Slender green onions are easy to grow even in the smallest of garden spaces or containers. They are a root vegetable, with green stems growing above-ground (sometimes called scallions) and a white bulb (the root) growing below ground. The awesome fact about these onions is that the entire plant may be eaten. Stems and roots are tasty chopped up in salads, on pizza, potatoes and many other uses. Children will delight in being able to contribute to the family meal.
Let’s get started!
- Preparing the soil: Scallions, like most onions, have a shallow root system, so keep the plants evenly watered and grow them in well-drained soil and full sun. Use a purchased garden soil or amend your current soil with compost or soil amendment. Help your child amend the soil with composted organic matter like we have done before with beets and carrots.
If you are using a container, make sure that it is large enough to accommodate the amount of scallions you plan on growing (with 1-inch spacings), and the container needs drainage holes in the bottom.
Since green onions take up little space, you could also plant seeds in spaces around your shrubs and flowers. This is called edible landscaping. Just make sure that the seeds and seedlings are kept moist.
- Planting: Sow (plant) seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1 1/2 inches apart. Put one to three seeds in each hole. Cover with soil and gently pat down with your finger. Adding mulch on top of the soil will help keep the soil moist.
- Watering: Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Have your child use the finger test to determine if the soil is moist enough. Gently stick a finger in the soil down to the second knuckle near the seed planting. If the soil feels moist, do not water. If the soil feels dry, water well.
- Germination: Germination means when a seed begins to grow or sprout. Seeds should germinate in 10 to 20 days. Be patient! Have your child keep a daily journal. Some seeds may germinate quicker than others. If you have more than one seedling emerge from a hole, thin the weakest ones. Thinning means gently pulling out of the soil. More than one seedling bunched together will not produce a desirable size.
- Harvesting: After about 65 days, start harvesting as soon as they reach 6 to 8 inches tall. Loosen the soil around the base of the green onion and gently pull out at the soil line. Be sure to wash well before eating.