How to Grow Spring Onions (Scallions)
Update (Jan 2014): First posted in Feb 2011, now updated with new photos.
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Even though I consider myself pretty hopeless in gardening (no modesty here, I killed MANY plants over the years), spring onions are what I grow on a regular basis. They are just so easy to grow! You only need soil, shallots and lots of sun. They are grown without fertilizer, pesticides or chemicals. May I say they are organic? Most people will probably throw away aged sprouted shallots but I am so happy to see them – I knew that they were the perfect candidates for growing spring onions. Here’s a step-by-step photo guide for growing your own spring onions.
Recipes to use your scallion harvest on:
A note about terminology. Most places use the terms ‘spring onion’ & ‘scallion’ interchangeably. However, some make a distinction between the two – scallions do not have a bulb whereas spring onions do, though both belong to the onion family. Going by this definition, the spring onion sold in Singapore will be more accurately termed scallions BUT we always call them spring onions here. In the post title, I’m using the terms interchangeably. If there is any terminology disparity, it is just how different countries term them.
How to Grow Spring Onions (Scallions): Step-by-Step Photos!
For the uninitiated, spring onions are grown from shallots (small red onions). These are regular unsprouted shallots that are typically used in cooking.
Sometimes we have sprouted shallots in the pantry and they are actually the easiest and fastest for growing spring onions because the process has already started. You can try asking the vegetable grocer at the wet market if they can give you some sprouted shallots since they will be discarded anyway. The bulb is actually the food for the plant, so the bigger the bulb, the better your spring onions will grow. The bulb will shrink over time as the shoots absorb the nutrients from the bulb.
In a pot of soil, plant to submerge the shallots, leaving some space between each shallot.
This is what my pot of spring onions looked like after 6 days. If you are growing from unsprouted shallots, they will take longer.
This is what my pot of spring onions looked like after 10 days. I have started to cut them for use.
At about 20 days, I harvested the spring onions to keep in the fridge. At this point in time, even if you don’t harvest them, they will start to wither in the pot, so it is better to harvest when they are still looking good. As for the bulbs in the soil, I discarded them. If you don’t discard, they will continue to sprout from where you cut and baby shallots will sprout in the soil – but to me, the process is long-drawn and messy, so I prefer to grow new spring onions by repeating the process.
P.S. I don’t know much about gardening. I’m simply growing them (mainly edibles such as mint and coriander) so that they can come in handy for my cooking and photo shoots. I am sharing my successful gardening projects to share with those who are interested to grow their own foods. Therefore, I apologize in advance for not being able to give any good advice on plant care, except for what type of conditions worked for me.