Believe it or not, approximately one in three people now maintain some sort of home vegetable garden. In fact, more people than ever are trying their hands at home vegetable gardens these days, and for good reason. With the ever-increasing cost of living and lackluster produce at many grocery chains, homegrown veggies just make sense.
One common ingredient that doesn’t get as much attention as, say, tomatoes is the green onion. This rooty leaf makes an excellent garnish and provides a hint of onion flavor to dishes without overwhelming your senses or making you cry.
If you’re wondering how to grow green onions right in your backyard, keep reading, because we have all the details for you.
How to Grow Green Onions from Seeds
Like other common vegetables, many people grow green onions from seeds. Green onion seedlings also need constant moisture, lots of nutrients, and soil that’s clear of weeds and rocks. For this reason, you may want to start them inside, and then move them to your outdoor garden or raised bed after 8–10 weeks.
For best results, prepare your soil in advance by adding compost at least 6 inches from the surface and clearing out any rocks that may interfere with growth. Then, place the seeds about ¼-inch deep into the soil. You’ll want to make sure the seedlings each have at least 2 inches of space between each other as they begin to grow, so account for that space during planting.
As your seeds start to grow, frequently check the soil. Green onions need soil that remains consistently moist without getting soggy, which requires a delicate balance. Also, keep the seedlings in full sun; they do best with at least 6 daily hours of direct sunlight.
If you decide to keep your green onions in pots, purchase pots that are deep, yet narrow. You’ll also want pots that include drainage holes at the bottom, and you’ll need to keep a close eye on the dish under the pot so that you don’t let your soil get soggy and oversaturated.
How to Regrow Green Onions from Scraps
Believe it or not, you can use those roots you trim off your green onions to grow a constant supply of scallions! The process is much less time consuming than growing them from seed, not to mention you reduce food waste by using the roots you trim from the onions.
To start, slice off the root portion of your green onion bulbs carefully so the roots remain attached. Then, place the slices root-side down into a small jar or cup with some water. Put in a windowsill or another location that receives plenty of direct sunlight.
Keep the roots submerged in water until the shoots measure 4 to 5 inches in length, but change the water at least once per week to avoid any bacteria growth or other contamination. When the shoots are long enough, replant them outside in your garden/raised bed or move them to a pot. Let them continue to grow until you need them for a recipe, and then either pull or cut the green “leaf” portion close to the ground and use it for whatever you’re cooking.
Since green onions are perennials, you can leave the bulbs in the ground even during the winter and they should return again in the spring (depending on the climate where you live). You can also keep them in pots and enjoy fresh green onions all year long.
Caring for Your Green Onions
Watering Green Onions
Green onions usually require around 1 inch of water per week, but this could vary depending on your local conditions. In general, the plants grow best when provided with a consistent supply of water in small enough doses that it doesn’t flood the plants and over-saturate the soil.
Since you want to keep the soil moist but not soggy, you should check the soil’s moisture level daily before watering. You can do this with a quick finger test of the soil. If the soil feels dry during the finger test, you should water your green onions. Avoid watering if the soil is fairly moist.
If you keep your green onions outdoors, consider your location’s climate when determining how often to water your plants. For example, if you live in a location that receives fairly frequent rainfall, you may only need to water the green onions on very rare occasions. If you live in a dry and hot region, however, you may need to water your green onions daily or even multiple times per day.
If you keep your green onions indoors, you may not need to water them as frequently. Just make sure you’re checking the soil’s moisture level at least a few times each week to ensure the plants receive an adequate water supply.
Handling Pests & Diseases
Although it’s rare for your green onions to experience pest problems or diseases, it can happen. Sometimes onion root maggots, thrips, and aphids will eat away at your scallions. To avoid maggots, you should periodically rotate your crops so root plants aren’t always growing in the same location. For thrips and other pests, you can simply spray your green onions with a soapy mixture of 1 teaspoon dish soap to every 8 ounces of water.
Green onions may experience mold or mildew while growing. However, you can usually avoid this by treating the seeds or roots with fungicide prior to planting.
Green onions grow best when in an environment that stays between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. They also prefer soil that drains well. For this reason, you should only grow your green onions outdoors if you live in a region with a moderate climate and your soil is free of any clay.
Grow Green Onions Like a Pro
Now that you know how to grow green onions, it’s time to get out there and sow some seeds! Just remember that green onions love moist (but not soggy) soil and moderate temperatures the best. With these tips, you’re all set to grow green onions like a pro!
Megan Glosson is a mother and freelance writer based Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoys writing on a variety of parenting topics, but loves taking on anything with a personal connection to her own life. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Megan building Legos or playing board games with her two adorable daughters. To check out more of Megan’s work or to contact her about freelance opportunities, visit meganglosson.com