Saturday Spotlight – Spring Onions “Straightleaf”

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:

Spring Onions

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.

Oversized spring onions

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.

Germinating Spring Onions

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.

Spring onions

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

This entry was posted in Alliums - Onions, Leeks, Garlic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Saturday Spotlight – Spring Onions “Straightleaf”

  1. We have had problems growing spring onions for the past couple of years.

  2. Daphne says:

    I love bunching onions too. This year I let some of the younger ones overwinter and they made some nice early onions for me. The onions I have are from ones that I just let go to seed last year. So they are volunteers. I saved a lot of that seed too so I’m going to sow it again this year in random spots around the garden in late summer. I’ve never found a huge difference in bunching onions. Some, but not much. So I’ve always bought whatever. The seed I have is actually from an F1 hybrid so what I’m growing now is some really mixed up onion, but it looks just like all the other bunching onions so it works.

    • Liz says:

      I keep meaning to let mine seed in but always seem to use them before they get to that point. Perhaps if I cut and come again they will also produce seed ehads.

  3. Michelle says:

    I usually grow them but don’t always get around to harvesting them in a timely manner so they tend to get a bit huge. The variety that I’ve been growing lately is “Parade” and it grows very straight and doesn’t bulb.

  4. Dave says:

    I’ve got some seedlings for green onions growing now, White Spear is the variety. I sometimes plant them in containers even. They seem to do well that way.

    • Liz says:

      Yeah I grow mine in containers sometimes too – I should really have included that in the spotlight shouldn’t I. I find both pots and polystyrene fruit boxes are well suited to them.

  5. I love onions. We’ve accidentally planted about 400 this year, we have to wait and see how they’re going when we return home.

  6. Sarah says:

    I’ve been growing spring onions with carrots, as recommended by Sarah Raven… the idea is that the scent of the onions masks the carrots and protects them from root fly. Can’t be sure if it really works because neither have been growing well for me in the last couple of years!

  7. Bek says:

    I’ve never heard of that variety but will have to seek it out. I grow spring onions but I have no idea the variety, just a standard green and a red type. I grow them in a pot and just keep chopping them off at the base and they keep growing, so I haven’t sown any for about 6 or 7 months now. They just keep growing back. Now that its winter though they are growing back more slowly and I think I need another pot to keep me in a steady supply. I think I will try straightleaf.

    • Liz says:

      I find cut and come again works better at some times of the year than others. I like to move mine around the garden so tend to plant and pull most of the time.

  8. Diana says:

    I cheated this month.
    Bought some spring onions for garnishing and save the bottom part which still have roots attached. Then I grow them back in the garden.
    They are shooting up new leaves very quickly.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Here is my entry for Saturday Spotlight.

  9. Damien says:

    We used to grow spring onions and still have a few around that I have not had the heart to remove, but found it better to grow the perennial “Everlasting onion” (Allium cepa var perutile) instead. They tend to cope better with neglect than most types of spring onion, plus they divide throughout the year eliminating the need to save seed. If it is very hot they tend to die down into a french shallot kind of a bulb.

    Other things such as potato onions and tree onions can also be substituted for spring onions, as can the leaves of regular bulb onions. Prior to getting the everlasting onions we found that to be a more efficient use of space as you essentially get two crops from the same area – one leaf crop and one bulb.

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