Who doesn’t like some fresh delicious spring onions on the top of their dish? Having eaten fresh veggies from my parents’ garden every summer back in my young days in Lithuania, I couldn’t live with the idea that I won’t be able to do it anymore when I moved to the Netherlands. Step by step, with my mom’s help I developed ‘green hands’ and now my house is greener than ever. I never thought it would be so easy!
Reasons for growing your own spring onions
Taste. Home-grown spring onions are much more juicy, softer, and have a stronger taste than the ones bought at a supermarket. It is a great addition to almost any meal!
Good for you. Spring onions are packed with vitamins C, B2, A and K. What is more, they are a good source of thiamine, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, chromium, manganese and other nutrients. Taken all into consideration, these greens are good for your heart, bones, and respiratory system. It also maintains normal vision (thanks to lutein and zeaxanthin) and reduces risk of cancer (contains allyl sulphide and flavonoids). Still need more reasons for incorporating them into your diet?
Cheap(er). A bag of onion bulbs is normally cheaper than a handful of spring onions. Note that by planting 6-8 medium-sized onions your supply will last for around 3 months and the harvest will always be fresh, no refrigerating needed.
Decoration. I love how the little “spring onion forest” brings fresh and healthy vibes to my kitchen. The greener the better!
What will you need?
- Depending on the size and amount of your onions, a container for planting. It is better if it is rectangle (then your onions have an equal amount of space for their endless roots) and it must have drainage holes
- Potting soil
- Small trowel (you can also use a cup or simply your own hand)
- Small knife
- 6-8 medium-sized (organic) onions (the bigger the onions, the longer the harvest will last). This amount is for 2-3 people household
- First, start by carefully removing old dried peels from your onions. You don’t have to (and actually shouldn’t) completely peel the onion. Rather, make sure that there are no dried out parts around the top and the bottom.
- Second, very carefully ‘open’ the top of the onion. This can be done by cutting the top off and slightly opening the peels from under (some may have more layers than the other). Make sure not to cut too deep as then the spring onions may not come out.
- Last onion preparation step is to remove all the old dried roots. You can simply cut them all off, but, again, make sure not to cut too much, as the new roots will not show up otherwise.
- Once all the onions are ready, fill the pot with potting soil and place the onions in it next to one another. The onions should be in the soil approximately up to the middle, and the rest should be sticking out. Once they are all placed, fill the empty gaps between the onions with the soil.
- Water, water, water. Around 89% of a dry onion consists of water, so you want to make sure they are basically drenched in it, especially once potted.
- Place the pot in a sunny place as it will help the development of the ‘fruits’.
- Be patient. Depending on the time of the year and the climate zone you live in, it can take up to 2-4 weeks for the first ‘baby onions’ to appear. The best time to grow, of course, is beginning of spring and summer, but with a bit more patience it can be grown throughout the year.
- Keep watering. Don’t let the soil dry out, especially in the first growth phase.
- Take it easy. Try not to pick all the leaves from one onion. Rather, take the longest ones from all onions equally. And don’t worry, they will keep growing back until an onion is completely dried out (meaning it used all of its resources).
- For those who want an unlimited supply: after all the onions delivered their first fully-grown ready-to-eat leaves, you can start preparing the next batch, which will be ready by the time the old one is done!
I hope I have inspired some of you to try this simple way of having your own supply of organic spring onions right in your kitchen. If you have any questions/ideas/suggestions, I would be happy to respond to them in the comments box below.