Texas 1015 Supersweet Onions
They look like scallions now...
Photo by John Kiely
If you consider the rise of a Full Harvest Moon to be the end of the gardening season, then you aren't from Texas. On any day of the year there's at least one crop you can plant or seed in the ground, and have a productive crop weeks or months later.
When I was buying Green Goliath seeds for the best broccoli in America, I asked Evan of Southwest Fertilizer about any other crops to plant this year. He mentioned radish seeds, then led me to a row of bins holding onion transplants and bulbs. There was a wide variety of white and yellow onions, but I was curious about a bundle of plants that looked like raggedy scallions.
"Texas Sweet 1015 Onions," he answered, before I could ask. "Just plant them in a trench and you'll have sweet onions in the spring." Succinct advice. I did exactly that, digging a trench about four inches deep, with each transplant about two inches apart. I filled in the trench with dirt and watered profusely. I'm aware that onions don't have much of a root system, so when I fertilize them lightly each month, I'll pour the liquid close to the plants.
1015 Onions got their name from the best date to plant the seeds, October 15. Since I'm using transplants, now is the best time for putting them into the soil. The onions are of a variety called "short-day," so they grow well at this darker time of year.
The onions were developed by Texas A&M Horticulturalist Leonard Pike from the grano variety, originally from Spain. The full-grown globe-shaped bulbs have more water and sugar than other varieties, and less pyruvate, a chemical that undergoes changes and turns into sulfuric acid (ouch!) in your eyes when you cut an onion.
The best reason to grow 1015 Supersweets is because they don't store well. With bulbs in the garden, you can yank one at any time for onions rings or anything else that won't make you cry.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.