Onion, Maria Nagy’s Transylvanian Red (Organic)
Allium cepa. Red Storage. 100 days.
A landrace red storage onion from a region of Transylvania that is famous for its storage onion production. Onions measure 3-4” across, produce well even with low fertility and water inputs, and store well through the following spring. Maria Nagy was one of the few subsistence farmers in Romania that still saved all of her own seeds when we visited in 2008 and she generously shared them with us. She brought some of these onions to the 2008 Turda Fest Agricultural Festival to help place Turda in the Guinness Book of World Records for World’s Longest Onion Braid, which measured 5,800 meters (3.6 miles)! The Maria Nagy’s Transylvanian Red Onion is a strain of Red Onion of Turda, which was added to the Slow Food Ark of Taste in 2013 and is known for its “sweeter taste and particular aroma.”
Seed produced by Empowered Flowers in Oregon City, Oregon.
For bulb onions, sow indoors in flats with good potting soil February through March. Transplant into the garden in April or May, when plants are at least the size of a No. 2 pencil lead. Space 6” in rows that are 1’ apart. Onions benefit from frequent watering and shallow cultivation. Stop irrigating in August. Harvest when stem has shriveled and tipped over.
To save seed, replant at least 20 onions (to avoid inbreeding) in the second spring. Large, beautiful globe shaped flowers attract pollinators. Cut whole seed heads when they open and show the black seeds. Thresh gently and winnow to remove debris and hollow seeds. Isolate from other Alliums of the same species by at least ½ mile.