Bunching Onions: How To Grow And Harvest Them?

My favorite summer activity is to take daily or hourly walks through my garden, picking and eating edible leaves while I am there.

Bunching onions – Also known as long-green onion and Japanese bunching onionsspring, Allium fistulosum, and Welsh onion – are all common, easy-to-grow onion species that you will love to plant in your garden.

I think bunching onions are my favorite thing to eat right out of the garden.

I estimate that at peak season I eat about a handful of leafy tops per day on my garden walks. Not to mention the bundles I cut up and add to soups, stir-fries, and sandwiches fillings.

Bunching onions are very common and can be quite expensive to purchase. They are very easy to grow and require very little space in your garden.

Bunching onions are a great way to grow delicious onions and protect your garden plants. There are many misconceptions about what a bunching or green onion is.

This guide will provide all the information that you need to create the perfect garden for growing onions.

This attractive crop is something you should grow if you don’t have it yet. Bunching onions are easy to grow. They can be strong and durable and will add a delicious punch to your cooking year after year.

What is Bunching Onions?

These perennial non-bulbing alliums are also known as green onions, Japanese bunching onions, spring onions, and scallions. They produce delicious green stems and tiny white roots year after year.

They are characterized by thick, hollow stems, which are bright green and beautiful greenish-white flowers.

The leaves are mildly onion-flavored and can be eaten raw or cooked. larger varieties are similar to leekssmaller versions resemble chives. Although the flowers have a similar sharp taste, they are also edible.

These perennials can be grown quickly and easily. They can also be used as annuals and harvested and then resown in succession over the course of a season.

Similar Species

It can be difficult to distinguish between bunching onions from other allium varieties. Almost any kind of onion can produce edible greens.

A. is the common bulbing onions. Cepa can also produce green onions in the early season. Many scallions found in US grocery stores are greens from the early bulbing onion.

These are just a few of the similar species that can produce edible greens.

  1. Ameloprasum – leeks
  2. Cepa aggregatum – shallots
  3. Schoenoprasum – chives

Although they are similar in taste to many relatives, A.fistulosum is a perennial bunching onion that doesn’t form a bulb and has a superior flavor, its green leaves tend to be better!

History and Cultivation

Although often called “Welsh onions”, bunching onions are not native to Wales and have no connection to Welsh culinary traditions. “Welsh” is an Old English translation of the word that was once interpreted to mean “foreign”.

This long-cultivated crop is actually native to China. Humans have used it since at least 200 BC. It reached Japan around 500 AD. From there, it spread across Asia and Europe before eventually reaching North America.

It is a delicious addition to many dishes and has many applications in Chinese medicine. It can be used to improve metabolism, fight upper respiratory infections, and prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Herbalists believe that a poultice made of scallions can be used to treat infections and drain sores. Poultices are moist, liquid plant matter that is applied to the skin to heal wounds and other skin conditions. You can wrap it in cloth, or apply it directly to the skin.

It can also be used to protect your garden! You can use the juice to repel moths or aphids, and the whole plant repels certain types of insects, including termites as well as moles. Not a bad deal! (Please let us if you succeed in trying this in your garden …).

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Propagation

This plant is hardy and can be easily grown from seeds, transplants, or divisions.

You should choose a spot that is in full sun or partial shadow and have well-drained soil. To get the best results, add lots of organic material like compost and aged manure before you plant.

From Seed

Plant seeds in spring to harvest summer crops, or in summer to mature in fall or spring.

Place 1/4-1/2 inches of seedlings in rows 2 to 3 inches apart. After seedlings have been established, thin them to 12 inches.

From Seedlings/Transplanting

You should start seeds indoors at least 5-6 weeks before the last day of frost in your area. Keep the soil at a temperature between 59 and 68 degrees F. Germination will take 7 to 10 days.

When plants reach 8-18 inches in height and are about the same width as a pencil, you can transplant them to your garden in rows.

Before you plant, water the soil lightly. Before planting, you can lightly dip roots in water or liquid fertilizer.

Division

Once established, plants are easy to divide to spread around your garden or be shared with neighbors and friends.

You can divide plants at any time, but it is best to do so in spring. Simply dig up the clump and carefully cut off the root ends. Then replant.

How to Grow

Bunching onions are extremely resilient. They can tolerate drought and will grow in any soil condition.

However, nutrient-rich soil in full sunlight with lots of water will definitely help to produce a better crop.

Regular watering is important for plants. You can also add liquid fertilizer such as comfrey or fish fertilizer to your plants every few weeks.

Make a homemade comfrey leaf fertilizer by preparing a few comfrey plants and placing them in a 5-gallon bucket of water. After a few days, strain the “tea”, which is rich in nutrients, onto your plants. It has a strong odor!

Complete brewing instructions can be found here.

You should also keep your plants and surrounding areas free from weeds. A thick layer of mulch around your plants will help keep them down and the soil moist.

Growing Tips

Apply thick mulch to plants in fall to prepare for winter. This will help plants survive the cold and stimulate a later crop. Once the soil has warmed, remove the mulch in spring.

Plant in succession every 3-4 Weeks to ensure a constant supply.

Hilling plants could be done by adding soil to them as they grow. Each addition will make it a few inches higher. This will result in longer, more edible greens as well as long, branched stalks.

Cultivars to Select

There are many varieties of green onions, scallion, and bunching onions cultivars. They’re all delicious! Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Evergreen

This mild, non-bulbing onion can be used as a garnish on salads and cooked dishes.

Slow to mature, 65-120 days from the time you plant your seed.

True Leaf Market has seeds.

Heshiko

This Japanese variety is hardy and can be grown to 12-14 inches in height. It’s great for overwintering.

This variety can mature in 60 to 120 days and is suitable for all areas.

Tokyo Long White

Another Japanese heirloom variety that thrives in the US is this one. It is excellent for cooking.

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This variety matures faster than most others – harvesting can take 75-95 days.

Management of Pests and Disease

Although onions can be delicious to us, they are not very attractive to pests and rarely cause any problems. Planting alliums around garden beds’ edges is often done to repel unwanted insects and herbivores like rabbits.

There are still some pests and diseases that can sometimes strike.

Pests

We will start with the most common pests that can affect your crop. This includes identification information as well as methods to prevent and combat them.

Allium Leaf Miners

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These tiny flies lay eggs in the leaves of allium-family plant leaves and can reach the roots. They leave little white spots at the tips of the leaves.

The mines can cause the plants to become rotted by bacteria or fungi, which could eventually lead to their death. There is nothing you can do once the miners have buried themselves into the crop.

This pest is relatively new in the US and is still being studied. The first confirmed infestation in the Western Hemisphere was found in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 2015.

This integrated program is the best way to manage these pests. To prevent flies from laying eggs on your plants, row covers can be used.

Thrips

These tiny insects cause deformity by creating blotchy streaks at the top of the plants.

To get rid of insects, spray leaves with water. A homemade insecticide soap can be used to treat each leaf.

Maladies

There are many diseases that can affect crops, especially if they are weakened by insects or weather changes.

White Rot

All members of the allium family can be affected by this soil-borne fungus. Sometimes, the disease can cause white mold to develop at the root base.

Crop rotation can help reduce the spread of disease. Keep in mind, however, that it may not always be possible to prevent a recurrence. White rot can live in soil for as long as 8 to 20 years.

Avoid using infected seeds or starts.

Downy Mildew

Mildew can cause fuzzy growths on leaves that can lead to yellowing or browning and even collapse.

Avoid planting infected plants, rotate crops frequently to areas that haven’t had any other allium species grow in them in recent years, and make sure you plant in well-draining earth.

Botrytis Leaf Blight

The foliar disease is when leaves develop small white spots and tips begin to wilt. All of the leaves could eventually die. The rapid spread of spores can be caused by wet weather.

Rotate to areas that have not been cultivated for the past few decades in order to eradicate any infected plants.

Harvesting

You can either pull the entire plant and eat it like green onions or you can cut off the leaves as you need them throughout the growing season. The leaves will quickly grow back and can be cut several times during the growing season.

I prefer to use the snipping method and only pull up a few plants once a patch has been established. This allows me to ensure that the perennial thrives and produces each year, without having to do any additional work.

When the plants reach 4-6 inches tall, harvesting can be started. The stronger the flavor, the larger the plants will get!

You may need to wait between 4 and 6 months to pull up whole plants.

This plant can be grown all year in warm climates.

Do not harvest until mid-summer the first year. Also, be sure to not over-harvest young plants so they can develop strong roots. If you plan to save seeds or use the flowers for your cooking, it is best to remove any flower heads that have formed.

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Preservation

Bunching onions can be kept in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer for up to 10 days. You can freeze them easily or dry them for longer preservation.

Freezing

Greens should be washed thoroughly before being dried. Then, cut them into rings of any thickness.

This is it! You don’t need to blanch them before freezing. Simply put them in freezer bags, bags, or glass jars. You can grab a few to use in your cooking whenever you have the need.

Drying

This is my favorite method of preserving this plant. The greens can be dried quickly and stored for many years. Drying is also a good way to preserve a large crop.

Start by washing the greens and cutting them. Then let them air dry. You can either dry them with a dehydrator or bake them at the lowest heat setting until they are dry.

has more information on how to dehydrate the bounty of your garden.

They are best placed in the oven on the “warm & hold” setting. If this feature is not available, you can use the lowest temperature. They will dry quickly so make sure to check them frequently!

Recipes and cooking ideas

These sharp green leaves are delicious on their own, or as an addition to the main dish. Warm up with sweet green onion soup on a hot day.

They can be used to spice up salads and sandwiches, add crunch to stir-fries, flavor broths, and brighten up dinner with a vibrant garnish.

Bunching Onions: Culinary Uses

The most commonly used part of white bunching onion recipes is the green stalks. You can cut the stalks into thin strips. You can add the cut greens to your favorite cooked dishes or use them as a garnish. Fresh green bunching onions are great on buttery mashed potatoes or topping crema de agria in a spicy Asado burrito.

For a delicious snack, the entire bulb and stalks may be grilled in light oil, coarse sea salt, cracked black pepper, braised butter, garlic, or braised butter. In India, spring onion curry is a popular way to use cooked bunching onions.

Get a Bundle to Grow Yourself

There are no downsides to growing a bunch of these hardy alliums, whether you call them scallions, Welsh onions, or bunching onions.

These plants are easy to grow and maintain. You can also harvest the same plants year after another if you do it correctly.

Are you a perennial bunching onion grower? Leave your comments and share your tips and stories below!

Final Words

  • Japanese bunching onions are often called spring onions or Welsh onions. However, they come from China.
  • There are many varieties of bunching onion, each with its own unique flavors and growing conditions.
  • Gardeners can either start onion seeds indoors before the last frost or plant them shortly after it has passed.
  • Bunching onions make a great choice for container plant growth.
  • For strong onions to grow, you need to have neutral soil and to water regularly.
  • Bunching onions can be harvested when the stalks reach 12 inches in height. Both bulbs and flowers are edible.
  • It is simple to harvest bunching onions by using a fork. Then, you can take the bulbs and loosen them with your hands.
  • Although there are few diseases and pests that can be spread by bunching onions, gardeners need to be aware of the regional hazards.
  • Bunching green onions is a natural way to deter pests from other crops.
  • In many cultures, green onions can be eaten both raw and cooked.

Every gardener should try growing bunching onions. It is an enjoyable experience. Fresh green onions can be a great addition to any dish. Just a few chopped fresh bunching onions can make an important meal stand out.

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