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Help with Green Onions

Posted by macheske 7 (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 9, 08 at 6:14

I posted this to the Allium forum but they all seem to be sleeping over there.

Ok...I'm confused. I have never planted onions in my garden before. My parents always said they were too difficult (a very long time ago). I'd like to grow green onions for a continuous supply. What is the best way to do this? I've read 10 or so pages from a search and don't see the information (or it was conflicting) that I was looking for. I'd like to know about the following:
1. Do I plant as seeds?
2. What variety should I plant if I only want green onions?
3. When do I plant? (spring is my next chance)
4. What is the spacing? I'm putting 16 raised beds in my 40' x 80' garden that are 2' x 8' each for items that are perrenials. Would this be a good place?
5. How long until I start being able to harvest?
6. Will they propagate by themselves? Would I need to dig them up and move them in the fall or spring?
BTW...strawberries (this spring), asparagas (this spring) and garlic (this fall) are going in the other raised beds.

Thanks for your help..
Rick


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help with Green Onions

A green onion is simply an onion that's picked when the shoot is tall enough, before the bulb begins to form, same as a baby lettuce is picked when it's leaves are big enough.
Since you want to harvest as a green onion you can use a 2-3 inch spacing, and pull the biggest as they get to the size you need. I suspect most of us plant 2-3 inches apart, pick every other onion as a greenie, and let the 2nd half bulb up as regular onions.


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RE: Help with Green Onions

Quickest and easiest. Get a bag of sets and as noted above plant them 2-3 inches apart. depth - leave a third of the bulb above ground. These will be storage onions and are pungent when full grown.
Second best- Get onion plants from Dixondale or Brown's Omaha plants - plant the same way.
If you want perennial onions, look at the top setting ones like Caterwassi or Egyption walking onions. I don't recommend them but once established in a permanent bed, they will give you green onions and hot little bulblets forever.

The sets will give you green onions in amonth or so. Little bit longer for the plants.


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RE: Help with Green Onions

Maybe you should take a look at bunching onions. I bought seeds from kitazawa, Johnny's Selected Seed has a selection of bunching onions as well. I made the mistake of sowing the seed too thickly and never thinned them so they were very chive-like, but tasty! I planted mine in a old drawer so I'm sure the raised bed will be fine.
I also had really good luck with shallots in a raised bed.


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RE: Help with Green Onions

I found multiplying onions that work well for my small garden (grow in boxes). They grow somewhat like garlic, in that once started, they can be dried in late summer and then planted like garlic cloves again for the next harvest.

They are quite prolific once started and multiply by shoot-offs - so they can be pulled off as needed, or just use the green tops in salads, etc.

I especially like to dry the green tops in my oven (170 degrees with door propped open one inch), and save these for use as seasonings in breads, omelets, stir fries, etc.

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay


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RE: Help with Green Onions

Bejay,
That sounds exactly what I'm looking for. Could you answer my original 6 questions considering assuming that I would want multiplying onions?
Thanks,
Rick


RE: Help with Green Onions

Why do you not recommend walking onions, farmerdilla? If all one is wanting is green onions, I don't know of an easier way to produce them.


RE: Help with Green Onions

OK - I'll try, but you understand it is difficult to equate zones - as you well know from reading the numerous posts here.

Anyway - I purchased my originals from a seed company. Off hand, I don't recall which one, but they are quite common, as I see them advertised in most catalogs.

They come like garlic - in clove form.

Plant when you plant garlic. I planted mine in October - and I'm still planting garlic as well - but remember, my mild climate allows this. You decide when your garlic goes in - plant at that time. I'm not familiar with zone 7.

I've been harvesting green tops for over a month now - great in salads, etc. Also had my first stir fry with them - (although actually waiting on the bok choy), as onions were already strong in growth.

In mild climates, it may not even be necessary to "lift" them - as they probably would multiply from last year's growth anyway.

I plant mine along the sides of my planter boxes - same as garlic. They are short, and won't block sunlight from taller plants behind them.

I poke a finger in the soil, about an inch down, pop in a clove and cover the hole - about 2 to 3 inches apart.

I've never found anything that "resents" their presence - so plant wherever I find spare room - as I said - garlic and these multipliers go along the edges - usually in front or along the sides of the box. They won't get too much water there either.

Did I cover everything? Sorry - I don't know your planting schedule for your zone - but I'd say when garlic goes - plant these also.

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay


RE: Help with Green Onions

OK -- my take on Rick's questions :-)

1. Do I plant as seeds? -- yes, that is what I would do. You may want to start them off in little peat pots inside and then transplant outside in about 4 weeks. The rain, etc can beat them down in your garden when they are very young so this is why I plant inside first and then transplant out to the garden later with green onions.

2. What variety should I plant if I only want green onions? I plant Evergreen Bunching -- I got my seeds at WalMart for 97 cents last year. They usually carry them every year. If you store them in a ziplock in the refrigerator (bottom drawer) they will keep for several years :-)

3. When do I plant? (spring is my next chance) Start now in little peat pots inside and transplant outside in 4 to 6 weeks. Cover your square foot garden with plastic if you have a freezing night.

4. What is the spacing? I'm putting 16 raised beds in my 40' x 80' garden that are 2' x 8' each for items that are perrenials. Would this be a good place? This would be the perfect place :-) I also ft2 garden and I plant 16 plants per square foot on my green onions with no problems.

5. How long until I start being able to harvest? The seed packet says 60 days and I would have to agree with that. About 2 months from starting from seed and you should be able to cut some onions. I don't pull mine up -- I snip off what I need to use and let the plants keep growing.

6. Will they propagate by themselves? Would I need to dig them up and move them in the fall or spring? They will grow thru the spring and into the summer. After it gets hot though, they will either start to dye off or try to bolt and go to seed. Just pull them up and start new seeds in peat pots again in the fall to transplant into your gardens for a good fall crop of green onions. And, in between, you can pull out the green onions that you have in your freezer :-) To prepare for the freezer, just rinse them off well, snip them into pieces and place in a ziploc freezer bag and freeze. I use them to cook with.

BTW...strawberries (this spring), asparagas (this spring) and garlic (this fall) are going in the other raised beds.

Watch out for the strawberries -- they will take over a bed LOL But they are great for ft2 gardening. Just thin the plant out each year (give the extra shoots away or start another garden with them), add more compost and mulch. For the asparagas, don't plan on getting anything from them for the first year (or two) in my opinion. You'll need to have that one bed dedicated to asparagus.

Hope this has helped some. It's just my opinion :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Ft2Garden.com


RE: Help with Green Onions

I also have onion seeds this year, Yellow Granex, which produce mild sweet onions. This will be my first year of growing them, and I was a bit disappointed to read that onion seeds are "good" for only one year.

Onion seeds do need to be bought fresh each year. Their germination rates do not last more than one year so don't plan all of your harvest around last years' seed. Growing your own transplants requires at least 7 weeks so time your sowing date so that you transplant after your last hard frost. [Link below]

Now, the packet I bought contains 200 seeds, and I sure don't need 200 onions. These don't store well, so I'm trying to decide what to do. Maybe I'll plant all 200 of them close together and then pull/thin them to 4", leaving a reasonable number to mature as people have suggested above, drying the green tops for use later.

I think you can grow any onions for green onions, though some varieties are intended for green onions alone. If you want a continuous supply, just keep sowing them every 2 weeks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Starting onions from seed


RE: Help with Green Onions

Legumes definitely "resent" the proximity of alliums. I had to rip out a lot of walking onions once I realized that they were stunting the peas.


RE: Help with Green Onions

Hmmm -- I haven't had any trouble with germination of the green onion seeds by saving them from year to year. I wonder if they are different from the bulb onion seeds? I have been planting the Evergreen bunching for a couple of years now and I'm only on my 2nd package of seeds (bought them last year at Wally World).

I do keep my seed packets in individual Ziplock bags and then put the small ziplock bags into a big gallon ziplock. I keep them cool in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator.

The only seed that I've purchased new every year is sweet corn.

Judy

Here is a link that might be useful: Ft2Garden.com


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RE: Help with Green Onions

  • Posted by anney Georgia 8 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 10, 08 at 12:43

Judy

I'll have to check some more sites to see if anyone else says the seeds aren't good the second year. Maybe it's the bulb-type, as you say, though I don't see why that would make a difference.

Drat! I checked the Yellow Granex growing instructions, and for my area, it's recommended that they be planted in the fall for early-spring harvest, since it's a short-day onion. Now I'm thinking I'll plant some of them this spring for green onions and the remainder in the fall for next year's onions in early spring.

scyther

FWIW, I've relied on the chart linked below for planting proximity. It shows which plants do and don't seem to bother each other. They're called "companion plants", but I don't think it means that any of them help each other particularly, just lists those that either do or don't cause problems with other specific plants. Peas and beans are both listed as plants that don't do well with onions as close neighbors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Friendly and unfriendly plant neighbors


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RE: Help with Green Onions

scyther -

Hmm - learn something new every day. Perhaps I have never experienced this phenomenon. But - because I grow in 3 x 6 planter boxes - with the tall climbers toward the back, and the onion/garlic to the front - because of their sizes, that was never shown to me before.

Appreciate the "heads-up" tho.

Bejay


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RE: Help with Green Onions

  • Posted by anney Georgia 8 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 10, 08 at 16:45

bejay

Apparently onions have "allelopathic" characteristics, which means they produce something that affects other plants, in this case not all other plants but just some. Black walnuts do, too, which you may have heard about.

Lots of sites can be found advising against planting onions and beans or peas together if you Google "allelopathic onions beans". If, however, you haven't noticed a problem with them growing together, the effect must not be great!


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RE: Help with Green Onions

About 15 years ago I sowed seed of Evergreen bunching onions; I'm still growing them. They are essentially scallions that grow in a congested bunch and spin off new ones from older ones. To harvest I just cut them off down near the roots. They are exactly like scallions except they lack the very bottom of the bulb and the roots. I have 4 clumps, enough for me and anyone else who wants some. Every couple of years I divide a clump and, sometimes, move it. I cut off the flower/seed stalk in spring because it's tough.

It doesn't get any easier than that.


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RE: Help with Green Onions

Interesting, Lacey. So are they reproducing (self-sowing), or simply have never been winter-killed in 15 years?


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RE: Help with Green Onions

Lacey,
Sounds perfect. I'll get a pack of evergreen bunching onions and plant them this spring. Sounds like the spacing really doesn't matter much as long as I leave some to overwinter that are spaced a reasonable amount. With all the very different responses I got, no wonder I was confused, lol....

BTW...what do they look like underground? The pictures that I have look like normal scallions. Do they bulb like garlic during the winter or something else? I'm trying to imagine scallions that somehow replicate during the winter. I'm thinking that they must not have roots like normal scallions.

Thanks,
Rick


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RE: Help with Green Onions

I'm not sure what the "bunching" in evergreen bunching onion refers to. They aren't a multiplier, are they? That also sets seed? I know they are typically propagated by seed, so if they multiplied also that would make them a kind of super-scallion....


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RE: Help with Green Onions

I never have luck with seeds. I always buy the sets. I buy double what I need. put the largest of the sets (half the bag) into a brown paper bag, lable and staple the top shut and put in the back corner of the refrigerator. the rest I plant two inches apart and pull every other one for green onions...until there is a 3 1/2 inches between them. then leave them to grow till harvested as storing onions.

What do I do with the ones in the refridge. I plant them in September..harvest every other one till frost takes over..then when the ground freezes I mulch with straw..early in the spring most come back up. they usually have 2 to 4 green onions in every onion that remained through the winter.


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RE: Help with Green Onions

I have found that I just leave some of the onions in the ground after they go dorminate in the heat of the summer. Then when it cools down they will start growing again with 3 or 4 green onions per bulb. The only problem is that the outer part of the onion bulb has decomposed and is rather slimmy to remove.


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RE: Help with Green Onions

Okay, let me try and describe these better. I sowed seed of Evergreen bunching onions that, I think, I got from Johnny's (who still carries them.) Each onion stalk eventually splits and spins off another scallion. The root is a mass of congested onions root; the whole thing grows in a tight clump. I cut off, as I described, what I need with a sharp knife just below the ground.

Seeds stalks appear in early spring, but I don't let them seed because I don't want a mess of alliums, and, boy, can they ever make a mess of a million little plants. The seed stalk is very tough, so you don't want to use that part. I harvest throughout the season, and in fact sell them as scallions to very happy customers.

pnbrown, they are exactly a "super-scallion."


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RE: Help with Green Onions

So this whole "thing" ultimately derived from one plant, one seed? Because I would imagine that you originally sowed the seed packet in the usual manner, rather than just dumping it out in one spot to make a massive clump of plants?

Anyhoo, sounds good. I may try them this coming season.


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RE: Help with Green Onions

I plant my green onions from sets with 1" spacing each way. You can pack a lot of onions into a small area and if fertilized they will grow fine. Don't expect these to develop into bulbs though, their top size will be small when packed together.


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RE: Help with Green Onions

My Dad gave me a large bag of multiplying onions back in Aug. They were small and about 1" long with roots and quite dry looking. I planted in a double row with a soaker hose down the middle. Each plant about 3" apart. They are now about 1' tall. We use the green tops for dressing, salads or just to eat. The bottom of the onion is also good but it is not a round bulb, just pencil like. Each single plant can be divided into four or five new plants. He said to wait til May or so and then pull them up, cut off the bottom roots about 1" and save until Aug again. Hope this helps Rick. DT


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Onion scape pinching

This is my first season with onions, shallots, and garlic. I was told by a local farmer to pinch off the garlic scapes for bigger bulbs. The energy goes to producing bulb not seeds. Does anyone know if this is true with onions and shallots? Should I not let those flower either?


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RE: Help with Green Onions

To alice215 -

Yep, you want to do the same for onions and shallots for the same reason as the garlic.


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