Use the cut and come again method to have green onions all season long
Onions are such a versatile vegetable to have for cooking. I use them in almost every recipe. Green bunching onions are especially tasty and, in my opinion, are essential for a good baked potato and homemade nachos.
Purchasing them at the grocery every week does add up though and even $3.49 in savings per week is a success in my book. I’d sure like to have an additional $14 per month in my pocket, how about you?
If you are looking for a way to eat more organic food, save money and be more self-reliant this is your answer – grow tasty onions in containers on your patio.
Onion Growing Tips
Onions can be started in cool weather and take approximately 110 days to grow to maturity. Bunching onions produce clusters of long, slender onions that can be separated and are best harvested when they are pencil size, which takes 60-75 days. You can begin harvesting as soon as they reach the size you want. No need to wait for maturity. They like well-fertilized, moderately moist soil.
You can direct sow either kind of onions outdoors after danger of frost has passed, or plant them indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. If you are growing your onions to maturity, space them 6 inches apart and leave 6 inches between rows.
Onions require a high source of nitrogen, which will be important when growing in pots. Aggie Horticulture suggests this as a fertilization schedule:
“A nitrogen-based fertilizer (ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate) should be applied at the rate of one cup per twenty feet of row. The first application should be about three weeks after planting and then continue with applications every 2 to 3 weeks. Once the neck starts feeling soft do not apply any more fertilizer. This should occur approximately 4 weeks prior to harvest. Always water immediately after feeding and maintain moisture during the growing season. The closer to harvest the more water the onion will require…For organic gardeners a rich compost high in Nitrogen should be incorporated into the soil….While cultivating be careful not to damage the onion bulb. As the onion begins to bulb the soil around the bulb should be loose so the onion is free to expand. Do not move dirt on top of the onion since this will prevent the onion from forming its natural bulb.”
The cut and come again method
Purchase onion sets from the local garden center.They will have plants that are designed for success in your area. There are currently 4 or 5 different varieties to choose from at my local store. The ones I chose cost about $3.50 for a bunch of 100 starts.
Now choose a container to plant them in. Since onions have a shallow root system it only needs to be 6-8 inches deep minimum. I grew onions last year too, with great success.
Use quality potting soil for your container. No garden soil will do! This will cost you around $5.
Clean up the starts by removing any dead leaves and cutting back any brown tips. Plant the starts about 2 inches apart, and deep enough to cover the roots half an inch of the stalk. That’s all the space you need for growing cut and come again onions.
Water well and give them a few days before you begin to harvest.
Harvesting cut and come again onions is easy, all it requires is scissors
When you are preparing dinner, head on out to your onion container garden and snip the tops to within one inch of the soil. As long as you keep the onion sets adequately watered and fertilized, they will continue to grow and you will have green onions to cut all season long.
You can also thin them along the way and allow a few to grow to full onion maturity, the choice is yours.