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From the team at Gardeners' World Magazine
Freshly harvested spring onions, with roots still on

Spring onions – Grow Guide

Published: Friday, 22 November, 2019 at 2:49 pm
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We show you how to grow delicious spring onions in this easy growing guide.

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Average Yield:250-300 per 3m row
Spacing:2.5cm apart

Spring onions, also known as scallions, are quick and easy to grow and are a great ingredient for salads and stir fries.

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They don't need a lot of space or much soil, so they’re perfect for growing in smaller spaces or a container. With varieties that can be grown all through the winter months, they have a long cropping season, too.

Follow the advice in this guide to grow your own spring onions.

Sowing spring onion seeds into prepared soil

Sowing spring onion seeds

Sow spring onion seeds straight into the ground where they'll grow. They need an open, sunny site and rich, well-drained soil. Prepare the soil, clearing weeds and adding a good fertiliser well in advance – if the soil's too rich it'll produce a lot of leafy top growth. Rake it to a fine texture and if very dry, water 24 hours before sowing. Sow seeds into drills approximately 20mm deep, and 10cm apart.

You can also sow spring onion seeds in trays or modules. Wait for the seedlings to develop a good root system before planting out into the garden.

Watering young spring onions

Tending spring onions

Once your spring onion seedlings start to appear, you can thin them out up to 5cm apart. They need to be well-watered, so don’t let the soil dry out.

Some varieties can be grown as bulb onions as well, so it's possible to harvest some of your crop as spring onions, leaving alternate seedlings to mature into full bulbs.

For fresh spring onions through the year, sow a batch of seeds every few weeks from early spring through to autumn.

Harvesting spring onions

Spring onions are usually ready to harvest eight weeks after sowing. Fork the soil around the plants a little before pulling up the small, leafy bulbs.

Storing spring onions

Spring onions are best eaten soon after picking, either cooked or raw. The flavour complements many eastern-style dishes.

Looking for inspiration on how to use your crop? Our friends at olive have curated a delicious collection of spring onion recipes, including their potato and spring onion pancakes.

Planting out young spring onions

Troubleshooting

Given the right growing conditions, spring onions are relatively trouble-free to grow.

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Organic tip

Try growing mint alongside your onion crops as a deterrent against onion fly.
Freshly harvested spring onion 'Performer'

Spring onion varieties to try

  • ‘White Lisbon' RHS AGM – probably the most popular variety, because it is fast growing and can be sown right through into the autumn, to grow through the winter months
  • ‘Lilia’ RHS AGM – with a red-coloured bulb with dark green leaves, this Italian variety has a strong flavour. It is mostly grown as a spring onion, but can also be grown as a bulb onion
  • 'Performer' – a ‘bunching onion’ that can’t be grown as a bulb. The white stems and leaves have a mild flavour and can be grown as a perennial onion or a spring onion. It can be used like chives
  • ‘North Holland Blood Red’ – this red onion has a mild flavour and can be grown as a salad onion or as a bulb onion
  • ‘Elody’ RHS AGM – a mild flavoured, very hardy variety, that can be harvested year-round
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