What have I learned? Everything has a time when it will happen and we don’t always know when that is. There is patience and faith involved in growing something.
Unlike bulb or nest onions, bunching onions, also known as green onions or scallions, divide into upright clumps rather than forming underground bulbs. Begin planting these easy-to-grow plants in the spring. You can clip a few leaves as needed, but wait until the fall to fully harvest bunching onions. The plants often go dormant in hot summer weather, but they will produce new tops again once the weather cools off. Sow bunching onion seeds directly in the garden plot or start them indoors early. They may also be grown in containers.
- Find a location with full sun and well-drained soil. My container sits smack in the middle of a table on a sunny balcony.
- Prepare the soil by tilling or loosening the soil and mix in compost or other organic matter. The soil should have a near neutral pH between 6 and 7. I test the PH with strips I pick up at a very small cost from my chemist. I also use the best quality compost I can buy – I am growing food for nourishment here!
- Spread seeds in a thin, single layer over the soil and cover with 1 inch of loose soil. Add a layer of organic mulch to help keep the soil cool and moist.
- Begin clipping leaves as needed when the plants reach a minimum of 6 inches tall. Full harvest is best once the plants reach at least 12 inches in height.
Harvest bunching onions by digging them up and pulling them apart. Save some to plant in a new location, and they will form new bunches again in the spring. In harsh winter climates, plant the saved onions in a container and keep indoors in a cool location until early spring.
You can start seeds indoors in small peat pots or containers eight weeks before the average last frost of the season. In the spring, transplant them in the garden or in large patio containers or window boxes.
Growing bunching onions in an indoor window box will ensure fresh onions all year long.
Onions are prone to soil disease, thrips and onion maggots. Plant bunching onions in a different location after each harvest to prevent problems and to protect the plants.