THREE YEARS after an epic Italian hailstorm wiped out an entire crop of the world’s most famous onion variety, the Kelsae is back from the dead. Thanks to the skill and dedication of D.T. Brown’s breeding experts, the fruit and vegetable seed firm have again been able to bulk up their mother stock of this giant onion to offer again module-raised plants to customers. It means that for the second year running D.T. Brown are announcing the availability of their exclusive Kelsae. Grown in four secret locations in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Holland and Italy, the company managed to harvest its biggest crop for several years, though are only offering it as modules for 2019 – as they were forced to do a year ago. DTB’s general manager Tim Jeffries – he took the doom-laden call from Italy three years ago after that storm – explains: “The Kelsae is a notoriously difficult crop to grow commercially and until the seed is harvested, cleaned and germination-tested it’s impossible to tell how much seed, if any, will be available for our customers. “This season, while the overall seed crop was good, the germination rates aren’t great and are lower than we are prepared to accept for offering it to our customers as packeted seed.” By selling them as module-grown plants, DTB has negated the germination issue and claims they’ll be doing the hard work on behalf of their customers instead. Plants will be despatched from late April and customers will receive healthy, strong young plants with well-developed root systems ready to plant out on arrival. Around show circles, the Kelsae has a legendary reputation that’s second to none. A regular winner at the National Vegetable Society national championships in the “large exhibition” and “1kg to 1.5kg” onion classes, it’s unusual in also having a delicious, sweet flavour. The variety has had an unrivalled pedigree for many years and is a first choice among growers who enjoy growing their onions with HUGE dimensions. They are available to buy now – 40 plants cost £12.95. ■ To order plants of the Kelsae Onion or to request a copy of the Fruit & Vegetable Grower’s Seed and Plant Catalogue 2019, write to D. T. Brown, Bury Road, Newmarket, CB8 7PQ, telephone 0845 371 05 32, or go online www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk ⏩⏩➡»Onion giants: Kelsaes maturing in the veg patch and (inset) how it dwarfs the human hand when grown in ideal conditions.