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Growing Green Onions: A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivating Fresh Scallions

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growing green onions

Green onions are not just your ordinary vegetable, they’re a fantastic snack that’s loved by many! But wait, there’s more! These little wonders can also add a burst of flavor to your soups and salads. How awesome is that?

Now, here’s the really cool part: growing green onions is pretty easy since these plants have this amazing ability to regrow themselves multiple times. Yep, you heard it right! It’s like having a never-ending supply of fresh green onion stalks from just one plant. That means you can say goodbye to constantly buying scallions from the store whenever you need them. Stick around because I’ve got some great tips and tricks to share with you.

About Green Onions

Technically, the terms scallions, green onions, and spring onions are not all the same thing!

  • Scallions: this refers to the youngest form. Scallions have no bulbs formed yet and their leaves are the most tender
  • Green Onions: when there are small white bulbs forming, they’re no longer scallions, but rather green onions. 
  • Spring Onions: when the bulb is round but still smaller than a quarter, we call that a spring onion. Their leaves have the strongest flavor

They’re also known as bunching onions, due to their tendency to form clusters in the ground. 

The uses of green onions and bulb onions are largely the same – you can substitute them for each other in many recipes. However, the large bulbs are much more pungent and aren’t typically eaten raw like green onions. 

Preparing for Cultivation

There are many varieties of green onions to suit your region’s climate. However, they have the same general requirements: 

  • Soil: loamy, well-drained soil is ideal. 
  • Watering: water enough to keep the soil moist. 
  • Sunlight: full sun is ideal, but a little shade is tolerable. 
  • Temperature: soil at least 8 degrees C is needed to germinate. 
  • Fertilizer: nitrogen-rich mixes are best, including ones with fish emulsion.

The root systems are very shallow, so you need to water them regularly and keep your garden beds weeded. 

Green onions can tolerate frost and will come back year after year if you have the right variety for your region. 

Planting Green Onions

growing green onions from seeds

You can easily grow green onions from seeds or from cuttings, but location is key:

  • Depth: 1/4 inch deep
  • Spacing: 2 inches apart
  • Rows: 6 inches apart

You can thin the seedlings through transplanting if you like, which is easy since the plants have shallow root systems. 

Be sure to use fresh green onion seeds. Old seeds may not germinate. 

Care and Maintenance

Green Onions are relatively low-maintenance plants, but you should pay attention to these requirements:

  • Always keep the soil moist, since the roots don’t go down very deep. 
  • Waterlogging your soil will cause root rot. If the soil is moist, don’t water. 
  • Weed your green onion patch. Because of the shallow roots, they can’t compete with weeds
  • Mulching is great for controlling weeds and moisture. 
  • A nitrogen-rich fertilizer is best since it’s the leaves you’re harvesting the plant for. 
  • Green onions will bolt (go to seed early) if there is too much heat from the sun. The leaves don’t taste good after bolting but the seeds will sprout the following year. 

Pest and Disease Management

  • Cutworms: evil little half-moon-shaped worms that chop off the plants at the base and feed on them. 
  • Onion maggots: they burrow underneath the onions and their larvae feed on the bulb. 
  • Slugs and Snails: they make their homes in organic waste such as piles of grass or straw. Keep your yard clean and free of such piles. 
  • Aphids: remove these with a blast from the garden hose. Ladybugs love to eat them. 
  • Root rot: caused by overwatering. 
  • Mildew: caused by watering the green leaves. 

Harvesting and Storing

Green onions are great to eat at any size, but you typically harvest green onions when they’re 6 to 12 inches tall. Simply snip them off with scissors, leaving at least an inch of stem behind

Green onions can be stored by either drying them out or by keeping the plants alive in water.

Paper towel method:

  1. Cut the bulbs off
  2. Dry the green stalks out
  3. Wrap them in a paper towel
  4. Place them in a plastic bag in the fridge. They’ll store for up to 3 weeks.

Water method:

  1. Take a clean jar and add water up to a 1/2 inch deep. 
  2. Take the rubber band off your onions (if you bought them from the store) and place them upright in the jar. 
  3. Place this jar in a windowsill with a lot of light. Your onions will stay alive for a few weeks. 

Troubleshooting and Common Challenges

Green onions are pretty easy to grow, but you can run into a few problems:

  • Wilting Leaves: not enough water. If your soil is sandy, it may drain too quickly and you’ll have to water more often. 
  • Yellow or Brown Leaves: caused by a fungus. You can use an organic fungicide. Tilling the soil will expose the spores to the sun which kills them. 
  • Rotting of Plant: caused by overwatering. 
  • Plants Die Unexpectedly: possibly maggots. Uproot the dead plant and check the bulb for the little creatures. 

To Sum It Up

Fresh scallions are unbeatable and super easy to grow! You can even regrow green onions from the grocery store, which is a cool experiment to show your kids. What could be better than a little green onion farm that gives you free vegetables all year round? Give it a try! Best of luck and happy gardening! 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Grow Green Onions From Cuttings?

Cut the greens off leaving a 2-inch long stub. Place the root end in a jar of 1/2-inch deep water. Once new roots are forming, you can plant it in soil, only 1/2 inch deep. Keep it watered regularly and leaves will form on their own! 

How Do I Grow Green Onions Indoors?

Simply plant the onion seeds 1/2 an inch deep in potting mix with good drainage. The pot should be about 6 inches deep. Place the pot in a sunny windowsill and water often enough for consistent soil moisture, without waterlogging the soil. 

Do Green Onions Grow From Onions?

Yes, they do. They will grow on a bulb if it’s left in a humid room. You can eat these greens too. 

Are Green Onions Easy to Grow? 

Yes, they are! They practically grow themselves as long as you keep the soil moist and give them enough sun. Growing green onions in water is possible for short periods too! 

How Long Does it Take For Green Onions to Grow?

Green onions are fast growers and some varieties are ready in 60 days from seeding. 

What Do Green Onions Look Like When Growing?

They look like little green stalks. They have no leaves on the stems. 

When Do I Plant Green Onions?

Best is to plant them in the early spring for a summer harvest. You can plant them about 2 weeks before your local frost date