How to Grow Green Onions

Green onions are a wonderful crop that you can grow at any time during the growing season. You may think they are the same as growing onion bulbs, but they are not - they're grown from seed. Seed companies often label green onion seed as "Bunching Onions." 

Scallions and green onions are the same thing - the difference is when you harvest them. Scallions are harvested when they are younger. Leave them to grow longer, 

Green onions are so useful in the kitchen and can be used in dishes from many cuisines. Raw, they add a pungent touch to salads, raw. Their pretty green tops make an attractive garnish. 

One of the nicest benefits is that they are small plants that don't require a lot of space! You can pack a lot of plants in a garden. 

They are an excellent candidate for succession planting. If you put in a portion of your crop every other week, you'll be supplied with fresh-picked green onions all season. 

Green onion seedlings

Start from Seed

Start green onions from seeds. They only need about 2" space around each individual plant. The seeds are small, but manageable. 

My personal go-to variety is called Evergreen, and it's easy to find at most seed companies (remember to search for "bunching onions," if you don't find any "green onions.") I've also grown Parade and White Lisbon successfully.

The sprouts are unique - they send up a single, whisper-thin leaf that reaches one to two inches. You have to look closely to see them, at first. As they grow, that skinny little leaf gets fatter and additional leaves form. 

Green onions are a relatively quick crop, taking about 60-70 days to mature. They tolerate some shade, but this slows down their growth considerably.

Pests tend to leave the green onions alone in the garden. They don't require any special fertilizer, either. 

Young green onions in the garden

How to Harvest

Pull the green onion out of the ground when the onion is approximately 3/8 inch in diameter at the soil surface. Most green onion varieties do not form a bulb, although there may be a slight swelling down near the roots. 

You can harvest green onions at any stage of growth, actually. I've never left them until they get super thick so I am not sure if getting large can effect the flavor or texture. In my experience, they really don't get much thicker than 1/2 inch in diameter. 

Wash off any soil clinging to the onion and trim the roots. Trimming the tops is optional. They will look exactly like the green onions you find in the grocery store. Store them loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. 

Using Green Onions in Your Cooking

When you grow your own, you might find yourself with a lot of green onions on hand. You can use them much like you would use regular onion. Here are some suggestions so you can enjoy your abundance:

The Kitchn has an article, 10 Ways to Use Up A Bunch of Scallions, with even more ideas. 


Still Too Many?

Fortunately, green onions freeze beautifully and can be used for up to a year. Frozen green onions tend to work better in cooked dishes, as they tend to get soft after being frozen and thawed. 

The "trick" to freezing green onions is to chop the green onions and then freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or other sealed container. Freezing them on the cookie sheet keeps the individual pieces separate, and it's easier to scoop or pour the amount of chopped onions you need. This way, they don't form a large clump while freezing.

For step-by-step instructions with loads of good pictures, check out this article, How to Freeze Green Onions / Scallions, from the Run Away Rice blog.

Best of luck with growing green onions - if you haven't tried them, why not add them to your garden this year?

The links provided in this article are provided for the reader's convenience - Till and Trowel is not an affiliate of these websites, and earns no commission from them. Till and Trowel is not responsible for the content linked on these sites. 


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