I am something of a fan of Spring Onions, also know as Scallions, Green Onions, Bunching Onions and no doubt a variety of other names as well. Ever since I read Jackie French’s Backyard Self Sufficiency book and learnt of her using them for just about everything I have been growing them. Whilst I don’t substitute them for normal onions as she does I still use them a lot of things. As a result I grow a lot of them. The variety I been growing recently is called: “Straightleaf”. As you can see they don’t always quite live up to their name:
I suspect the curvature is a result of them not getting full sun (which Spring Onions prefer). I grow my Spring Onions in a variety of places around the garden. The grow best in the sunnier spots but will grow, albeit a lot less vigorously, in partial shade. They seem to cope (just) in even as little as 3-4 hours sun per day.
“Straightleaf” is the variety of Spring Onion that I have been growing for the last couple of years. I have to admit I don’t tend to experiment much with different varieties. This one germinates easily, grows well and produces nice straight upright spring onions that don’t bulb. Or at least they don’t bulb in my experience and I have had some grow to become absolute monsters. (Unfortunately I seemed to have failed to photograph the biggest (a few cms in diameter) but the ones below were a little thicker (about 1-2 cm diameter) than I normally let them get.
Spring Onions generally and ‘Straightleaf’ in particular can be grown year round in Melbourne. I tend to sow mine in seed trays and then plant them out when they have a few strong roots.
I find this method works well in terms of maximising productive time in my beds. Having said that I do sow direct occasionally and it is definitely less work as the seedlings can be a little fiddly to plant out.
Spring Onions are great to inter-plant with crops like beetroot and carrots, particularly if you plant in rows.
I use Spring Onions in a variety of dishes. I use them to garnish stir fries and rice dishes, inside dumplings and gyoza, and as a component of vegetable dishes like this great one of Nina’s. I find them really versatile and a lovely thing to be able to walk outside to harvest whenever you need them.
To ensure a constant supply I find I need to sow seed every 1-3 months depending on how much seed I sow and how quickly we are getting through them.
Do you grow Spring Onions? Do you have a favourite variety? Do you find much difference between varieties? I would love to know whether I should branch out from Straightleaf. I have grown the ‘Red Legs’ in the past but didn’t find it as vigorous although it is very pretty.
Saturday Spotlight is a series of posts highlighting particular varieties of edible plants. If you have a favourite, or even a less than successful variety of a plant and would like to include it in the series then please leave a comment with a link below. I have created a page (above, just below the header) with an Index of all the Spotlights to date. I will add links to any new posts below and in next weeks post as well as ensuring they appear in the Index.
New Spotlights last week were:
Mini Wombok – Garden Glut
Butterfly Pea – Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girls