Gardens - Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

Savoury onion harvest

From scallions to Spanish, grow your own onions

Scallions and shallots

While you can get scallions by harvesting nearly any bulb onion early, certain varieties are specially grown for their delicate stems and juicy green tops. ‘White Lisbon', ‘Long White Summer Bunching' and ‘Tokyo Long White' form mild, white scallions. ‘Red Baron' has a white bulb and a red stalk when grown in cool weather (more pink in warm weather), and ‘Deep Purple' is highly coloured at any temperature. Sow seeds outside as early as the ground can be worked, one centimetre apart. Don't thin, as scallions can be harvested when one centimetre or so in diameter. For long, white stems, hill plants up with loose soil as they grow. For an ongoing harvest, make successive sowings.

Shallots are gourmet onions with a delicious mild flavour. In spring, plant bulbs 10 to 15 centimetres apart, with the tips just below the soil's surface and the flat ends down. If planted in fall, mulch with 30 to 60 centimetres of hay, straw or leaves in cold areas (pull back mulch in spring). By the time the tops have withered and they're ready to harvest, each bulb will have produced a cluster of six to 10 more bulbs. Harvest and store as regular onions. Try ‘Ambition' or ‘Matador'.

Winter flavour
To enjoy fresh onion flavour throughout the winter, dig up your chives in fall, plant up in a small pot and bring them indoors. They'll need a cool period of about six weeks in a refrigerator (or an unheated garage). Then place the pot on a sunny window where it will get four to six hours of direct light each day.


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