Green onions are one of our favorite onion varieties with their mild onion flavor and easy-growing behavior. While you can find them at the grocery store sitting beside leeks, bunching onions, chives, and onion bulbs (Allium cepa), they taste better from the home garden. Learn green onion growing tips and how and when to harvest green onions at the end of the growing season.
The green onion (Allium fistulosum) is from the Allium family; it’s the type of onion that grows in almost all conditions, even indoors. It looks similar to spring onions, shallots, and scallions. Many heirloom and hybrid varieties are perfect for organic gardening, including Tokyo Long White, Sweet Spanish, and Kincho.
The best thing about green onions is that there are two ways to harvest them. You can pick the entire plant and use the leaves and white stalk for cooking in stir fries and soup, or snip the green tops as you need them for garnish and enjoy a continual crop of green onions.
How to Grow and Harvest Green Onions
Green onion plants are one of the simplest to grow, and you can even regrow them from pieces you usually toss in the trash. You should plant green onion bulbs in the springtime to help their root systems grow with ease. There is something satisfying about harvesting green onions from your outdoor planter or kitchen windowsill.
Learn how to grow onions at home from green onion seeds and transplants. Help green onions grow in your garden for the best flavor, find tips for storing green onions, and a tasty recipe for using fresh onions.
Growing and Harvesting Green Onions
Green onions are relatively uncomplicated to grow, whether you plant onion seeds in the garden or regrow green onions indoors. Yet, there are ways to simplify the task by providing the plants with the right conditions.
It’s helpful to perform a soil test before planting green onions. Potting soil for green onions should be neutral, with the pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Get a test at a nursery or have it tested at your local cooperative extension.
Plant green onions in early spring and in late summer before the last frost and enjoy two harvest times. Sow seeds a quarter inch deep and apart and set transplants two inches apart in full sun. Water your plants deeply twice a week or when the weather is hot and dry.
Things to Watch for While Growing Green Onions
Green onions don’t suffer from diseases and pests as much as some other vegetable plants, yet they deal with problems from time to time. Learn what to watch for as your green onions mature.
Green onion plants have a shallow root system, so take care while pulling weeds. Consider spreading a thick layer of mulch or organic matter around the plants to prevent weed growth and retain moisture.
Thrips, onion maggots, and nematodes are common pests that affect green onions. Thrips are tiny black or brown bugs that cause silvery white streaks or blotches on leaves, onion maggots attack the bulbs, and nematodes cause the tops to turn yellow with black tips.
The best ways to prevent these insects are to grow pest-resistant onions and treat your plants with natural insecticidal soap.
When to Harvest Green Onions
The waiting game is always the least fun part about growing food. However, you don’t have to wait too long when growing green onions. Explore how long it takes green onion plants to grow and how to tell when green onions are ready to harvest.
When are green onions ready to harvest? The answer depends on when you plant your onions and how you start them. If you’re growing green onions from seed, it usually takes six to 12 days to germinate and 50 to 60 days to reach maturity.
Plants started in the spring are usually ready at the beginning of summer. If you’ve planted during late summer, green onions are ready to pick before the first hard frost. You can also harvest the green tops four weeks after planting or whenever they are the size of a pencil. Continue snipping them throughout the season.
How to Harvest Green Onions
There are two techniques for harvesting green onions, and how you harvest them depends on your preference. Learn how to harvest green onions, whether you clip the green tops or pick the entire plant.
There are two ways to harvest green onions; the leaves or the whole plant. To pick the leaves and encourage the plant to keep growing with multiple harvests, snip the largest outer leaves with a pair of sharp scissors. Remove a third of the leaves halfway down to encourage new growth.
If you desire the entire plant, harvest green onions by gently loosening the soil around the plant with your fingers. Carefully pull the whole plant from the ground, roots and all. Remove the dirt, and use a knife to cut off the roots and the tip of the white stem.
Ways to Store Green Onions After Harvesting
You may have a bounty of alliums after harvesting green onions, especially if you grow several plants. There are two ways to store green onions after a robust harvest.
If you plan on eating the green onions within a week, wrap them in a damp paper towel, place them in a plastic bag, and store them in the refrigerator crisper drawer. To freeze green onions, wash and cut them into half-inch rings. Place them in a freezer bag, press out the air, seal it, and freeze them for three to four months.
How to Grill Green Onions
The most common way to use green onions is as a garnish on potatoes or in soups and stews. Yet, these oniony veggies taste great as a side dish; grilling them is quick and easy.
Start by preheating the outdoor or indoor grill. Prepare the green onions by cutting off a half inch or so of the root end, tossing them with olive oil, and adding salt and pepper to taste. Once the grill is hot, place the onions on the grate and grill them for about four minutes, ensuring each side has grill marks.
Green onions are excellent for home growing, whether you enjoy harvesting the white bulb for cooking or the tops for garnishing. They grow well just about anywhere and require very little attention from you to thrive. Harvesting the greens provides you with a continual supply of fresh onions.
Now that you understand how and when to harvest green onions after growing them in the garden, why not share our green onion harvesting guide with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook?