The Red Onion of Amposta is a large sweet onion named after the small Spanish town of Amposta. A heritage variety that produces attractive red-bronze onions, they are recognised for their pleasant taste and exceptional sweetness that is typical of Spanish onions.
Also known as the Morada de Amposta, Bronze D'Amposta or Bronze of Amposta, the exterior skin has red to copper tones with dense, juicy interior with red and white rings.
This intermediate-day variety will reliably produce in a wide variety of conditions and produces a vigorous plant with long stem. Semi-early, it is best sown in early spring, maturing approximately 115 days after planting. The beautiful, large globes weigh around 200 to 250 grams.
Red Amposta is an excellent storage onion, it has fairly compact, dense flesh and will effortlessly store for over 6 months.
Choose an open, sunny site with good drainage which has preferably been dug and manured in the previous autumn. Do not plant or sow on freshly manured bed. Lime if the soil is acid. Avoid planting in an area where the previous crop was of the onion family. Many exhibitors grow their show onions in a permanent bed in order to build up fertility, but in the kitchen plot it is a much better idea to change the site annually.
Apply a general fertiliser if needed and rake the surface when the soil is reasonably dry. Tread over the area and then rake again to produce a fine, even tilth.
Timing: Sow in February to April
Seeds can be sown direct in autumn to be harvested in 46 weeks to produce large bulbs (not advisable in very cold areas) Otherwise sow in February under cloches or direct March to April and harvest in 24 weeks. In cold areas and for exhibition bulbs sow early under glass in January, harden off in March and transplant outdoors in April.
Sow very thinly in 1.2cm (½in) deep drills, leaving about 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12in) between rows. Water very gently if the soil is dry, and cover with soil.
When large enough to handle, thin the crop in two stages. Close spacing will give smaller onions than wider spacings. Lift the seedlings carefully – the soil should be moist and all thinnings removed to deter onion fly. (They may be used as spring onions)
Thin spring-sown seedlings first to 2.5cm (1in) then when the seedlings have straightened up to 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4in) apart.
Thin autumn sown onion seedlings to about 2.5cm (1 inch) in the autumn. Further thin to about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) between plants in the Spring.
Seedlings raised under glass should be transplanted 4in (10cm) apart, leaving 9in (23cm) between the rows. The roots must fall vertically in the planting hole and the bulb base should be about 1cm (½in) below the surface. Plant firmly.
Hoe carefully or weed by hand – dense weed growth will seriously affect yield. Water if the weather is dry (not otherwise) and feed occasionally. Feed an autumn-sown crop in March. Mulching is useful for cutting down the need for water and for suppressing weeds. Break off any flower stems which appear. Stop watering once the onions have swollen and pull back the covering earth or mulch to expose the bulb surface to the sun.
Harvesting: August to September
When the bulb is mature the foliage turns yellow and topples over. (Some gardeners bend over the tops as the leaves start to yellow). Leave them for about 2 weeks and then carefully lift with a fork on a dry day.
Use as a Natural Dye:
Onion skins are famously useful for using for natural dying. The skins of this variety are great for people new to natural dyeing. You can get lots of colour variations by playing with mordant type and pH balance.
Inspect the bulbs carefully – all damaged, soft, spotted and thick-necked onions should be set aside for immediate use in the kitchen or for freezing. The rest can be stored and will need to be thoroughly dried. Spread out the bulbs on sacking or in trays, outdoors if the weather is warm and sunny. Drying will take 7 to 21 days, depending on the size of the bulbs and the air temperature. Avoid storing whole onions in the refrigerator, which has a damp environment. Do not store onions next to potatoes. Both potatoes and onions emit a gas which causes them both to sprout and spoil faster.
Store the whole onions in a dry place, in an area where there is good air circulation. They should also be stored in a cool, dark area to prevent them from sprouting and rotting too soon as a result of light and humidity. Store the onions in trays, net bags, tights or tie to a length of cord as onion ropes and they will keep until late spring.
Prior to Linnaean taxonomy the Onion family was spread over four genera. The bulb Onion, Shallot and Welsh Onion were found in the Cepa genera. Garlic was placed in the Allium genera, Leeks were listed as Porrum and the Chive was classed as Schoenoprasum, its current species name.
The genus name, Allium comes from the Celtic All, meaning 'pungent', the species name cepa, is from the Roman cepae, meaning 'onion'.
The common name of onion seems to come from the Latin Unio or one, signifying that the bulb is of one unit.
The Red Onion of Amposta is named after the small Spanish town of Amposta, which is the capital of the comarca of Montsià, in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain, 190 km south of Barcelona on the Mediterranean Coast. The population was 20,606 in 2018.
Often found with the title of 'Morada de Amposta' - which translates as 'Residence of Amposta', it is only one of the varieties of onion that is mistakenly thought to originate from Italy, as it is produced in quantity there, but does originate from Spain.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 2.5 grams Average Seed Count 750 Seeds Seed Form Natural Common Name The Large Red/Bronze Onion of Amposta
Heritage (Spanish 1800's)
Other Language Names Morada de Amposta or Bronze D'Amposta Family Alliaceae Genus Allium Species cepa Cultivar Red Amposta Hardiness Hardy Biennial Fruit 200 to 250 grams. Spacing Thin to about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) Position Choose an open, sunny site with good drainage which has preferably been dug and manured in the previous autumn. Time to Sow Sow in autumn or late winter to spring Germination 21 days Harvest Yield from a 10 ft row: 4kg (8lb). Time to Harvest Autumn-sown - 46 weeks, Spring-sown - 24 Weeks Notes Viability for correctly stored seed: 1 to 2 years.