Growing and Caring for Bunching Onions: A Versatile and Easy-to-Grow Addition to Your Garden


Bunching onions, also known as scallions or green onions, are a versatile and easy-to-grow addition to any garden. These onions are tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions and can be harvested throughout the year, making them a favorite of both beginner and experienced gardeners.

Native to Asia, bunching onions have been grown for centuries and are a staple in many Asian cuisines. They are similar in taste to regular onions but have a milder flavor. Bunching onions can be used raw or cooked, and their long, slender shape makes them ideal for grilling or adding to stir-fries.

Planting bunching onions is a simple process that can be done directly in your garden bed or in containers. They prefer a well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter, so it’s important to prepare the soil before planting. Start by loosening the soil with a garden fork or tiller, then amend it with compost or aged manure to improve its fertility and moisture-holding capacity.

Bunching onions can be grown from seed, sets, or division. If you’re starting from seed, sow them directly in the garden in early spring or late fall. Space the seeds about half an inch apart and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Keep the soil evenly moist until the seeds germinate, which usually takes about two weeks.

If you’re using sets or division, simply plant them in the prepared soil, spacing them about two inches apart. Bunching onions can be grown in traditional rows or in raised beds, depending on your preference and available space. They can also be interplanted with other crops to maximize the use of your garden space.

Bunching onions are generally low-maintenance and don’t require much attention once they are established. However, they will benefit from regular watering, especially during dry spells. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to rot or disease. Mulching can help conserve moisture and keep weeds at bay.

Harvesting bunching onions is a rewarding experience. The green leaves can be harvested at any time, while the bulbs are best harvested when they reach a desired size, usually after three to four months. Simply pull the onions out of the ground, taking care not to damage the bulbs. Trim off the roots and any excess leaves, and your bunching onions are ready to be used in the kitchen.

To ensure a year-round harvest of fresh bunching onions, consider succession planting. This involves planting new seeds or sets every couple of weeks, so you have a continuous supply of onions throughout the growing season. It’s also a good idea to save some of your harvest for replanting the following year.

Bunching onions can be stored for longer periods by drying them. To do this, spread the onions out in a single layer in a cool, well-ventilated area. Allow them to dry for several weeks until the tops and outer layers are completely dry. Once dried, store the onions in a cool, dark place, and they will keep for several months.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, growing bunching onions is a rewarding and delicious way to add variety to your garden. Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure a successful harvest of these versatile and flavorful vegetables.

How to Grow and Harvest Bunching Onions

If you’re a fan of onions and want to cultivate them in your own garden, then growing bunching onions is a great option. Bunching onions are similar to regular onions, but they don’t form a large bulb. Instead, they grow in clusters of small bulbs, which can be harvested and used in a variety of recipes.

To grow bunching onions, you have two options: growing them from division or from seeds. Division involves taking established bunching onion plants and dividing them into smaller plants. This is the easiest and quickest way to grow bunching onions, as you can transplant already established plants from your garden or even from the grocery store.

If you choose to grow bunching onions from seeds, you’ll need to start by preparing the soil in your garden. Bunching onions thrive in well-drained soil that has been amended with plenty of organic matter. Start by removing any weeds or grass from the planting area, then loosen the soil to a depth of about 4 to 6 inches. Add compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil and improve its fertility.

Next, sow the seeds directly into the soil, spacing them about 1 inch apart and covering them with a thin layer of soil. Keep the soil evenly moist and provide protection against pests by adding a layer of mulch. Bunching onions are generally disease and pest-free, but taking these preventive measures will help ensure a healthy crop.

Once the seeds have germinated and the seedlings are about 4 to 6 inches tall, thin them out to a spacing of about 4 inches apart to allow room for the plants to grow. If you’re using division to grow bunching onions, you can skip this step as the plants are already spaced apart.

Bunching onions can be grown in both spring and fall, but they prefer cooler temperatures. Spring is the most common time to grow bunching onions, as they can be harvested earlier in the season. However, if you live in a mild climate, you can also grow them in the fall.

When it’s time to harvest your bunching onions, you have a few options. You can harvest the entire plant by pulling it out of the ground, or you can simply remove the outer leaves and use only the green tops. Bunching onions are known for their mild flavor and are a great addition to salads, stir-fries, and other dishes.

Harvesting bunching onions regularly will also allow for new growth, so you can enjoy a continuous supply throughout the growing season. To store bunching onions, you can bundle them together and hang them in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, you can store them in the fridge for up to a week.

If you’re new to growing bunching onions, keep in mind that they are relatively low-maintenance and easy to grow. They are a great addition to any vegetable garden and can be grown alongside other vegetables without any issues. Plus, having fresh bunching onions on hand will allow you to add a burst of flavor to your daily cooking.

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What You’ll Learn

In this article, you will learn how to grow and manage bunching onions in your garden. You will discover useful tips and step-by-step instructions on planting, watering, and controlling pests for these versatile vegetables. Additionally, you will find information on preserving bunching onions for year-round use, as well as cooking and preparing them for various dishes, such as tacos. Throughout the article, we will highlight the benefits of growing bunching onions, including their ability to easily grow in small spaces, their pest management advantages, and their longer harvest period. Moreover, we will discuss different varieties of bunching onions, including Tokyo White and the Native Bunching Onion. You will also learn about the difference between seeds and sets when planting, and the appropriate time to sow them. Furthermore, we will cover tips on managing weeds and grass, as well as the importance of mulch and watering techniques for successful onion growth. Lastly, we will provide information on blanching and freezing bunching onions, and how to deal with pests like onion flies. If you are interested in growing your own bunching onions, this article is a valuable resource for you. For more information and best practices, don’t hesitate to email us!

What Are Bunching Onions

Bunching onions, also known as scallions or green onions, are a type of Allium that are grown for their mild-flavored greens. They are similar in appearance to traditional onions but do not form bulbs. Instead, they produce long, thin green stalks that can be harvested and used in a variety of recipes.

One key difference between bunching onions and traditional onions is that they can be harvested and used at any stage of growth. Whether they are grown from seed or transplants, you can begin enjoying their flavorful greens as soon as they reach about 6 inches in height. This makes them a convenient option for the kitchen, as you can harvest them on a daily basis without having to wait for them to fully mature.

Bunching onions are easy to grow, tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, and adaptable to various climates. They can be sown directly in the garden or started indoors and then transplanted into beds or containers. They are also known to be pest and disease resistant, making them a low-maintenance addition to any garden.

There are many different varieties of bunching onions available, each with their own unique flavors and characteristics. Some popular varieties include the Evergreen Bunching Onion, Tokyo Long White Bunching Onion, and the Welsh Onion. All of these varieties have a mild flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes.

To use bunching onions in your cooking, simply chop off the bottom inch or so of the green stalks and discard. Then, chop the remaining greens into thin slices and sprinkle them over your favorite dishes. They can be added to salads, soups, stir-fries, and more. Bunching onions can also be used as a garnish or added to omelettes, quiches, and other egg dishes.

If you have a surplus of bunching onions and want to preserve them for later use, there are a few different methods you can try. One option is to bundle them together and hang them upside down in a cool, dry place. Another option is to chop them into small pieces and freeze them in airtight containers. Both of these methods will allow you to enjoy your bunching onions year-round.

In summary, bunching onions are a delicious and versatile type of onion that can be grown right in your own backyard. Whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting out, these onions are a great addition to any vegetable garden. They are easy to grow, tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, and can be enjoyed year-round. So why not give them a try in your garden this year? You won’t be disappointed!

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.