Spring Onions are Incredibly easy to grow! You don’t need to be a seasoned veg grower to master these! Read on to find out how you can grow maximum Spring Onions in Minimum Space…
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A little Spring Onion History!
The spring onion is believed to have originated in the Far East. Spring onions and Chives are recorded in Chinese history books as far back as 2000 BC! Cultivated for over 5000 years! This simple but delicious vegetable has been gracing our plates for millenia! Ancient Egyptions and Romans, prized the Vegetable for its versatility and longevity!- Storing well for long periods of time it became a staple in the Egyptian and Roman diet.
Spring Onions were later introduced to Asia and Europe and eventually the new World (America) in the pockets of immigrating cultures. From there it became a popular vegetable crop thanks to its ease of growing and relatively quick harvest time of 6-8 weeks from seed to plate.
Spring Onions Characteristics
Spring onions are basically an Immature onion! They have long slender green stalks covered with overlapping leaves at their base they have small, oval white bulbs, averaging 2-5 cm in diameter.
Shallow Root System
Spring onions have a very shallow root system, which is why they can tolerate group planting without detriment to growth. Planting in clumps also maximises on space, why grow one in a space where you can grow 10? Maximise on your growing space by growing in clumps…
How To Grow Spring Onions
- I grow my spring onions in clumps, here is the best way to do it… Sow 10 seeds per module, 1 cm deep, March – August in good quality moist compost
- Cover with a propagator lid, or cling wrap and place on a Sunny Windowsill or in a Greenhouse
- Germination should occur within 7-14 days
- Plant out seedlings once they are at least a couple of inches tall and all risk of frost has passed. *Indoor raised seedlings must be hardened off first
What Does Hardening Off Mean?
Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse environment, need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures and increased air movement for about two to three weeks before they are planted outdoors permanently . This is a ‘toughening up’ practice to prepare the plants for their new environment.
How to Harden Off
Place your plants out for a couple of hours in a shady part of the garden. The next day, leave them out again for two hours, but this time allow the plants an hour of direct sunshine in the morning. Gradually continue to increase the length of time the plants are in direct sunshine over the course of roughly two weeks
For a constant Supply of Spring Onions– Sow seeds at 3 weekly intervals.
For an early Spring crop -sow seeds in September and overwinter in a greenhouse or under cloche ( I find Lisbon spring onions are the best for overwintering)
Where to Plant Spring Onions
Plant Spring Onion Seedlings in a sunny, sheltered spot in a well drained soil. Clear beds of any weeds beforehand and rake the soil to a fine tilth
Soil and Water Requirements
Plant out seedlings in well drained ground, be careful not to over water, a waterlogged soil can lead to rotting of the bulbs
How Long Do Spring Onions Take to Grow?
Spring Onions take as little as 8 weeks from seed to harvest. A quick crop, easy to grow, high yields…a perfect starter vegetable if your new to growing your own food.
They are also a fantastic filler crop, they take up such little space, you can squeeze them in-between other slower growing vegetables.
How To Harvest Spring Onions
Around 6-8 weeks after sowing, pull the clumps of Spring Onions From the ground, shake off the dirt and separate the onions.
How To Store Spring Onions
Short term Storage If you’re planning to use your spring onions in a day or 2, it’s fine to leave them out on your kitchen counter, at room temperature.
Long term Storage : Pop them in a sealed food bag and place them in the crisper drawer in your fridge, they should stay fresh for a round 2 weeks
My 2 Favourite Spring Onion Varieties to grow
I have a couple of favourites. White Lisbon is the most traditional and popular variety to grow, with long white stems and bright green tops and silvery white skin, the Lisbon is a perfect, easy to grow salad onion. It has a delicious, mild onion flavour when young and takes on a slightly pungent taste as it matures.
Lillia Spring Onions
Lilia Spring Onions with their beautiful shiny rich red bulb and slender green leaves, this Italian variety, has an intense pungent flavour, perfect for summer salads. An Easy to grow, intensely delicious, quick crop Spring Onion.