Green Onions

kayhhFebruary 28, 2008

Love my green onions. But they are such a pain in the back side. Direct sowing mean keeping that area clear of mulch and trying to weed around teeny tiny needle thin seedlings. Sowing in a flat means trying to transplant same needle thin seedlings.

Anybody got a good trick or two to make these little gems easier to deal with?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sheet transplant them. I start them inside in shallow plastic trays - just scatter sow them all over the tray. Come transplant time cut the tray of seedlings into 3 or 4 strips depending on how wide you want your row - just like cutting a cake - make sure the transplant site is ready and then just peel out a strip from the tray and lay it on the prepared soil row. Butt the strips end-to-end and lightly cover edges with the surrounding soil and water. Viola! a row of green onions planted. If you want a lot of them and a really wide row you can just plant the whole sheet from each tray. Thin as needed for use.


PS: Be sure to trim the tops down to 3" before transplanting.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:20PM
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cheffrank(VA 7)

That sounds like a good trick. Could you please be a little more specific? What type of shallow plastic trays are you referring to?



    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 5:40PM
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Yes, please, Dave. A little more detail on that, if you please.

Thanks, Kay.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 8:33PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Picture laying sod. ;) I use the 1020 flat black seedling trays - the ones with holes in the bottom (pic at link below). But any fairly shallow plastic tray that you can put drain holes in the bottom of should work. The deeper plastic (2" deep) trays that you get meat in at the store, the aluminum throw-away sheet cake pans, etc. you get the idea.

Fill with 1 1/2" - 2" of moist good seed starting mix and lightly pack it down. Scatter the seeds fairly thickly all over the top of the soil (an old salt shaker works well). Lightly cover with more soil and cover with plastic dome or Saran wrap plastic with a few air holes in it. Set it in whatever you germinating set-up is for seeds. Once most germinate it gets uncovered and goes under the lights.

Bottom feed weekly with a diluted to 1/2 strength good liquid fertilizer and keep the tops trimmed to 3" tall - gives you stronger stems. When ready to plant and your bed is all ready, make your cake slices the width of the pan (length is too long to handle comfortably for me but you might prefer it). I usually slice mine into 6-8" wide slices. It lifts out like sod all bound together by the roots. Plant the "onion sod" slices end-to-end and cover the edges with garden soil. Water well. Thin and harvest as needed.

OK? ;)


Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Starting Trays

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 10:29PM
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after i used the tops of some green onions i got from the grocery store i had about a 3 in. piece of the base with the roots on them. i took around 12 of these and poked them in the ground and 3 weeks later i had 1ft tall green onions. i did not think they would grow that easy and fast. im about to cut the tops off and just leave the base in the ground and see if they will grow back again.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 3:26PM
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I have seedlings coming up and what I have seen is that the tops fall over or are almost doubled over (not sure that makes sense) I'll try to get a photo...but they also can very easily be pinched that ok to do? will this hurt them in any way? sounds like if you are deliberately cutting them back to 3 inches before transplanting, is basically doing the same...except for the size they are now, like an inch tall vs taller than 3 inches.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:47PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What you are seeing is normal - they will straighten up and grow with sufficient light. Just let them grow at first until they exceed 3" and then trim them with sharp scissors back to 3". When you do, new shoots keep emerging indicating new layers developing on the onion.


sea-of-green, yes they will continue to grow new shoots - assuming the tops are all you want to harvest. Most of us prefer the onion part too. ;) If all you want are green shoots, consider growing onion chives instead. Easy to grow and you get lots of tops.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 12:27AM
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Does this apply to starting storage onions too? Won't they be overcrowded?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 8:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Does this apply to starting storage onions too?

For sheet transplanting, we're just talking green onions or salad onions as some call them. It would be very overcrowded for storage onions without some aggressive thinning and I hate to waste seeds ;) But many plant storage onions - seeds or sets - very close together and then thin them out - use every other one as a green onion and let the rest bulb up.

Onion sets of course can be direct planted in the garden but storage onions from seed have to be started at least a couple of months in advance (January here) so I start mine in what are called plug trays and transplant them individually to the garden when the time is right.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:20PM
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Ahhhh....the "hunk o'seedlings" method. That is a good question about overcrowding tho'. Sure they don't need much room, so I guess that thinning them out as they grow should be OK, shouldn't it?

And when I say "thin them out," I mean, "pick what I want to eat today."

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 7:29PM
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