazinon, or an insecticidal soap or biological insecticide may be used.


Flowering of onions can be caused by several things but usually the most prevalent is temperature fluctuation. An onion is classed as a biennial which means it normally takes 2 years to go from seed to seed. Temperature is the controlling or triggering factor in this process. If an onion plant is exposed to alternating cold and warm temperatures resulting in the onion plant going dormant, resuming growth, going dormant and then resuming growth again, the onion bulbs prematurely flower or bolt. The onion is deceived into believing it has

completed two growth cycles or years of growth in its biennial life cycle so it finalizes the cycle by blooming. Flowering can be controlled by planting the right variety at the right time. Use only transplants that are pencil-sized or smaller in diameter when planting in early spring or always plant seed .

What To Do About Flowering?

What can one do if flower stalks appear? Should the flower stalks be removed from the onion plants? Suit yourself but once the onion plant has bolted, or sent up a flower stalk, there is nothing you can do to eliminate this problem. The onion bulbs will be edible but smaller. Use these onions as soon as possible because the green flower stalk which emerges through the center of the bulb will make storage almost impossible. Seedstalk formation (bolting) of garlic is not induced by exposure to fluctuating temperatures, as is the case with onions, which means that a wide range of fall planting dates is permissible for this crop. Seedstalk

formation is also not damaging to garlic since the cloves are arranged around the seedstalk and will be removed from the dried seedstalk. Conversely, the edible onion bulb is penetrated by the seedstalk which is hard when the bulb is harvested, but prematurely decays causing loss of the entire bulb in storage. When the tops become yellowish and partly dry, garlic is ready for harvest.

Harvesting And Storage

Onions are fully mature when their tops have fallen over. After pulling from the ground allow the onion to dry, clip the roots and cut the tops back to one inch. The key to preserving onions and to prevent bruising is to

keep them cool, dry and separated. In the refrigerator, wrapped separately in foil, onions can be preserved for as long as a year. The best way to store onions is in a mesh bag or nylon stocking. Place an onion in the bag and tie a knot or put a plastic tie between the onions and continue until the stocking is full. Loop the stocking over a rafter or nail in a cool dry building and when an onion is desired, simply clip off the bottom

onion with a pair of scissors or remove the plastic tie. Another suggestion is to spread the onions out on a screen which will allow adequate ventilation, but remember to keep them from touching each other. As a general rule, the sweeter the onion, the higher the water content, and therefore the less shelf life. A more pungent onion will store longer so eat the sweet varieties first and save the more pungent onions for storage.


Onions are often chopped and used an ingredient in various hearty warm dishes, although onions can also be a more prominent ingredient, for example in French onion soup, or be used raw in cold salads. Onions pickled in vinegar are eaten as a snack. These are often served as a side serving in fish and chip shops throughout the United Kingdom and Australia, often served with cheese in the United Kingdom, and are referred to simply as "pickled onions" in Eastern Europe.

Onion types and products

Common onions are normally available in three colors: yellow, red, and white. Yellow onions are full-flavored and are a reliable standby for cooking almost anything. Yellow onions turn a rich, dark brown when cooked and give French onion soup its tangy sweet flavor. The red onion is a good choice for fresh uses or in grilling and char-broiling. White onions are the traditional onion used in classic Mexican cuisine. They have a golden color and sweet flavor when sautéed.

While the large mature onion bulb is the onion most often eaten, onions can be eaten at immature stages. Young plants may be harvested before bulbing occurs and used whole as scallions. When an onion is harvested after bulbing has begun but the onion is not yet mature, the plants are sometimes referred to as summer onions.

Additionally, onions may be bred and grown to mature at smaller sizes. Depending on the mature size and the purpose for which the onion is used, these may be referred to as pearl, boiler, or pickler onions.

(However, true pearl onions are a different species.) Pearl and boiler onions may be cooked as a vegetable rather than an ingredient. Pickler onions are, unsurprisingly, often pickled.

Onion seed may be "sprouted", and the resulting sprouts used in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.

Onions are available in fresh, frozen, canned, caramelized, pickled, powdered, chopped, and dehydrated forms.

Onion powder is a spice used for seasoning in cooking. It is made from finely ground, dehydrated onions, mainly the pungent varieties of bulb onions, which causes the powder to have a very strong odor. Onion powder comes in a few varieties: white, yellow, red and toasted.

Culinary uses

Onions have particularly large cells that are readily observed at low magnification; consequently, onion tissue is frequently used in science education for demonstrating microscope usage.

Onion skins have been used for dye.

Historical uses

Bulbs from the onion family are thought to have been used as a food source for millennia. In Bronze Age settlements, traces of onion remains were found alongside fig and date stones dating back to 5000 BC.

However, it is not clear if these were cultivated onions. Archaeological and literary evidence such as the Book of Numbers 11:5 suggests cultivation probably took place around two thousand years later in ancient Egypt,

at the same time that leeks and garlic were cultivated. Workers who built the Egyptian pyramids may have been fed radishes and onions.

The onion is easily propagated, transported and stored. The ancient Egyptians worshipped it, believing its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life. Onions were even used in Egyptian burials, as evidenced by onion traces being found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV.

In ancient Greece, athletes ate large quantities of onion because it was believed to lighten the balance of blood. Roman gladiators were rubbed down with onion to firm up their muscles. In the Middle Ages, onions were such an important food that people would pay their rent with onions, and even give them as gifts. Doctors were known to prescribe onions to facilitate bowel movements and erections, and also to relieve headaches, coughs, snakebite and hair loss.

The cultivated onion was introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus on his 1492 expedition to Hispaniola; however, they found that strains of wild onions already grew throughout North America. Native American Indians used wild onions in a variety of ways, eating them raw or cooked, as a seasoning or as a vegetable. Such onions were also used in syrups, as poultices, as an ingredient in dyes and even as toys.

Onions were also prescribed by doctors in the early 16th century to help with infertility in women, and even dogs, cats and cattle and many other household pets. However, recent evidence has shown that dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and other animals should not be given onions in any form, due to toxicity during digestion.

Medicinal properties and health effects of onions

Wide-ranging claims have been made for the effectiveness of onions against conditions ranging from the common cold to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other diseases. They contain chemical compounds believed to have anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant properties, such as quercetin. Preliminary studies have shown increased consumption of onions reduces the risk of head and neck cancers.

Among all varieties, Asian white onions have the most eye irritating chemical reaction. Regular use of white onion, if eaten raw, is claimed to be good due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In India some sects do not eat onions as they believe them to be an aphrodisiac; various schools of Buddhism also advise against eating onions and other vegetables of the Allium family.

An application of raw onion is also said to be helpful in reducing swelling from bee stings.

Onions may be beneficial for women, who are at increased risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause, by destroying osteoclasts so they do not break down bone.

An American chemist has stated the pleiomeric chemicals in onions have the potential to alleviate or prevent sore throat. Onion in combination with jaggery has been widely used as a traditional household remedy for sore throat in India.

Shallots have the most phenols, six times the amount found in Vidalia onion, the variety with the lowest phenolic content. Shallots also have the most antioxidant activity, followed by Western Yellow, pungent yellow , Northern Red, Mexico, Empire Sweet, Western White, Peruvian Sweet, Texas 1015, Imperial Valley Sweet, and Vidalia. Western Yellow onions have the most flavonoids, eleven times the amount found in Western White, the variety with the lowest flavonoid content.

For all varieties of onions, the more phenols and flavonoids they contain, the more reputed antioxidant and anticancer activity they provide. When tested against liver and colon cancer cells in laboratory studies, 'Western Yellow', pungent yellow (New York Bold)[28] and shallots were most effective in inhibiting their growth. The milder-tasting cultivars (i.e., 'Western White,' 'Peruvian Sweet,' 'Empire Sweet,' 'Mexico,' 'Texas 1015,' 'Imperial Valley Sweet' and 'Vidalia') showed little cancer-fighting ability.

Shallots and ten other onion (Allium cepa L.) varieties commonly available in the United States were evaluated: Western Yellow, Northern Red, pungent yellow , Western White, Peruvian Sweet, Empire Sweet, Mexico, Texas 1015, Imperial Valley Sweet, and Vidalia. In general, the most pungent onions delivered many times the effects of their milder cousins.

The 3-mercapto-2-methylpentan-1-ol in onion was found to inhibit peroxynitrite-induced mechanisms in vitro.

While members of the onion family appear to have medicinal properties for humans, they can be deadly for dogs, cats, and guinea pigs.

Eye irritation

Onions are sliced or eaten, cells are broken, allowing enzymes called alliinases to break down amino acid sulphoxides and generate sulphenic acids. A specific sulfenic acid, 1-propenesulfenic acid, formed when onions are cut, is rapidly rearranged by a second enzyme, called the lachrymatory factor synthase or LFS, giving syn-propanethial-S-oxide, a volatile gas known as the onion lachrymatory factor or LF. The LF gas diffuses through the air and eventually reaches the eye, where it activates sensory neurons, creating a stinging sensation. Tear glands produce tears to dilute and flush out the irritant.Chemicals that exhibit such an effect on the eyes are known as lachrymatory agents.

Supplying ample water to the reaction while peeling onions prevents the gas from reaching the eyes. Eye irritation can, therefore, be avoided by cutting onions under running water or submerged in a basin of water. Another way to reduce irritation is by chilling, or by not cutting off the root of the onion (or by doing it last), as the root of the onion has a higher concentration of enzymes. Using a sharp blade to chop onions will limit the cell damage and the release of enzymes that drive the irritation response. Chilling or freezing onions prevents the enzymes from activating, limiting the amount of gas generated.

Eye irritation can also be avoided by having a fan blow the gas away from the eyes, or by wearing goggles or any eye protection that creates a seal around the eye. Contact lens wearers may also experience less immediate irritation as a result of the slight protection afforded by the lenses themselves.

The amount of sulfenic acids and LF released and the irritation effect differs among Allium species. On January 31, 2008, the New Zealand Crop and Food institute created a strain of "no tears" onions by using gene-silencing biotechnology to prevent synthesis by the onions of the lachrymatory factor synthase enzyme.


Onions may be grown from seed or, more commonly today, from sets started from seed the previous year. Onion sets are produced by sowing seed very thickly one year, resulting in stunted plants that produce very small bulbs. These bulbs are very easy to set out and grow into mature bulbs the following year, but they have the reputation of producing a less durable bulb than onions grown directly from seed and thinned.

Seed-bearing onions are day-length sensitive; their bulbs begin growing only after the number of daylight hours has surpassed some minimal quantity. Most traditional European onions are what is referred to as "long-day" onions, producing bulbs only after 15+ hours of daylight occur. Southern European and North African varieties are often known as "intermediate day" types, requiring only 12–13 hours of daylight to stimulate bulb formation. Finally, "short-day" onions, which have been developed in more recent times, are planted in mild-winter areas in the fall and form bulbs in the early spring, and require only 9–10 hours of sunlight to stimulate bulb formation.

Either planting method may be used to produce spring onions or green onions, which are the leaves of immature plants. Green onion is a name also used to refer to another species, Allium fistulosum, the Welsh onion, which does not form bulbs.

The tree onion produces bulblets instead of flowers and seeds, which can be planted directly in the ground.

I'itoi onion (Allium cepa) is a prolific multiplier onion cultivated near Baboquiviri, Arizona. They have a shallot-like flavor. They are easy to grow and ideal for hot, dry climates. To grow them, separate bulbs, and plant in the fall 1 inch below surface and 12 inches apart. Bulbs will multiply into clumps and can be harvested throughout the cooler months. Tops will die back in the heat of summer and may return with monsoon rains; bulbs can remain in the ground or be harvested and stored in a cool dry place for planting in the fall. The plants rarely flower; propagation is by division.

Raw OnionsNutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy                              166 kJ (40 kcal)
Carbohydrates                  9.34 g
- Sugars                            4.24 g
- Dietary fiber                    1.7 g
Fat                                     0.1 g
- saturated                         0.042 g
- monounsaturated             0.013 g
- polyunsaturated               0.017 g
Protein                              1.1 g
Water                             89.11 g
Vitamin A equiv                  . 0 μg (0%)
Thiamine (vit. B1)             0.046 mg (4%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)           0.027 mg (2%)
Niacin (vit. B3)                0.116 mg (1%)
Vitamin B6                       0.12 mg (9%)
Folate (vit. B9)               19 μg (5%)
Vitamin B                    12 0 μg (0%)
Vitamin C                      7.4 mg (9%)
Vitamin E                       0.02 mg (0%)
Vitamin K                       0.4 μg (0%)
Calcium                           23 mg (2%)
Iron                              0.21 mg (2%)
Magnesium                   0.129 mg (0%)
Phosphorus                 29 mg (4%)
Potassium                  146 mg (3%)
Sodium                          4 mg (0%)
Zinc                          0.17 mg (2%)


Common onion group (var. cepa)

Most of the diversity within A. cepa occurs within this group, the most economically important Allium crop. Plants within this group form large single bulbs, and are grown from seed or seed-grown sets. The majority of
white onoin

cultivars grown for dry bulbs, salad onions, and pickling onions belong to this group. The range of diversity found among these cultivars includes variation in photoperiod (length of day that triggers bulbing), storage life, flavour, and skin colour.

European onions

A number of onions have Protected Geographical Status in Europe, these include:

Cipolla Rossa di Tropea, a red onion from Calabria, Italy (PGI)
Cipollotto Nocerino, a spring/salad onion-sized Allium Ccepa from Campania, Italy (PDO)
Oignon doux des Cévennes, a sweet onion from the south east of France (PDO)

Aggregatum group (var. aggregatum)

This group contains shallots and potato onions, also referred to as multiplier onions. The bulbs are smaller than those of common onions, and a single plant forms an aggregate cluster of several bulbs. They are
cluster onions(aggregatum onions)

propagated almost exclusively from daughter bulbs, although reproduction from seed is possible. Shallots are the most important subgroup within this group and comprise the only cultivars cultivated commercially. They

form aggregate clusters of small, narrowly ovoid to pear-shaped bulbs. Potato onions differ from shallots in forming larger bulbs with fewer bulbs per cluster, and having a more flattened (onion-like) shape. However, intermediate forms exist.

Species that may be confused with A. cepa

Scallions or salad onions may be grown from the Welsh onion (A. fistulosum) as well as from A. cepa. Young plants of A. fistulosum and A. cepa look very similar, but may be distinguished by their leaves, which are circular in cross-section in A. fistulosum rather than flattened on one side.

Hybrids with A. cepa parentage

A number of hybrids are cultivated that have A. cepa parentage, such as the tree onion or Egyptian onion (A. ×proliferum), Wakegi onion (A. ×wakegi), and the triploid onion (A. ×cornutum).

Diploid hybrids

The tree onion or Egyptian onion produces bulblets in the flower head instead of flowers, and is now known to be a hybrid of A. cepa × A. fistulosum. It has previously been treated as a variety of A. cepa, for example A. cepa var. proliferum, A. cepa var. bulbiferum, and A. cepa var. viviparum.

The Wakegi onion is also known to be a hybrid between A. cepa and A. fistulosum, with the A. cepa parent believed to be from the 'aggregatum' group of cultivars. It has been grown for centuries in Japan and China for use as a salad onion.

Under the rules of botanical nomenclature, both the Egyptian onion and Wakegi onion should be combined into one hybridogenic species, having the same parent species. Where this is followed, the Egyptian onion is

named A. ×proliferum 'Eurasian group' and the Wakegi onion is named A. ×proliferum 'East Asian group'.

Triploid onions

The triploid onion is a hybrid species with three sets of chromosomes, two sets from A. cepa and the third set from an unknown parent. Various clones of the triploid onion are grown locally in different regions, such as 'Ljutika' in Croatia, and 'Pran', 'Poonch' and 'Srinagar' in the India-Kashmir region. 'Pran' is grown extensively in the Northern Indian provinces of Jammu and Kashmir. There are very small genetic differences between 'Pran' and the Croatian clone 'Ljutika', implying a monophyletic origin for this species.

Some authors have used the name A. cepa var. viviparum (Metzg.) Alef. for the triploid onion, but this name has also been applied to the Egyptian onion. The only name unambiguously connected with the triploid onion is A. ×cornutum.

Japanes Bunching Onions

Botanical name: Allium fistulosum
Japanese bunching onion

Bunching Onions are also called Japanese Bunching Onions, Welsh Onions, or Scallions. Although growing Bunching Onions can be grown as annuals, one  can leave a few plants in the organic garden to allow
Japanese white bunch onion

offshoots to develop for dividing the following year.

Bunching Onions are to carefully harvested by gently pulling older ones up allowing the young onions remain in the soil to grow.

Bunching onions are mild and can be used fresh or like any green onions.


In garden spacing (inches)                              :  3  
In flat spacing (inches)                                    :  Broadcast  
Planting depth (inches)                                    :  Cover seed with soil.
Maxiumum number of plants per square foot   :  25
Nutrient relationship                                        :  Light Feeder


Days to maturity                                  : 56-119
Harvesting period (days)                      : -
Minimum yields in pounds /square foot : 1


Diseases: Botrytis Leaf Blight, Damping-Off, Downy Mildew, Fusarium Basal Rot, Neck Rot, Onion Smut, Pink Root, Purple Blotch, Several Bacteria, White Rot.
red beard bunching onion

Insect pests:(Insect Pest Finder) Army Cutworm, Cutworm, Green Peach Aphid, Greenhouse Whitefly, Leafminer, Northern Mole Cricket, Onion Eelworm, Onion Maggot, Onion Thrips, Saltmarsh Caterpillar, Slugs and Snails, Spotted Cucumber Beetle, Striped Cucumber Beetle, Vegetable Weevil


Evergreen Hardy White, White Spear, Deep Purple

Green onion and leeks are optimally stored refrigerated. Cooking onions and sweet onions, on the other hand, can be stored at room temperature, optimally in a single layer, in mesh bag in a dry, cool, dark, well ventilated location. In this environment, cooking onions have a shelf life of 3 to 4 weeks, and sweet onions 1 to 2

weeks. Cooking onions will absorb odours from apples and pears. Also, they draw moisture from vegetables they are stored with which may cause them to decay. Sweet onions have a greater water and sugar content than cooking onions. This makes them sweeter and milder tasting, but also reduces their shelf life. Sweet onions can also be stored refrigerated; they have a shelf life of approximately 1 month, optimally uncovered. Irrespective of type, any cut pieces of onion are optimally tightly wrapped, stored away from other produce, and used within 2 to 3 days.

Onion (Allium cepa), herbaceous biennial plant and its edible bulb. The onion is probably native to southwestern Asia but is now  grown throughout the world, chiefly in the temperate zones. The plant belongs to the lily family, Alliaceae; however, some classifications place it in the family Liliaceae. Most members of both families have an underground storage system, such as a bulb or tuber. Other members of this family include ornamental plants such as the tulip, hyacinth, and lily-of-the-valley and edible plants such as the leek, garlic, and chive.

The common onion has one or more leafless flower stalks that reach a height of 0.75–1.8 m (2.5–6 feet), terminating in a cluster of small greenish white flowers. The leaf bases of the developing plant swell to form the underground bulb that is the mature, edible onion. Most commercially cultivated onions are grown from the plant’s small black seed, which is sown directly in the field, but onions may also be grown from small bulbs or from transplants. Onions are among the hardiest of all garden vegetable plants.

Onions are among the world’s oldest cultivated plants. They were probably known in India, China, and the Middle East before recorded history. Ancient Egyptians regarded the spherical bulb as a symbol of the universe, and its name is probably derived from the Latin unus, meaning “one.” The Romans introduced the onion to Britain and, in the New World, American Indians added a highly pungent wild onion to their stews. Curative powers have been attributed to onions throughout the centuries; they have been recommended for such varied ailments as colds, earaches, laryngitis, animal bites, powder burns, and warts.

Onions are used widely in cooking. They add flavour to such dishes as stews, roasts, soups, and salads, and are also served as a cooked vegetable. The onion’s characteristic pungency results from the sulfur-rich volatile oil it contains. Release of this oil during peeling brings tears to the eyes, but many cooks claim that tears can be avoided by peeling onions under running water.

Onions vary in size, shape, colour, and pungency. Warmer climates produce onions with a milder, sweeter flavour than do other climates.

Globe-shaped onions may be white, yellow, or red. They have strong flavour and are used chiefly for soups, stews, and other prepared dishes and for frying.

Bermuda onions are large and flat, with white or yellow colour and fairly mild taste. They are often cooked and may be stuffed, roasted, or French-fried. They
are also sliced and used raw in salads and sandwiches.

Spanish onions are large, sweet, and juicy, with colour ranging from yellow to red. Their flavour is mild, and they are used raw and sliced for salads and sandwiches and as a garnish.

Italian onions are flat, with red colour and mild flavour. They are used raw for salads and sandwiches, and their red outer rings make an attractive garnish.

Pearl onions are not a specific variety but are small, round, white onions harvested when 25 mm (1 inch) or less in diameter. They are usually pickled and used as a garnish and in cocktails. Small white onions that are picked when between 25 and 38 mm in diameter are used to flavour foods having fairly delicate taste, such as omelets and other egg dishes, sauces, and peas. They are also served boiled or baked.

Green onions, also called scallions and spring onions, are young onions harvested when their tops are green and the underdeveloped bulbs are 13 mm or less in diameter. Their flavour is mild, and the entire onion, including top, stem, and bulb, is used raw in salads and sauces, as a garnish, and also as a seasoning for prepared dishes.

Egyptian Walking Onions

As their scientific name "Allium proliferum" states, these hardy little onions are very "prolific." After planting them in the garden one will have onions every year for years to come. Egyptian Walking Onions are also called "Tree Onions, Egyptian Tree Onions, Top Onions, Winter Onions, or Perennial Onions."

The wonderful walking onion.

Egyptian Walking Onions are one of the first plants to emerge in the spring. The leaves poke up through the soil like little green spikes and shoot towards the sky despite the frost or snow. The blue-green leaves are

round and hollow and will grow up to 3 feet in height. At the the end of a leaf stalk, at the top of the plant, a cluster of bulblets will begin to grow. These bulblets are also known as "bulbils" or "sets."  Every Egyptian Walking Onion plant will produce a cluster of sets at the top, hence the name, "Top Onion," meaning they are top-setting onions.

Egyptian Walking Onions are top-setting onions.

Egyptian Walking Onion topsets first appear in early spring encased in a protective papery tunic which has a

curled tip reminiscent of an elf's shoe. As they grow, this papery capsule will tear open and eventually fall off.

Egyptian Walking Onion paper tunics

The topsets reach maturity in late summer. Many of them have little green sprouts and mini root nodules. They look like mini versions of the parent plant. When the sets become heavy enough, they will pull the plant over

to the ground. If the soil conditions are right, the fallen sets will take root and grow into new Egyptian Walking Onion plants, hence the name, "Walking Onion." They will literally walk across your garden!

Egyptian Walking Onion plants caught in the act of walking!

Although the Egyptian Walking Onion is a top-setting onion, it will occasionally produce miniature flowers among its sets. The flowers are about 1/4" wide. They have 6 white petals and 6 stamens. Each petal has a

vertical pea-green stripe. Most of the flowers dry up and wither as the sets compete with them for energy. So an Egyptian Walking Onion seed is a rarity - at least I've never seen a mature and viable one.

Miniature Egyptian Walking Onion flowers.

An Egyptian Walking Onion set looks like, and essentially is, a miniature onion. Sets produced by these plants are generally smaller than the ordinary annual garden variety onion sets. They range in size from 1/4 inch to 1 inch in diameter. Each cluster can have as few as 2 sets, or as many as 30 sets. Sometimes a new leaf stalk will emerge from a cluster of top-sets like a little branch, and a second cluster will grow from it, hence the name, "Tree Onion."

The Tree Onion: top sets are branching from top sets.

In the ground, the Egyptian Walking Onion plant produces a small shallot-like onion which can be harvested. Once harvested, however, the plant will obviously not grow back. If left in the ground, the onion will produce offsets and form a group of onions. New leaves and topsets will grow from the onions each year. The Egyptian Walking Onion is a perennial onion.

How and when to plant your Egyptian Walking Onion sets

Plant each "set" in the soil about 1-2 inches deep in full sun. Soil should be slightly moist and well drained. Egyptian Walking Onions hate wet feet! Plant in rows about 1 foot apart. The sets should be spaced approximately 3-6 inches apart in each row. Plant in full sunlight. Egyptian Walking Onion sets can also be planted in clusters. When planted this way they make a great addition to your herb garden. They can even be planted in pots to be kept outside or indoors. They can be planted any time of the year even in the winter as long as the ground isn't frozen or covered with snow. However, fall is the optimal time to plant them so they can develop a strong root system and be ready for good growth the following spring. NOTE: Egyptian Walking Onions sets will not produce topsets during their first year of growth. Topsets will grow during the plant's second year and every year thereafter. The following is a list of what to expect when planting your sets at different times of the year:Spring:
Sets will grow throughout the spring and summer and develop tall green leaves and bulb/root growth in the ground. Since it is the plant's first growing season, it will probably not produce topsets.


Sets planted at this time will grow roots and leafstalks, and have some onion bulb development in the ground, but they will not produce topsets.


Sets planted at this time will grow roots and leafstalks only. The leafstalk will die back for the winter. The onion bulb will develop a little in the ground and store enough energy to carry the plant through the winter. A leafstalk will reemerge in the spring and the plant will grow throughout the spring and summer to maturity.

Winter: Sets are planted at this time of the year only if the soil is not frozen solid. If you can dig a 1" to 2" deep hole in the soil, then you can plant your sets. The sets will not grow much at all - maybe a little bit of root growth only, unless you live where the winters are mild. If this is the case, you might also get a leafstalk. When planting in the winter, mulching is a good idea. In fact, mulching is good practice at any time of the year. Mulching keeps the weeds down, prevents unnecessary water evaporation and erosion, and fertilizes your plants.

Egyptian Walking Onions are perennial plants and will grow back each year and yield new and bigger clusters of sets on the top and new onion offsets in the soil. During their first year of growth they will not produce topsets. You might see only greens. But don't be disappointed, your Egyptian Walking Onion plants will grow back the following year in full force and produce their first clusters of topsets. Once established, plants may be propagated by division or by planting the sets that grow from the top. Egyptian Walking Onions are extremely hardy plants. Our plants have endured harsh winters with temperatures plummeting down to -24° below zero! Hence the name, "Winter Onion." They grow well in zones 3-9.

How to harvest your Egyptian Walking OnionsHarvesting the topsets: 

In mid to late summer and autumn the top-sets may be harvested. The optimal time to pluck off the topsets is when the leafstalk has dried and turned brown. More than likely, it has fallen over by this time. Be sure to remove any topsets that have fallen to the ground if you do not want them to self-sow in their new locations. Despite their name, these plants are very easy to control and keep from spreading just by harvesting the top-sets.

Harvesting the greens: 

The greens (leaves) may be cut and harvested at any time. If you harvest all the greens from one plant, the plant will probably not be able to produce topsets for that year. If the plant is producing several leaf stalks, just harvest one or two of smaller side leaves, and the plant should still produce topsets. Soon after you have harvested the leaves from an Egyptian Walking Onion plant, new leaves will start to grow in their place which can be harvested again. If you live in a mild climate, your Egyptian Walking Onion plant may produce greens all year round. In the fall after the topsets have matured and fallen to the ground, or after they have been harvested, new greens will start to grow - yummy!

Harvesting the onion bulbs in the ground: The onions at the base of the plant that are growing in the ground can be harvested in late summer and fall. Be sure to leave some onions in the ground for next year's crop. An Egyptian Walking Onion bulb is about the same size and shape as a shallot. Bigger bulbs may be obtained by cutting off the topsets before they develop. That way the plant can put its energy into the onion bulb in the ground instead of into the topsets. Note: if you harvest the onion bulb in the ground, you will destroy the plant - it will not grow back next year. So, if you want to eat the onion bulbs in the ground, make sure to replace them by planting topsets, or offsets from the bulb.

How to eat your Egyptian Walking Onions

Egyptian Walking Onions taste just like a regular onion, only with a bit more pizzazz! The entire plant can be eaten. Small onions form at the base in the soil. They can be eaten and prepared just like any other onion. The hollow greens may be chopped to eat like chives or green onions. They are excellent when fried, cooked in soups, or raw in salads (my favorite). The bulblets that grow from the top are excellent when peeled and fried. You can even pickle them. Or just pop them in your mouth like popcorn! Watch out, they're a little spicy!

Egyptian Walking Onion names

Taxonomic names: the following three scientific names refer to the Egyptian Walking Onion plantAllium cepa var. proliferum

Egyptian Walking Onions are proliferous. A proliferous plant produces new individuals by budding. This type of plant also produces offshoots, especially from unusual places. In the case of the Egyptian Walking Onion, an offshoot will grow out form cluster of sets. Proliferous plants produce an organ or shoot from an organ that is itself normally the last, as a shoot or a new flower from the midst of a flower. In the case of the Egyptian Walking Onion, a cluster of topsets grows from a cluster of topsets forming a multi-tiered plant.

Allium cepa var. bulbiferous

Egyptian Walking Onions are bulbiferous. They produce bulbs!
Allium cepa var. viviparum
Egyptian Walking Onions are viviparous. They produce bulbils or new plants rather than seed. Egyptian Walking Onion sets germinate while still attached to the parent plant. They can be seen growing leaves and roots before they ever touch the ground.

Common names:"Egyptian Walking Onion" or "Walking Onion"

The name "Egyptian" is very mysterious. The ancient Egyptians worshipped onions. They believed that its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life. Onions were even used in Egyptian burials for the pharaohs. Small onions were found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV. It is not known whether this particular species of onion came from the Egyptians or not. The "Egyptian" part of the name remains a mystery. Maybe the name refers to the way they walk.....do they "walk like an Egyptian?"

The name "Walking Onion" was given to this plant because it literally walks to new locations. When the cluster of topsets becomes heavy enough, it will pull the plant over to the ground. Depending on how tall the plant is and where the bend occurs, the topsets may fall up to 3 feet away from the base of the plant. Here they will take root and grow new plants. When these new plants mature, their topsets will eventually fall to the ground and start the process all over again. Egyptian Walking Onion plants can walk between 1 and 3 feet per year!

"Tree Onion"

Egyptian Walking Onions are known for their ability to grow a twisting stalk from the cluster of sets at the top of the plant. Another cluster of sets will grow at the end of this second stalk giving the plant a branching, tree-like appearance.

"Top Onion", "Topset Onion", or "Top Setting Onion"
Egyptian Walking Onions grow a cluster of sets at the top of the plant instead of seeds.
"Winter Onion"
These Onions can survive freezing cold winters with temperatures plummeting well below -24°F! They are hardy to zone 3.

Egyptian Walking Onion taxonomy

Kingdom                          : Plantae (plants)
Division                            : Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)
Class                                : Liliopsida (monocotyledon - having one seed leaf)
Order                               : Liliales (lily family, water-hyacinth family, iris family)
Family                              : Alliaceae (lily family)
Genus                               : Allium (onion)
Species                             : cepa
Variations                          : proliferum
                                           viviparum all are synonymous

Onions are low in nutrients but are valued for their flavour. Most whole onions are slightly dried before marketing, making their skins dry and paper-thin. Leading world producers of dry onions include China, India, the United States, Russia, Japan, and Turkey. Spain is the leading European producer.

Onions are also available in various processed forms. Boiled and pickled onions are packed in cans or jars. Frozen onions are available chopped or whole, and bottled onion juice is sold for use as a flavouring.

Dehydrated onion products have been available since the 1930s. Processing involves elimination of most of the moisture by heat or by freeze-drying. Such products include granulated, ground, minced, chopped, and sliced forms. Onion powder is made by grinding dehydrated onions and is sometimes packaged in combination with salt.

Dried onion products are used in a variety of prepared foods. They are also sold directly to the consumer for use as condiments. The United States is the world’s leading producer of dried onion products, and the state of California is a major producer of onions developed and cultivated for this industry.